Garcia vs Matthysse – Two Murderous Punchers Collide
By Peter Wells
Standing in the shadows of greatness are two of boxing’s most feared competitors. Between them four hands that can wreck any opposition in the blink of an eye. Between them they have annihilated the Light Welterweight division leaving indents of their footprints wherever you look.
The unbeaten man in this contest is the WBA ‘Super’ & WBC Light Welterweight champion of the world, Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia 26-0(16). His opponent is known as ‘The Machine’ and for good reason, Lucas Matthysse 34-2(32) has defined himself as the biggest puncher pound-for-pound and even those who have conquered the KO artist have endured a trip to the canvas.
Garcia comes into this contest as the underdog, no unknown territory to this Philly fighter. Last July Danny was looking far out of his league prior to a left hook being delivered onto the chin of Amir Khan, subsequently ending the fight. Another two knockdowns and the contest was officially over, Danny Garcia was suddenly the most feared fighter in the 140lb division.
A new storm was brewing in the distance, Lucas Matthysse’s reputation had failed to falter when defeated controversially by both Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. Retiring an aging Humberto Soto and demolishing the brave Ajose Olusegun had not yet sent shock waves around the world, but boxing was aware that something special was on the horizon.
Garcia further enhanced his one-punch knockout power when a left hook sent Erik Morales for a spin, stopping the legend in the 4th round of their rematch. Although the result was never in doubt, the way in which Garcia executed the execution was spectacular to say the least.
Matthysse then went on to demolish Mike Dallas Jr in one round before Garcia found the tricky Zab Judah a harder assignment than he anticipated. Despite scoring a knockdown and dominating the first 8 rounds of the contest, Judah came on strong and gave Garcia a scare late on.
While Garcia still sat at number 1, Lucas Matthysse was ready to face the number 2 fighter of the Light Welterweight division, Lamont Peterson. Many experts picked the naturally bigger Peterson to hold off the surging Matthysse, but no such thing took place. Matthysse sent out a roaring message when flooring Peterson three times in three rounds, halting the former world champion in the 3rd. Suddenly Matthysse was elevated to number 1 spot, the Argentinian was now the top dog, and Danny Garcia was next.
Now with the contest set for the undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez, these two combatants are raring to steal the spotlight. Most boxing fans are already far more excited for the main undercard than the star attraction, and why not, opinions are split and a war is what most envision.
Garcia does not possess the speed or awkwardness of both Alexander and Judah so applying their tactics of box and move may not quite come off. It seemed Peterson was attempting to implement the same strategy and look how that turned out for him. If Garcia can force Matthysse onto the back foot this will help him to control the centre of the ring, thus controlling the contest. Matthysse is a big puncher but has thus far only shown his destructive power when he gets full extension with his shots. If Garcia can close that gap to deny Matthysse room to work there’s a chance that Garcia could beat Matthysse on the inside. It’s a huge gamble but with the unlikeliness that Garcia will be able to outbox Matthysse without being caught it may be his best option.
For Matthysse it seems a case of pick up where you left off, but against a fellow banger like Garcia he can’t afford to leave himself open like he does when he throws his big shots.
It’s a tough one to pick; either fighter could knock the other out on any given night, but I’m going to go tentatively with the underdog. While I believe Matthysse can stop Garcia or even beat him on points with his higher work rate, the thought of Garcia causing the upset just keeps crossing my mind. My feeling is that Matthysse will likely hurt and even floor Garcia early in the contest and if he is still in the fight after 6 rounds opportunities will arise for the unbeaten champion. When the Argentinian opens up Garcia can use his excellent timing to catch Matthysse clean. Albeit Matthysse’s chin has shown no signs of faltering I pick Garcia to drop and stop the favourite somewhere between rounds 7-10.
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