Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
By Anthony “Champ” Ross
Tonight live on Showtime Championship Boxing (9ET/6PT) from the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, it’s a homecoming of sorts as reigning 140 pound kingpin WBA/WBC champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (27-0, 16KO) of Philadelphia, PA. puts his titles on the line against upset minded Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7KO) of Riverside, CA. in the 12-round main event. The co-feature is an intriguing one between two heavyweight contenders as knockout artist Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (30-0, 30KO) takes on Malik “King” Scott (36-1-1, 13KO) in a 12-round WBC final elimination bout. Tune in early as Showtime Extreme will broadcast two preliminary bouts including the crossroads rematch between Daniel Ponce De Leon (45-5, 35KO) versus Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30KO) in a 10-round super featherweight contest. Opening up the broadcast is middleweight contender Danny “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (26-1, 23KO) battles the hard hitting Milton Nunez (26-9-1, 24KO) in a 10-round middleweight bout.
There is an old saying “there is no place like home” and while Danny Garcia is a Philly kid born and raised on the east coast, the puerto rican blood runs deep as he looks to capture more fanfare making his debut fighting on the island of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The list of puerto rican champions runs deep in boxing history with fighters such as Wilfred Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez, Felix “Tito” Trinidad, Hector Camacho, Ivan Calderon and Miguel Cotto all receiving huge fan support and remain prominent figures in some capacity. While Garcia did not indeed grow up on the island, the fans looked to have gravitated towards the 25-year old with open arms like he was indeed one of there own in support of his upcoming fifth title defense. Over the last year and a half, Garcia has tightened his grip on the junior welterweight division beating the likes of Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Zab Judah and most recently Lucas Matthysse last September to propel him to the top of the division. Throughout his career Garcia has been the “B-side” on the ledger heading into fights versus Morales, Khan and Matthysse and tonight Garcia gets the taste of being the head attraction with the whole promotion behind him.
Garcia’s night will be far from easy as the 33-year old Herrera is a tough customer who always comes to fight and gives a good account of himself every time he steps inside the squared circle. Herrera’s biggest win came in 2011 over now WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (UD). Herrera suffered crucial back to back losses in 2012 to Mike Alvarado (UD) and Karim Mayfield (UD) yet rebounded once again in 2013 with two unanimous victories over Ji Hoon Kim and Miguel Angel Huerta. Although Herrera’s power less than stellar with only seven knockouts, he is a come forward fighter that gives subtle boxing angles on the inside that has given several of his opponents fits. Herrera understands the task ahead and feels he is up for the challenge, “I’ve fought tough guys in the past. Danny is human like me, I have no fear. I know a lot of people are overlooking me, he’s seen me fight but I don’t think he really knows who I am. He’s getting a little cocky but we’re trained for the 100 percent of Danny Garcia.” stated Herrera at the final presser. Garcia on the other hand, realizes this is finally his platform and time to shine “I’ve never really had my own dates, it’s always been another guy’s date. We’re focused, I know he’s going to come to fight but we’re going to get the job done.” Garcia stated at Thursday’s press conference.
Garcia comes in the heavy favorite tonight with seemingly all the advantages being younger, stronger, quicker better defensively yet the question is can Garcia be the first to finish off Herrera early, something nobody has been able to do up to this point. Herrera has never been an easy out for any opponent and I expect nothing less tonight. Danny Garcia is beginning to grow into a star and tonight is another step on his road to super stardom.
Showtime Extreme: 7PM ET/ 4PM PT
Showtime Championship Boxing: 9PM ET/ 6PM PT
Garcia -1400 vs Herrera +750
Wilder -500 vs Scott +350
Ponce De Leon -225 vs Lopez +175
Garcia – UD
Wilder – 7th Rd KO
Ponce De Leon – 5th Rd KO
Jacobs – 4th Rd KO