Boxing: Danny Garcia

Broner needs to prove he's an elite fighter

August, 27, 2014
8/27/14
12:52
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Searching for the truth has always been difficult when taking stock of former three-division titlist Adrien Broner.

As boxing’s undeniable clown prince, Broner is a rare fighter who sits on the fragile nest egg of holding real potential to become the sport’s biggest draw. But it’s never easy separating the fighter from the sideshow that comes with him, creating polarizing responses as to whether he’s really good enough to ever get there.

It’s clear that Broner (28-1, 22 KOs) is no longer the same monster he was at 135 pounds and below, able to overpower opponents by standing directly in front of them and breaking them down with menacing countershots.

But does that mean he’s necessarily as overrated and incapable of adjusting as he appeared to be while losing his welterweight title to Marcos Maidana in December?

That’s the question that will continue to follow Broner until he steps up and quiets the doubt by defeating a top-ranked opponent. Now competing at junior welterweight, he likely won’t have that opportunity Sept. 6 when he faces Emmanuel Taylor in Broner’s backyard of Cincinnati.

Adrien BronerEvery time I fought at home, I gave my fans a knockout. I spoiled my fan base in Cincinnati. So every time I fight here, that's what they want. I have to give them a knockout. I got to. And it's got to be pretty too.

-- Adrien Broner
Although Taylor (18-2, 12 KOs), 23, is a respected boxer, he isn’t in the same class as the division’s leading men of Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse, with the latter joining Broner as co-headliners of the card in separate bouts.

Still, if Taylor is unable to outright answer the questions following Broner, he should be able to at least further the conversation by testing Broner’s commitment to the sport.

“Every time I fought at home, I gave my fans a knockout,” Broner said. “I spoiled my fan base in Cincinnati. So every time I fight here, that's what they want.

”I have to give them a knockout. I got to. And it's got to be pretty too. I think I'm going to hit him with the 30 piece and the biscuit.”

Although Broner said the right things in the aftermath of his humbling loss to Maidana, his next fight against Carlos Molina in May saw a return to both his tired in-ring antics and a one-dimensional style.

Broner not only failed to re-establish himself as a power puncher after dropping down in weight, but he was also hit repeatedly by a heavy underdog who lacked the power to make him pay. Just like in his loss to Maidana, Broner was far too stationary and repeatedly caught with his hands down by looping right hands, making for an unimpressive showcase victory.

Taylor has been keeping close tabs.

"I saw his fight against Maidana, and I saw a lot of weaknesses there. But that's not the only way he can be beaten,” Taylor said. “I definitely can take advantages of his weaknesses, but I have some other plans for fighting this guy.”

The good news for Broner is that he’s still so young, having turned 25 in July. The trash talk has returned in the buildup to the fight with Taylor, although a lot of that plays into his persona as a spoiled, flamboyant star who draws as many fans hoping to see him lose as simply see him.

It’s a marketing strategy that has done wonders for Broner’s “big bro” Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has the goods in the ring to back everything up. Broner simply isn’t that same level of fighter. But then again, who is?

In some ways, the loss to Maidana removed Broner from the pressures that come with living in Mayweather’s shadow, allowing him to start fresh and become the best Adrien Broner he’s capable of.

Step 2 of that journey begins Sept. 6 against Taylor where, regardless of the reasons why we watch, Broner remains a lightning rod who forces us to tune in. Yet, only “The Problem” can answer whether his nickname is a greater reflection on the issues he provides for his opponents or to himself.

Best fights to make at welterweight

August, 19, 2014
8/19/14
1:18
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There was a certain refreshing nature to the way England’s Kell Brook soundly defeated Shawn Porter on Saturday to capture his welterweight title.

It wasn’t just the convincing nature of Brook’s performance or the fact that his victory announced -- somewhat unexpectedly -- a new player at 147 pounds in boxing’s undisputed glamour division.

The victory by Brook, 28, was extra sweet because it came within the grounds of a disturbingly rare meeting between unbeaten titlist and unbeaten challenger.

Brook (33-0, 22 KOs), who saw his shot against then-titleholder Devon Alexander fall apart three times due to injuries sustained to both fighters in the past two years, was able to challenge for the belt held by Porter (24-1-1, 15 KOs) because he was the mandatory. Without that distinction, it’s fair to question whether Brook would have had that chance in this spot.

After an almost dream-like 2013 for boxing, the first eight months of 2014 has seen the sport devolve back into a state of slow-play matchmaking and promoters not working together. Outside of an unforeseen surprise like Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev, fights like Porter-Brook have been few and far between in a year dominated by high-profile mismatches and too many pay-per-views.

Brook’s victory over Porter, however, reminded us of how important it is to get the kind of fights whose sole purpose are to give us answers regarding which fighter is truly for real.

With that thought in mind, here are the top five fights that can realistically be made in the welterweight division. Forget the idea of a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao bout or anything else directly blocked by network exclusive deals or promoters and advisers who don’t play nicely. If those restrictions weren’t already painfully in place, one could quickly concoct 10 matchups better than any you will see below.

