Light welterweight Danny Garcia defeated Lamont Peterson in a majority decision on Saturday night in Brooklyn in one of the biggest fights of the year. As the boxing world continues buzzing about the close decision, anticipation continues to build for Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, which is just 19 days away.
In the main event of NBC’s “Premier Boxing Champions,” Garcia topped Peterson after 12 rather tight rounds. Fighting at a catch weight of 143 pounds, Garcia won most of the early rounds, but a late surge from Peterson almost allowed him to steal the fight.
Peterson is hoping for a rematch, while Garcia contemplates a move up to the 147-pound weight class. Garcia has been linked to both Mayweather and Pacquiao in the last year, and while the Philadelphia native would like his shot at either one of boxing’s top two stars, he admits he needs a few fights under his belt at welterweight.
Before the undefeated Garcia can fight Mayweather or Pacquiao, they'll face off in what should become the most profitable fight of all-time. It’s a bout that’s been nearly six years in the making, and there has been no shortage of opinions about the two most recognizable boxers in the world.
Pacquiao’s betting odds have improved since the fight was made in February, and some believe he has a chance to pull off the upset. However, those involved in Garcia vs. Peterson think Mayweather will remain undefeated.
“I would pretty much pick Floyd. I think it will be more of a chess match,” Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer, told International Business Times on Saturday. "If Floyd does what Floyd (typically does) and doesn’t change anything, doesn’t play up to the crowd or the media, and just (acts like himself) he should come out of the fight unscathed.”
Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer, thinks Mayweather will get a majority decision victory. WBA welterweight champion Andre Berto also picked Mayweather, though he doesn’t think it will be an easy victory.
“It’s hard to go against Mayweather,” Berto said. “But it’s going to be one of the toughest fights of his career, for sure.”
Despite the naysayers, Pacquiao’s camp has exuded a lot of confidence publicly. Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach continues to be impressed by PacMan's preparation for the bout, and claims Mayweather is no longer the fighter he once was.
Many of Mayweather’s fights have been one-sided, and only three opponents have been able to avoid a unanimous decision or knockout. Mayweather’s defensive skills are matched by no other, allowing him to stay undefeated. But just because the Michigan native has never lost doesn’t mean he can’t be beaten.
“Floyd doesn’t punch too hard. But the thing is, Manny needs to relax a little more,” said Angel Garcia, when asked to describe Pacquiao's possible strategy. “[Manny should] not go in slugging too hard, and going all crazy. He needs to take his time a bit. He needs to throw his left hand, and come back with his overhand right. He needs to keep his head moving. When Manny gets involved in the hype (of a heated exchange), that’s when he gets clipped.”
If Mayweather doesn’t deviate from his strategy, there might not be a welterweight who can defeat him. According to Hunter, baiting Mayweather into being the aggressor will provide Pacquiao with his best chance to win.
No matter who wins the fight, it would be hard to argue that the welterweight division isn’t boxing’s No.1 division. A talented collection of 147-pounders have kept boxing afloat for well over a decade, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. There was 12,300 in attendance at Barclays Center to watch Garcia and Peterson fight, and a ticket for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao at MGM Grand in Las Vegas will start at $1,500.
“It’s hot right now,” Berto said after the Garcia-Peterson fight. “Everything is pumping right now. We are going to take it to another level.”