Shawn Porter, as he always does, will swarm Danny Garcia the minute the opening bell rings to start their fight on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, for the vacant WBC welterweight title.
Porter will pressure relentlessly, boring in three minutes a round for as long as the bout lasts. He’ll make life miserable for Garcia, forcing Garcia to work as hard as he ever has in a fight.
Of that, you can be certain. Porter knows no other way.
You never just ‘box’ Porter; you fight him, you scrap with him and you battle him. It’s never as simple and as easy as just a boxing match.
That struggle, though, will come with some benefit for Garcia, who is 34-1 with 20 knockouts and wildly unappreciated for his talents.
If Garcia fends off Porter and claims his 35th win in the Showtime-televised bout, he’ll silence the legions of critics who for one reason or another have never been willing to give him his due.
It seemed that should have come when he blew out Amir Khan, stopping the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the fourth round of their 2012 bout in Las Vegas.
He should have won them over in 2013 when he dropped Lucas Matthysse in the 11th round of a grudge match and beat him up throughout en route to a wide unanimous decision victory. And he should have gotten that respect he’s long been due in 2016, when he battled Keith Thurman on even terms for 12 taut, intense rounds in the only loss of his career.
Garcia’s father, Angel, doubles as his trainer and often loses his cool when he believes his son isn’t given the credit he’s earned. Unlike his frequently over-the-top father, though, Garcia just rolls with it.
He knows what he’s done and who he’s beaten and he believes those who understand the sport understand that, as well.
“I think if you really know about boxing, you give me my respect,” Garcia told Yahoo Sports. “People who really know boxing give me respect. You know, it’s what people put out there and a lot of people follow. A lot of times, people don’t do their research and they get caught up in that.
“But I think if you really know boxing, you know. My fans who are coming to the Barclays Center on Saturday, they know what I’m about. I think my fans love me and they don’t really care about the politics of it.”
The whole with Garcia is infinitely better than the sum of his parts. He doesn’t punch as hard as IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence, but no one he’s been in with has described him as a pitty-pat puncher. He doesn’t have Porter’s pure physical strength or the lightning fast hands of WBO champion Terence Crawford.
What he does have, though, is a total package. But it’s not a universal feeling. Porter himself noted that in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
“I think Danny, even in a win, has done things to make you think he could have lost the fight,” Porter said. “And not only that, he has underachieved in a lot of his fights.”
How much better, though, can the man be when he’s won 34 of 35 fights and the only loss he suffered was via split decision and came at the hands of an unbeaten champion regarded at the time as one of the five best fighters in the world?
Garcia is probably destined to always be a polarizing figure and likely will never be universally acclaimed, but if he holds off the considerable challenge Porter presents, things have to move in his direction.
He insists he’s up to the task.
“Shawn’s style is exactly what I like to go up against,” Garcia said, echoing the feelings of exactly no one else in the division. “I want him to come forward and walk into my counter punching. I have power in both hands and I’m going to make him feel it. If he comes and opens up, I’m going to land a clean shot early. If he can’t recover, then I’m going to have a chance to finish him. I’m going to dictate the pace and fight my fight.
“I’m ready for anything. I’m prepared to fight backwards, forwards or whatever I need to do. I have to set the tempo and dominate. Shawn is very hungry, so it’s important for me to be smart and pick my spots.”
It’s a tall order, because few can pressure as intensely and as effectively as Porter, but if he does it, Garcia may finally win the critics over.
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