But these are the five best matchups at 147 pounds that not only could happen in the next 12 months but really should. So let the involuntary shadowboxing begin:

5. Kell Brook-Keith Thurman

While an all-England showdown between Brook and Amir Khan would be a major superfight across the pond, this pairing would do a better job definitively answering which fighter truly is “next” in the welterweight division. Both fighters are unbeaten, poised and well-rounded. Where do I sign up?

4. Ruslan Provodnikov-Brandon Rios

There’s certainly a bit of guilty pleasure associated with this fight between the two most unapologetically fearsome brawlers in the game. Yes, there would be blood. This would be one of those fights that you would tell three friends to tell three friends to tune in for. Violence and dramatic entertainment wouldn’t just be a hopeful expectation in this case but a guarantee.

3. Danny Garcia-Amir Khan II

Garcia, the unbeaten recognized champion at 140 pounds, has plenty of big fight possibilities in front of him at junior welterweight against the likes of Lamont Peterson, Adrien Broner and a possible rematch with Lucas Matthysse. But with the weight cut becoming increasingly harder for him, a move up to welterweight is inevitable. What better way to make a debut than in a high-profile rematch against the exciting and vulnerable Khan, who had plenty of success in the early parts of their first meeting before eating a flush left hook from Garcia that he never recovered from.

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Keith Thurman

The obvious reactions regarding whether Thurman is ready for a fight of this nature or if his résumé deserves it quickly fade when you look at Mayweather’s current pool of prospective opponents within the division. We know we aren’t going to see “Money” against the likes of Pacquiao or Timothy Bradley Jr., so when you factor in Thurman’s game-changing power, balanced skill and bustling personality, the unbeaten interim titlist’s unanswered questions only add to the prospective intrigue of the fight. While you are much more likely to see Mayweather, should he defeat Marcos Maidana in their Sept. 13 rematch, in lower-risk/higher-reward fights, a showdown with Thurman is not only easy to make but also the most interesting for Floyd on paper at 147.

1. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez V

I don’t want to hear about customer fatigue or the fact that the two fighters would be a combined age of 77 by the time this fight would be makeable again in 2015. This pairing, between top-five pound-for-pound fighters, still means something. Not only would the victor have a legitimate claim to having won this generation’s greatest rivalry, but all four fights have been dramatic, action classics. In fact, their most recent bout -- Marquez’s vicious one-punch knockout of Pacquiao in December 2012 -- was the best fight the sport has produced since Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I in 2005. This fight doesn’t just make sense because, thanks to boxing politics, both fighters are without a better or more lucrative opponent in waiting. It’s the best fight you could currently make in the division because it involves two all-time great fighters who bring out the best in each other like no one else can.

Things we learned on Saturday

August, 10, 2014
8/10/14
1:39
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Danny Garcia, Rod SalkaEd Mulholland/Getty ImagesUnbeaten Danny Garcia made quick work of Rod Salka in a brutal second-round knockout on Saturday.
NEW YORK -- After a tripleheader of action at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, here are five things we learned about victories from Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and Danny Jacobs on Saturday night.

1. Absolutely nothing

In one of the most one-sided premium cable fight cards on paper in recent history, the favorites dominated in a way that validated the overwhelming negative response from fans the day the fights were announced.

Stay-busy or showcase fights involving big names are fine when packaged with compelling content. But Saturday’s card, headlined by junior welterweight titlists Garcia and Peterson in separate bouts, failed to answer any questions boxing fans had coming in, including the most important one: What's the point of seeing Garcia and Peterson in a pair of noncompetitive fights when they should have been facing each other?

2. Danny Garcia was right

Garcia, the recognized champion at 140 pounds, admitted during fight week he was in a no-win situation against such a heavy underdog in unranked lightweight Rod Salka.

He was right.

Not only did the unheralded Salka enter the ring with just three knockouts in 22 pro fights, he was as a 50-1 underdog for a fight so ill matched that even the much-maligned sanctioning bodies refused to clear it as a title fight. To make matters worse, the fight was Garcia's second straight of the showcase variety; he struggled to a debated majority-decision win over Mauricio Herrera in March.

If Garcia, who took home a purse of $700,000, had looked bad in any way against Salka, his critics would have had a field day. Instead, the opposite took place in the ring. Only the criticism still came immediately after on social media. And it was justified.

Garcia demolished the smaller, light-hitting Salka to the tune of three knockdowns in a second-round knockout win. The final knockdown was the most brutal of all, as Salka trainer Paul Spadafora tried unsuccessfully to get the referee's attention in order to stop the bout just before Garcia followed through on a flush left hook that violently ended the bout.

It's a highlight-reel knockout that exhilarated the crowd of 7,012 and will likely run in sizzle reels previewing Garcia's fights for years to come. But it came against an opponent clearly not fit to face a fighter the class of Garcia, who sits on the outskirts of most pound-for-pound lists. Garcia pounded his chest to the crowd after the fight and provided quotes like, "No matter who I fought tonight, they were going to get beat. I was going to purge. I was out for the kill." But this was a fight that ultimately did nothing for the unbeaten champion, or the sport.

