The upcoming fight between Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson promises to provide fans an entertaining fight that should feature impressive technique as well as exciting action. A DC-native, I’m always behind Peterson, whose past few fights have been against soft opposition since he was dismantled by Lucas Mathysse in May of 2013. Garcia, on the other hand, who has also been criticized recently for taking two consecutive “stay busy” fights against Rod Salka and Mauricio Herrera, does so after astoundingly outwitting Peterson’s conqueror. I was skeptical of the hype at first, but after seeing him walk through Peterson, I was sure Mathysse would have no trouble with Garcia. Though subtly talented, Garcia’s technique appears rough and awkward in a way that should leave him open to fight-ending shots, but somehow, so far, he’s always managed to use a combination of great conditioning, respectable power, and a sturdy chin to amplify the strengths of his technique, and shelter the weaknesses. That’s just what he did against Lucas Mathysse, who brought the same intimidating aggression to the Garcia fight that he does with all his opponents. While the onslaught wasn’t entirely successful right away, the viewer got the impression that Garcia was extremely uncomfortable and might not be able to slip the most significant shots for much longer. Frustrated, Mathysse may have opened up slightly more than he otherwise would have, and Garcia began slowly eroding his foundation. Round by round, Mathysse lost his edge and Garcia began taking on the role of the aggressor. Shockingly, it was Mathysse who went down in the 11th round, his right eye swollen almost shut.
Reprising his role as an underdog, Peterson will have a lot to handle against Garcia on April 11th. The most interesting thing about any fight at such a high level in the sport is how the fighters choose to use their talents to overcome specific challenges. In this case, two well-rounded fighters will be looking for advantages in hand speed, power, foot work, defense or conditioning. Any one factor could change the result of the fight as, in contrast to their fights against Mathysse, neither one of them relies heavily on any single part of his arsenal.
The problem with this interesting, well-matched contest, is that it doesn’t matter. What happens if Danny Garcia wins? Well! He would have maintained his unblemished record and risen to 30-0. He would have defeated a sound opponent, a gatekeeper in the division who can handle the elite level, and someone at a level far above that of his two previous opponents. That’s about it. What happens if Lamont Peterson wins? Great fanfare! Lots of hype for his next fight! Fan buzz all over the world for the man who beat the champion! That’s all. “Wait,” you say. Beating a champion makes you the champion, right? Nope. No title on the line, nothing at stake other than facial features and bragging rights. Matchmaking and the televised future of the sport have looked so good lately, it’s certainly disappointing to have such a great fight made entirely inconsequential for both fighters, but, it’s a sport; it’ll have it’s highs and lows. We’re making progress.