In extremely one-sided fashion, Danny Garcia successfully moved up to welterweight by defeating veteran Paulie Malignaggi with a ninth-round technical knockout Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Garcia would bounce Malignaggi around the ring and landed 121 of his 485 punches, according to CompuBox, seemingly ending the Brooklyn native and crowd favorite’s career.
As far as debuts go, the 27-year-old Garcia couldn’t have asked for a better showcase to enter the welterweight division. But with Malignaggi having one foot out the door even before the opening bell, the fight didn’t really serve as a significant test and how Garcia fares in his next matchup will determine if he’s belongs with the loaded 147-pound group.
And thanks to his connections to boxing matchmaker Al Haymon, Garcia almost immediately tried to set up his next match with two of the division’s best, WBA champ Keith Thurman and former IBF titleholder Shawn Porter.
“Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter are great fighters in this division, and they're both represented by Al Haymon, so if they want, we can make it happen," Garcia said. "I want whoever Al Haymon wants. It's been that way my whole career, and it's not going to change now. I will take anyone at 147."
Both fighters are looking for their next opponents after successful bouts earlier this year. Thurman, 26, defended his belt for the fifth straight time against Brooklyn fighter Luis Collazo, retiring him in the seventh round last month, and Porter claimed a huge redeeming victory via unanimous decision over Adrien Broner in June.
Though Malignaggi is seven years older, and never really flashed that famous jab that made him one of the best in the division for years, Garcia evidently thinks the victory was enough for him to stay at welterweight.
Garcia would say afterwards to the crowd that he’s never felt better in any other weight class.
"I feel strong, I feel good. I used my jab," Garcia said. "I still have things to work on, but I'm proud of myself -- 147 is where it's at. I felt a lot stronger [at 147]. In the ninth round, I felt like it was round 1. I need to work on shortening up punches and sticking with the game plan."
Garcia will need and must stick to the game plan if he meets the powerful Thurman or Porter. Thurman has knocked down 22 of his 27 opponents, and showed his ability to go the distance with unanimous 12-round decisions over Robert Guerrero and Leonard Bundu prior to taking out Collazo.
But Thurman said he has his eyes on Great Britian’s Amir Khan, citing their common opponents and his eagerness to prove fans wrong.
"Personally, I'm highly interested in an Amir Khan fight. A lot of fans are interested in it. We both fought Luis Collazo and Julio Diaz so we have two common opponents,” Thurman said to behindthegloves.com.
"He's been at welterweight for a while now and he should be comfortable at 147lbs, so that's the fight that I would like to make happen.
"A lot of fans think he's fast enough and might have the proper skills to fully expose Keith 'One Time' Thurman. With that, I'd like to shut all that out with a simple, legitimate match.
Porter handed Broner just the second loss of his career with a relentless display of power and quickness. In the matchup dubbed “The Battle for Ohio,” Porter would toss a ceaseless flurry of 590 punches and landed 149, compared to Broner’s 149 attempts and 88 connections. Already up in points and the fight in hand, Porter even took Broner’s best shot, a left hook in the final round that sent him to the mat but popped back up to claim the win.