3. Don't hold your breath on a payoff

Even though the card was set up as a possible preview toward a future title unification bout between Garcia and Peterson, a major criticism leading up to Saturday was that it wasn't a matchup that deserved this level of marinating.

Even though Peterson is a titlist and a skilled fighter with a flair for action, he was knocked out in a 2013 nontitle bout against Lucas Matthysse, the man whom Garcia defeated four months later. While getting the payoff of a Garcia-Peterson fight later this year could help ease the lingering discomfort caused by the card, the noncommittal comments from both fighters in the aftermath of their victories was far from reassuring.

Both Peterson, who defended his title by stopping Edgar Santana in Round 10, and Garcia said during fight week they would have preferred facing each other this weekend. But both fighters are at the mercy of the man who holds all of the cards, powerful advisor Al Haymon. And while 2013 was a great year for fans getting a chance to see big-name Haymon fighters in the ring against each other, 2014 hasn't been so kind, making a Garcia-Peterson fight far from a guarantee.

4. Good things do happen to good people

Middleweight Danny Jacobs is simply one of the nicest people in and around the sport of boxing. Coming back so heroically from a 2012 battle with osteosarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) that nearly killed him, Jacobs' story has become an inspiration to many.

It's hard not to cheer for a guy so humble and passionate, and one you almost never see without a smile on his face. Jacobs, who floored and nearly finished Jarrod Fletcher in the opening round on Saturday, rebounded from a poor start in Round 5 to rally and stop him moments later, becoming the first cancer survivor in boxing history to win a world title.

Appropriately nicknamed "The Miracle Man," Jacobs addressed his hometown fans by saying, "The journey is a long one but I am blessed to have had the opportunity to perform in front of Brooklyn. We did it."

In a sport often overrun by negative headlines, this was a great story. And it couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy.

5. But let's not get too carried away

Jacobs' storybook victory is more than deserving of praise. But the full story, however, does need to be told.

Jacobs is not the middleweight champion of the world, despite what a ring announcer or fight poster might tell you. In fact, he's not even one of the four fully accredited titlists recognized by the major sanctioning bodies. With the WBA's insistence on creating as many as three titles per division, Jacobs captured its vacant "regular" title.

It's a belt not to be confused with the real WBA title owned by unbeaten Gennady Golovkin, or the WBA interim belt held by Dmitry Chudinov. Sound confused? You should be. The premise behind it is absurd. And even though Jacobs appears to have a bright future, which could include a showdown with unbeaten WBO titlist Peter Quillin, whom Jacobs called out after Saturday's victory, his new "world title" is merely a secondary one for now.

What's next for Canelo Alvarez?

September, 17, 2013
9/17/13
1:35
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The future of Canelo Alvarez might have a few more options compared to what might be in store for Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Golden Boy Promotions could have the right recipe to help Alvarez make a huge comeback with a competitive fight.

While the buzz about Mayweather's next challenge included facing Amir Khan at London's Wembley Stadium or Danny Garcia in Las Vegas, the options for Alvarez are quite interesting, including the possibility of pursuing another world title.

Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara and Carlos Molina -- who became a junior middleweight titlist on Saturday after defeating Ishe Smith -- are at the top of Golden Boy's list to become Alvarez's next opponent in 2014.

Molina is the only one of the three candidates who is not promoted by Golden Boy, but a title defense against Alvarez is viable. Despite recently losing to Lara, the crowd-pleasing Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) still belongs to the elite group at 154 pounds. He is a bit slower than Alvarez, but has more punching power, so it could be quite a competitive challenge for both fighters.

Lara (18-1-2, 12 KOs) got off the canvas twice to defeat Angulo in June, after Angulo could not continue after suffering an eye injury in the 10th round, but left a few doubts. The interim junior middleweight titlist from Cuba is an effective and elusive fighter.

Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) is not exactly a powerful puncher, but he can be a nightmare inside the ring. According to Mayweather, Molina would be a nice fit for Alvarez to show his boxing skills, something he wasn't able to do Saturday.

Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs) also might be another option, despite being out of action for more than a year. Ortiz was next-in-line to fight Alvarez last September, but a broken jaw suffered in a clash against Josesito Lopez in June 2012 scratched those plans.

Former junior middleweight titlists Cornelius Bundrage and Cory Spinks are also possible opponents who, despite their recent slumps, could generate an attractive fight for Showtime.

The Alvarez camp also may wait for the winner of the Miguel Cotto-Delvin Rodriguez bout, set for Oct. 5 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., due to Cotto's status as a promotional free agent.

Garcia vs. Matthysse: By the numbers

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
10:07
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Floyd Mayweather versus Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas might be the super-fight, but it is not the only fight of interest on the card. On the undercard, the undefeated unified junior welterweight (140 pounds) champion Danny Garcia (26-0-0) will defend his titles against knockout artist Lucas Matthysse (34-2-0, 1 NC). Here are the numbers you need to know about Saturday’s fight.

(32) Fights Matthysse has won by knockout. This includes knockout victories in his most recent six fights, and his 89 percent knockout rate exceeds that of Garcia, who has won by knockout 16 times in 26 fights (62 percent).

