5 reasons Danny Garcia will win
Five keys to victory for Danny Garcia against Erik Morales
Saturday's junior welterweight title fight between champion Erik Morales, 35, and challenger Danny Garcia, 24, at Houston's Reliant Arena represents much more than a test of youth against experience. It's a clash of two completely different boxing idiosyncrasies, of two fighters raised in different environments and different boxing schools.
The legendary Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) represents a boxing tradition in Mexico for which the willingness to spill every drop of blood in the ring and the determination to fight to the last breath are just as important as knowing how to throw a jab or a left hook. And as a Philadelphia fighter, Garcia (22-0, 14 KOs) hails from a boxing hotbed where it seems there's a potential champion in every gym and where the sport is as much a part of the city's legacy as cheesesteak sandwiches. Both fighters have solid technical foundations but are willing to let technique fly out the window and turn a fight into a street brawl if that's what it takes to win.
Here's a look at five different keys for Garcia to win this fight:
Dig, baby, dig
|Morales is a master of the digging left hook to the body, which is probably the official national punch of Mexico, if there were such a thing. But in Garcia, Morales just might have found his match. Garcia packs a tremendous wallop to the midsection, and after Morales' recent gallbladder surgery, this weapon could become the tiebreaker in a body-punching contest. If Garcia puts the punch high on his list of priorities, Morales is chopped liver.|
Walk, don't run
|Morales controls space very well, but the slightly taller Garcia should be able to use his size advantage to cut the ring on Morales as effectively as he has against most other opponents. Morales has the knowledge and resources to lure Garcia into his own territory and at his own pace, but if Garcia stays on his path and maintains control of the center of the ring as adeptly as he has in the most important fights of his career, he'll significantly improve his chances Saturday.|
Straighten up and swing wide
|Although Morales started out as a junior featherweight, he has been a big fighter in every weight class he has fought in, and he has the reach advantage in this fight as well. Unfortunately for him, Garcia's best punch is a looping right hand that arrives with no warning and always lands flush. Morales will find himself in trouble trying to avoid that right hand, and he will walk right into it with every lunging attack he launches. Garcia's best punch needs to be particularly sharp for this fight, and soon enough the damage will be evident on the aging (and cut-prone) Morales.|
Right over the counter
|Something tells us Garcia would have been a great converted right-hander. He demonstrates tremendous accuracy with his right hand, not to mention power, and is quite clumsy with his left -- two characteristics that suggest his left could be somewhat easily improved by switching stances. But it's already too late for that. Instead, Garcia should focus on making good use of what he has by throwing a counterpunching overhand right, which he has done with tremendous results but attempts only occasionally.|
If it ain't rocking, don't bother hookin'
|Here's a first: a Philly fighter with a bad left hook. Garcia shames the legacy of his hometown -- Joe Frazier, the greatest left-hooker of them all, is one of many great practitioners of this most basic and lethal punch who hail from Philadelphia -- every time he throws that lazy, inaccurate left hook to the head. (Garcia throws it much more authoritatively downstairs.) He just needs to forget about the punch and focus on working behind his decent jab to set up his other powerful weapons -- especially against a resourceful fighter like Morales, who will read this weakness right away and exploit it.|
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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