Boxing returns, for free, on NBC for the second time this year as part of the Premiere Boxing Champions series on Saturday April 11th. This will be the first major network card in many years that is given a prime time slot, starting at 9 pm EST, and should bring in a massive viewership as a result. The fight card, on paper, is the best of 2015 featuring two high caliber match ups of elite, champion level fighters. The card is headlined by the long awaited fight between junior welterweight kingpin Danny Garcia and IBF champion Lamont Peterson with the main supporting bout being a WBO middleweight championship fight featuring Andy Lee be making his first title defense against the man who vacated the title last year in undefeated Peter Quillin.
Garcia vs Peterson is a fight that fans have wanted ever since Garcia upset Lucas Matthysse on the undercard of Mayweather vs Canelo back in September of 2013. Unfortunately their titles aren’t on the line because the fight is taking place at a catchweight above the junior welterweight limit as Garcia is looking to move to welterweight for his next bout. Still, the style clash of these two warriors is one that guarantees fireworks. Both are capable boxers, both are versatile. Lamont is one of the most consistent body punchers in boxing with an excellent inside game, while Garcia can do a little bit of everything with dynamite in his left hook. Expect this fight to go toe to toe for several rounds with Lamont having early success with his workman approach until the patient killer, Garcia, finds his timing and sets traps to put his lights out.
Garcia is one most well rounded talents in boxing, but because he does everything well, and nothing spectacular, fans tend to foolishly write off his big wins as fights he got lucky in. They like to tell tales of him getting dominated by Amir Khan before knocking him senseless with a lucky punch, or they criticize him for not giving Lucas Matthysse an immediate rematch despite clearly whooping him in their first encounter.
In the Khan fight, although Khan threw many more punches in the early going, if you re-watch the fight, it is evident that Garcia was cool, calm, and in control from round one. All Khan did was outhustle him with shoe shining flurries while Garcia remained collected and timed him with counters. Garcia was in the fight from the beginning and lost the first two close rounds on volume alone while he did equally effective work. Garcia picked off a lot of Khan’s punches and took many more to his guard while setting up traps and timing his big left hook. Garcia remained composed and stuck to his game plan even after a cut eye. He knew that in order to catch Khan he had to punch while Khan flurried and he did just that at the end of round three, then closed the show like a champion in the next round. Against Matthysse, Garcia outslugged the slugger and beat him mercilessly in the second half of the fight to the point where Matthysse was never the same fighter again.
Not many people predicted Garcia to win either of these fights so it’s no surprise that this majority are now the biggest critics of Garcia. To say he was getting dominated by Khan is a myth, he stayed patient for two rounds then timed Khan and sent him to lala land. To say Matthysse deserved a rematch is an even bigger crock of you know what, because since then Matthysse has done nothing to warrant one. Getting beaten clearly does not warrant a rematch, especially when the loser has looked worse then ever in his comeback fights against weak opposition like John Molina. Matthysse almost got knocked out and went life and death with Molina, the same Molina that couldn’t win one round against Adrien Broner.
Garcia is young, has heavy hands, great timing, average speed for his division, good defense, a solid amateur pedigree, high ring IQ, and he has intangibles that make him hard to beat like an excellent chin, the ability to adapt mid fight and the heart of a champion. His trainer, and father, Angel, is an obnoxious loudmouth but, underneath it all, he knows boxing and has shown time, and time again that he gives sound advice between rounds as a top notch cornerman. At just 27 years old, Garcia is entering his prime and already he looks like a composed veteran. Like it or not, at his age, with his style, he will be around for a long time at the championship level. Don’t be surprised to see Garcia pull off another huge upset when he moves to welterweight against the likes of Maidana, Thurman or Kell Brook.
Andy Lee vs Peter Quillin is a fight between a newly crowned champion with one punch power and a man with a high workrate, a solid all around attack and the hunger to erase the negative perception he created when he vacated the very same belt he is now fighting to get back. Last year in a strange decision, Quillin vacated his WBO middleweight belt instead of facing mandatory challenger Matt Korobov who Quillin would have likely beaten. As a result Andy Lee signed to face Korobov for the title and won a shocking knockout upset to become champion. In the past, when facing rough customers who punch in high volume, Lee has been roughed up in losing efforts to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Bryan Vera. Quillin has a solid chin so I dont see Lee’s power being much of a factor. I see Quillin outdoing Lee’s typically low workrate to eventually wear him down and stop him. Hopefully the winner of this fight will have the courage to try and unify with Gennady Golovkin.
Garcia by KO in round 7 over Peterson
Quillin by TKO in round 9 over Lee