(1) Common opponents of Garcia and Matthysse. Zab Judah won a controversial split decision against Matthysse three years ago and lost by unanimous decision to Garcia in April of this year.

(19) Jabs Garcia has thrown per round, on average, in his last six fights. According to CompuBox, Garcia has landed an average of three jabs per round in his last six fights. Matthysse has thrown an average of 17 jabs per round and landed an average of two.

(73) Percentage Matthysse’s punches that are power punches. According to CompuBox, this percentage is fifth-highest among qualified boxers, and his 17 power punches landed per round ranks seventh.

(28) Percentage of power punches Garcia’s opponents land. According to CompuBox, this is the eight-lowest among qualified fighters.

(60) Average number of punches thrown per round among junior welterweights. According to CompuBox, the average punches landed per round in the junior welterweight division is 18. Garcia has thrown an average of 54 punches per round in his most recent six fights and has connected on an average of 17 of them. Matthysse has thrown and average of 63 punches per round and has connected on an average 19 in his last seven fights. Of the combined 36 punches landed per round by Garcia and Matthysse, 31 (86 percent) are power punches.

(5) Fights Danny Garcia has fought at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Matthysse has never fought at the MGM Grand; in fact, only eight of his fights --including both of his losses -- have been held in the United States. All but one of Garcia’s fights has taken place in the United States.

(6) Streak of fights for Garcia against current or former world titleholders.

Top-Ranked junior welterweight boxers according to The RING:
Champion: Danny Garcia
1. Lucas Matthysse
2. Amir Khan *
3. Mike Alvarado
4. Lamont Peterson **
5. Zab Judah *

* Lost to Danny Garcia
** Lost to Lucas Matthysse

-- Statistical data provided by CompuBox

Three significant fights for Danny Garcia

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
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April 27, 2013, versus Zab Judah
--Garcia once again proved himself as the top 140-pound fighter on the planet with a unanimous decision victory over former two-division titleholder Judah. Garcia, who had a 189-77 edge in power punches, dropped Judah with right-hand counter in Round 8. Judah came on strong in the later rounds, but Garcia weathered the storm in making his third title defense.

October 20, 2012, versus Erik Morales II
--After his dismantling of Amir Khan, Garcia took on four-division champion and Mexican icon Morales in a rematch of their meeting in March 2012. In their first meeting, Garcia out-pointed Morales to claim a vacant title. Garcia stepped up his game in the rematch, ending the fight in the fourth round with a counter left hook which sent Morales to the canvas. Morales’ corner had seen enough and stopped the fight.

July 14, 2012, versus Amir Khan
--Everything was looking good for Khan through two rounds. He out-landed Garcia 56-18 in total punches. Then, he ran into a counter left hook toward the end of the third round. Khan survived the round, but Garcia pounced on him in the fourth, dropping the Brit two more times before referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight. Garcia unified the WBC and WBA titles and ascended to the top of the 140-pound rankings.

-- Statistical data provided by CompuBox

Three significant fights for Matthysse

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
10:51
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May 18, 2013, versus Lamont Peterson
In what was his most impressive performance as a professional, Lucas Matthysse dismantled IBF 140-pound titlist Lamont Peterson in a nontitle fight with a third-round TKO. Peterson, who was coming off victories over Amir Khan and Kendall Holt, was dropped three times before referee Steve Smoger called a halt at the 2:14 mark. Matthysse improved his impressive KO percentage to 87 percent, which is higher than any of the current titleholders in the junior welterweight division, including Danny Garcia.

June 25, 2011, versus Devon Alexander
Seven months after his controversial loss to Zab Judah, Matthysse faced former 140-pound titleholder Devon Alexander on his home turf just outside St. Louis. Despite outlanding Alexander in total punches (139-116) and scoring the first-ever knockdown of Alexander in the fourth round, Matthysse was on the wrong end of a split decision. Both Larry Merchant and Harold Lederman, who were ringside, scored the fight for Matthysse.

Nov. 6, 2010, versus Zab Judah
Matthysse took on former two-division champion Zab Judah in a title eliminator. In a close battle, Judah eked out a split-decision victory and went to capture the IBF 140-pound title in his next fight. Matthysse impressed many as he stalked Judah all night, eventually knocking him down in the 10th round. The “Machine” was a plus-15 in punches landed and had a sizeable edge in power punches (147-63).

-- Statistical data provided by CompuBox

Mayweather-Canelo taking Vegas by storm

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
3:56
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Las VegasSaul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesFight fans are descending on Las Vegas this week to witness one of boxing's biggest cards in years.

LAS VEGAS -- If the rain that fell here on Monday is a foreshadowing of what's to come in Las Vegas this weekend, then boxing fans can expect a storm inside and outside the ring.

Sin City received fans arriving for Saturday's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez junior middleweight unification bout with a thunderclap -- one that may not match the growing rumbling for what figures to be boxing's biggest fight of the year.

As usual for this kind of date, the city expects a lot of fans, many of them crossing the Mexican border to bear witness to their country's biggest current sporting attraction in Alvarez. The difference is that they already are arriving in droves for the fight card -- a day before even the fighters' grand arrivals at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on Tuesday.

"We already started receiving fans here at the hotel, and it's just Monday," said Susy Gomez, a hotel clerk at fight headquarters. "There is a lot of movement early, and we were warned that in a couple of days it will be madness."

From McCarran Airport to "The Strip," the boxing breeze is building into a gale sweeping through Vegas well before Saturday's downpour.

The spectacular posters featuring "The One" -- a card also including the co-featured bout between junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse -- reach their peak levels of glamour along the main stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard.

The fight card, predictably, is a hot topic among both tourists and locals in the immediate environment of the MGM Grand. A source at fight promoter Golden Boy confirmed with ESPNDeportes.com that of the total gate for the card -- which sold out as soon as tickets hit the market -- about 65 percent went to the Mexican public.

"Do you think Canelo will have any chance?" asked an arriving guest of her companion in Spanish. "I think Mayweather will win."

"I don't know -- Canelo is doing well," another guest interjected. "He has improved a lot, and you saw what happened with [Juan Manuel] Marquez and [Manny] Pacquiao. A punch can change everything."

Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in the final seconds of their showdown last December, in the same ring where Mayweather and Alvarez will clash at the MGM Garden Arena.

The check-in line at the MGM was full on Monday, promising an arriving guest a wait of nearly half an hour, despite the best efforts of about 20 receptionists to empty the long line, which included some preliminary boxers for Saturday's card.

Also checking in were guests who had no idea what all the fuss was about, uninitiated visitors sprinkled amid the fans and media members who will be covering the event from Tuesday's official start of fight week through the final bell of Saturday's main event.

The hotel souvenir shop welcomed a constant influx of customers, many of whom were willing to pay at least $40 for a commemorative fight T-shirt or, for the same price, a ball cap featuring the logo of "Money" Mayweather.

On Sept. 15 of last year, two Las Vegas venues were filled on the same day for separate, simultaneous boxing cards staged just a few blocks away from each other. Similarly, those events -- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s unsuccessful middleweight title defense against Sergio Martinez, and Alvarez's destruction of Josesito Lopez -- were witnessed by a considerable majority of Mexicans who had crossed the border to be in attendance.

And now many of those same Mexican nationals are expected to fill Las Vegas' nightclubs, bars and restaurants (many of them offering closed-circuit events) and, it's undoubtedly hoped, will attend weekend performances by two of Mexico's most beloved artists, Luis Miguel and Alejandro Fernandez.

The party officially begins on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET, when fighter arrivals kick off and Mayweather and Alvarez (along with Garcia, Matthysse and the top undercard fighters) take their turns being presented in the ceremonial boxing ring that has been erected in the main lobby of the MGM.

Welcome (finally) to the Matthysse Era

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
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The interruption came with the subtlety and grace of a sledgehammer, not unlike the punches landed minutes before by Lucas Matthysse in his dismantling of Lamont Peterson on Saturday.

As Showtime's Jim Gray was set to begin his postfight interview with the Argentine slugger in the center of the ring at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., the microphone was abruptly hijacked by Golden Boy CEO and Matthysse promoter Richard Schaefer.

"Let me say first something. We have -- we have a new Manny Pacquiao! He's from Argentina and his name is Lucas 'The Machine' Matthysse!" blurted an overwhelmingly giddy Schaefer, the fact that he also mispronounced Matthysse's surname making it all the more amusing.

Schaefer's commandeering of the spotlight in Matthysse's finest hour came off as something akin to the drunk uncle at a wedding going off the rails in an unsolicited serenade of the bride and groom. But aside from the comic relief the moment provided, Schaefer's outburst could also be viewed as a microcosm of Golden Boy's handling of the fighter up to this point.

Matthysse's performance on Saturday was a statement to future opponents and casual fans alike that he's for real, not just one of boxing's most devastating punchers. But based on the authentic reaction of Schaefer, who couldn't resist waiting another second to inform the free world just how valuable a commodity Golden Boy now possessed, it was as if Matthysse's promoter had no idea what it had in the first place.

So the natural question becomes: What the heck took Schaefer so long?

If it wasn't for Peterson's willingness to test himself against a fighter who has been so consistently avoided over the past two years, Matthysse's recent run of knockouts against a battery of faded, C-level, unknown and overrated fighters might have been forced to continue. And that's especially considering Golden Boy was beginning to look like an accomplice to Matthysse's problem, with the outside impression being the promoter was unwilling to match him with any of its prized in-house stars.

Matthysse campaigned constantly for a fight with the name at the top of the food chain at 140 pounds: fellow Golden Boy fighter Danny Garcia. Instead, he was continually persuaded to accept a fight he never wanted, one against fellow all-action countryman and friend Marcos Maidana, who had moved up to welterweight.

In a nutshell, that's exactly who Matthysse is -- a fighter not interested in being simply an attraction (like so many fighters today) and one whose sole focus is to test himself in every single fight against the very best in the world.

Finally, thanks to a perfect storm of events on Saturday, Matthysse will get that chance against Garcia in September, as long as the unbeaten Garcia doesn't win the Floyd Mayweather Jr. lottery in the meantime. And with the Peterson fight marking Matthysse's first under new manager Al Haymon, one can assume the days of him not getting the push he rightfully deserves are now over.

If Matthysse, 30, can learn English to increase his profile to an American audience, his potential as a breakout star has no limits thanks to his look and highly marketable style.

Not only has he finished 32 of the 34 fighters he has defeated, Matthysse also claims to have knocked down every single opponent who has gotten into the ring with him. Add to that the fact that both of his losses, a pair of split decisions in the hometowns of Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, were contentious enough that it isn't ridiculous to consider Matthysse an unbeaten fighter at this point.

It was just yesterday that Matthysse couldn't get a fight to save his life. Now his promoter is hailing him as the sport's next Pacquiao.

The Lucas Matthysse Era has begun, and it's nice to see everyone is finally on board.

Danny Garcia resumes training

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
10:48
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Danny GarciaJon Elits/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsUnbeaten Danny Garcia is ready to begin training for his April 27 fight against Zab Judah in Brooklyn.

A month after an injury forced him to postpone his bout against former champion Zab Judah, unbeaten junior welterweight titlist Danny "Swift" Garcia said he's fully recovered and ahead of schedule for the April 27 fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Garcia had planned to defend his crown on February 9 at the same venue, but a broken rib suffered during a sparring session forced him to stop training.

"Now I feel 100 percent and I still have seven weeks to improve my conditioning," Garcia said to ESPNdepotes.com.

Garcia (25-0, 16 KO's), is coming off a spectacular year with two victories against veteran Erik Morales and another against former 140-pound champion Amir Khan. His last two -- the rematch with Morales and his clash with Khan -- were TKO victories in the fourth round.

"The injury affected me for three weeks. It also affected me a little bit mentally," Garcia said. "I didn't feel the injury until I finished sparring. Hey, I broke a rib. I could not believe it. But this is part of the sport. An injury can occur to anyone, regardless of the sport."

Garcia, who is managed by Al Haymon and promoted by Golden Boy, said that he will resume training this week.

"I'll start this week with sparring sessions. I feel very good, I'm ready," Garcia said. "As I said, I still have seven weeks [to the fight] and that will be enough to be in [good physical] condition. I have a great team that is helping me with that."

Garcia, 23, became a sensation in professional boxing when he won a vacant junior welterweight title against Morales -- a former champion in four different weight classes -- in March 2012. He added another junior welterweight belt when he knocked out Khan in July.

Judah (42-7, 29 KOs), 35, a former junior welterweight and welterweight champion, is coming off a win by TKO in the ninth round over Vernon Paris last March.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. certainly knows how to make the most of social media. He doesn't just post random tweets of betting slips; he knows how to use 140 characters to stir things up.

One day, he's proclaiming that he's likely to fight Devon Alexander on May 4, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Then, yesterday he tweeted: "Me & my trainer (my dad) back working together getting ready for May 4th." To prove the point, there was a photograph of the two standing together, a scene that seemed improbable at best after their bust-up in the gym in front of HBO's cameras on "24/7" in August 2011.

The notion that the two Floyds might reunite in the corner had been mooted recently (even as Roger Mayweather -- senior's brother and, in recent years, junior's trainer -- struggles with health issues). So this is another twist in the ongoing saga of their personal and professional relationship. Of course, they are far from the only notable father-and-son corner team in boxing, and like parental-filial relationships elsewhere, they run the gamut. Here is a short selection of some of the more colorful, sometimes successful and sometimes painful case studies:

1. Roy Jones Jr. and Roy Jones Sr.

At times, the apparent dysfunction between these two has been enough to make Floyd Sr. and Jr. look like Bill Cosby and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (kids, ask your parents). On the plus side, Big Roy did teach his son how to box; against that, he also shot his boy's favorite dog. After years of personal and professional estrangement, Jones invited his father to work in his corner for the third fight against Antonio Tarver. When Jones lost that bout by a wide margin, he essentially said he didn't try to win because he didn't want his father to take the credit.

2. Nonito Donaire Jr. and Nonito Donaire Sr.

Donaire pere trained Donaire fils until an incident during training for the son's November 2008 fight with Moruti Mthalane led to the end of their professional relationship. Despite occasional talk of reconciliation, the father-son personal relationship, too, has become strained, at times very publicly so.

3. Danny Garcia and Angel Garcia

There doesn't appear to be any strain between Angel and junior welterweight titlist Danny. If anything, Angel's love for Danny at times verges on the overwhelming, as his extreme defensiveness of his son leads to intense verbal confrontations with Danny's opponents, including Amir Khan and most recently Zab Judah.

4. Shane Mosley and Jack Mosley

It's easy to forget now, but in 1998 Jack and Shane Mosley became the first ever father-son tandem to receive trainer of the year and fighter of the year honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America. But after losses to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, Jack and Shane -- who remained close personally -- broke up professionally before reuniting and breaking up again. They were slated for another reunion if Shane's putative bout with Paulie Malignaggi had taken place as planned this month.

5. Joe Calzaghe and Enzo Calzaghe

An unalloyed success: Enzo steered Joe to world titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight. And after Joe retired with an undefeated record, he and Enzo then formed a promotional partnership. Although Joe had well-documented personal troubles in his immediate post-retirement years, his relationship with his father has evidently remained strong.
There were times in the early rounds of Amir Khan's rebound bout against Carlos Molina, as Khan lingered too long in the pocket after throwing a combination and Molina cracked him with a left hook, that a few bars from "The Wizard of Oz" filtered into a ringside writer's head.

"Tee-tum-tee-tum-tee-TUM-tum, tee-tum-tee-tum-tee-TUM-tum. If I only had a punch."

But Carlos Molina does not have a punch, or at least not an especially hard one, and that was perhaps the single biggest reason why he was in the ring with Britain's Khan in front of a crowd of 6,109 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. And for the first few frames, that seemed a sage piece of matchmaking. For all Khan's promises of being a better-rounded boxer, of being less reckless in aggression and more considerate in defense, some of the old weaknesses and warning signs were there.

He occasionally threw one punch too many and left himself in range of Molina's punches. When he moved back out of range, he occasionally did so by pulling straight back with his right hand lower than it ought to have been. And he was fighting at 100 miles per hour, when 85 miles per hour would have been more than sufficient.

At the same time, there were signs of promise. He fought his natural tendencies, stopping himself from being propelled by his own momentum into his opponent at the end of a flurry. He used his jab effectively.

Then, around the fifth or sixth round, he underwent something of a transformation. Seemingly realizing the fight was in the bag if he didn't blow it, he visibly relaxed in the comforting cloak of confidence. He dialed down his output a smidgen, keeping Molina at comfortable distance and dominating without exposing himself to unnecessary risk.

It remained exciting in that Amir Khan kind of way: lots of punches, plenty of movement. But by now, not only was there the realization that Molina couldn't hurt Khan with his punches; there was a growing sense that he couldn't hit him with them, either.

When the end came, at the suggestion of Molina's corner after 10 increasingly one-sided frames, it was not a moment too soon.

Molina seemed stunned by what had befallen him.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "I wanted to pull the trigger, but for some reason I couldn't get my hands to go."

Khan acknowledged that he had been initially overeager, as is his wont, but that the teachings of new trainer Virgil Hunter had a calming and educational effect.

"I thought I stuck to my game plan, which meant sticking to my jab," he said. "Carlos took some really good shots and he was still coming forward, and that's when I thought to myself, I'd better stick to this game plan. Virgil's a great trainer, and I'm getting better at being a complete boxer."

He then turned his attention to Danny Garcia, who had relieved him of his senses in July and was seated ringside.

"In that fight, he caught me with a good shot, but I'll fight Danny Garcia again anytime, anywhere," Khan said.

He showed enough on Saturday night to indicate he might be able to improve on the dominant first 2½ rounds of that July contest. But he showed enough vulnerability to give rise to the thought that Garcia might be able to land yet more concussive left hooks such as the one with which he found success in Las Vegas.

Should Garcia do so, he would surely have far greater impact against Khan than anything Molina could manage on Saturday. But that is for the future. Tonight was about restoring confidence in a crowd-pleasing fighter. In that regard, it was mission accomplished.
LAS VEGAS -- There had been plenty of trash-talking in the week before Amir Khan and Danny Garcia stepped into the ring at the Mandalay Bay on Saturday night, much of it between Khan and Garcia's father Angel. Khan wasn't present at the postfight press conference, but Angel was, and he wasn't afraid to keep fighting the war of words even as his foe nursed his wounds at the hospital.

[+] EnlargeDanny Garcia
AP Photo/Eric JamisonDanny Garcia unified junior welterweight belts on Saturday by staying composed and pouncing when Amir Khan made a mistake.
"Rematch?!" he exclaimed when it was suggested that maybe his son might face Khan again following Garcia's explosive fourth-round victory. "Why would we fight him again?" After comparing him to an old pair of tennis shoes, Angel spat that Khan was "old news. He's an ex-champion. He's a three-time ex-champion."

That last comment in particular cut to the quick. Khan could excuse his first loss, a shocking first-round KO defeat to Breidis Prescott: Khan was young, he was raw, and he had subsequently improved under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach. His second defeat, last December to Lamont Peterson, similarly came with a set of asterisks and, given Peterson's subsequent positive test for synthetic testosterone, may yet be expunged from the record books.

This one, however, was different. Despite a half-hearted suggestion from Khan in the immediate aftermath that perhaps referee Kenny Bayless had been premature in halting the contest, there could be no doubt. This was a fight that Khan had had in his grasp, that he was winning through two and two-thirds rounds, his hand speed and combination punching making him seem a class apart from his young opponent.

But Garcia never lost his composure, and kept coming forward behind a tight defense. And when Khan presented him with a chance, he took it, landing an explosive left hook that detonated on Khan's jaw. Although the bout officially lasted another round, it was effectively over as a contest right then; as Roach admitted afterward, Khan never really recovered from that blow.

The fight highlighted everything that is good and bad about Khan: On the good side, his immense physical gifts and his astonishing heart, which, combined with his flaws, make for consistently exciting fights, win or lose; on the bad, the questions that arose anew about his chin, which it seems will always be a weakness, wherever he goes from here.

For Danny Garcia, the immediate future is bright. With victories over Erik Morales and now Khan, he has, as they say, arrived. Khan arrived, at least as an attraction and as a star, some years ago. The question has been when he would move on and take the next step to a higher level among the elites. Now that question is not so much when, but if. And his absence in the face of Angel Garcia's taunts served only to underline that it is a question to which we almost certainly now know the answer.

Is 'King' Khan ready for the throne?

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:02
PM ET

There hasn't been much separating Amir Khan over the past few years from the pound-for-pound adulations that his outstanding talent has merited.

With a rare exception: the element of doubt.

From the self-doubt following a shocking first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008 to the increased critical skepticism of his chin in the wake of a hazardous victory over Marcos Maidana two years later, the exact appraisal of Khan's stock has been in flux for years.

Down it went again in the wake of a controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson in November, igniting mainstream doubt whether Khan, 25, will ever be truly ready to make the leap.

As Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) readies for Saturday's fight against unbeaten junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) in Las Vegas, that familiar uncertainty follows him.

There's little question that Khan is the favorite to dispatch the 24-year-old Garcia, a game yet still somewhat green fighter. But it could be argued that the pressure has never been higher, because a dominant victory would offer Khan a unique opportunity at a time when the landscape surrounding him appears more ripe for the taking than ever.

With nearly every marketable fighter outside of Canelo Alvarez in boxing's "glamour" divisions (140 to 154 pounds) in a state of damage control following a defeat, controversial victory, jail term or drug suspension, the door is wide open for Khan to crack the P4P top 10 and likely place himself in line for a meeting with boxing royalty (e.g., Floyd Mayweather Jr.) within the next 12 months.

The Peterson loss was dismally ill-timed in light of Khan's projected career arc, and was equally undeserved given the fight's gratuitous point deductions and questionable scorecards (not to mention, Peterson's failed drug test). But what the loss did was provide Khan the invaluable opportunity to see his shortcomings so brightly illuminated.

The hard-charging Peterson consistently pushed Khan outside of his comfort zones, exposing vulnerabilities to aggressive, volume punching -- particularly to the body -- and an almost allergic (and at times incompetent) reaction when forced to fight on the inside.

Khan's fastball is well-regarded as elite, fueling the flashy combinations that combine with genetic advantages in height and reach to make for a dangerous package. But a closer look reveals an inability to harness that breathtaking sparkle -- Khan is probably the most sensational opening-round fighter in the sport -- and iron out a level of consistency for a full 12 rounds.

The fact that Khan was able to ward off Peterson with pockets of inspired counterattacks late in the bout -- sandwiched around alternating rounds of inactivity -- showed maturity and an ability to adapt on the fly under pressure.

Khan also tempered questions about his ability to take a punch by standing and trading with Peterson for sustained periods. Although it would be disingenuous to imply that a good chin is a skill that can be acquired, an increase in self-confidence and maturity never hurts (see: Wladimir Klitschko).

Had Khan won the Peterson bout, he would have been in line for a good deal of praise for gutting out a victory in the face of an unexpectedly dire challenge. The fact that he received nothing but criticism shows the tenuous nature of his reputation, specifically in the eyes of American fans who often view him as pompous and overrated, the same way they once saw fellow Brits Lennox Lewis and Naseem Hamed.

When Khan commits to attacking the body -- a strategy that produced knockdowns against Maidana and Zab Judah -- he is at his most dangerous. But until he balances the same athleticism that allows him to shine offensively and puts it to use on the defensive end, Khan will be considered a vulnerable, incomplete fighter.

Khan has shown a tendency to be a front-runner, able to put fighters away with an arsenal of lethal methods when things are going his way, only to panic when the chips are down. But even that assessment doesn't get it entirely right.

Those who criticized Khan for getting rocked by Maidana failed to properly credit him for the way he stood his ground, forcing his opponent back on his heels by the end of the final round.

Where Khan's loss to Prescott forced him to rededicate himself and seek the full-time services of trainer Freddie Roach, the Maidana victory similarly helped him cross an internal threshold of self-belief. Considering those trends, it wouldn't be foolish to believe Khan can reap similar stores of career-altering wisdom from the Peterson fight.

It's very unlikely that Khan will have to endure the same level of impassioned blitzkrieg from Garcia that Peterson unleashed in front of his hometown crowd. But if there was ever a time for Khan to fulfill the promise that began with him winning silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, this is it.

His path to validation begins Saturday, when we'll begin to discover whether or not Khan was ever truly fit to be king.

FNF preview: Amir Khan-Danny Garcia

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
12:05
PM ET

Former junior welterweight champ Amir Khan, 25, won't get to take another run at Lamont Peterson (who got popped for performance enhancers) on July 14 in Las Vegas, but landing replacement foe Danny Garcia -- an undefeated 24-year-old junior welter titlist in his own right -- was a solid save. For an early preview of the bout from our "Friday Night Fights" crew, check out the video above.

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