Junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia retained his unified crown after a 12-round decision over challenger Mauricio Herrera on Saturday night in Puerto Rico.
Considering the former champions that Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) had left in his wake and the home advantage, the fight was supposed to be a tune-up for greater things to come. Herrera, a relatively unknown veteran boxer, was a major underdog entering the bout.
However, Garcia narrowly escaped the crafty veteran skills of the 33-year-old Herrera. The judges scored the bout 116-112, 116-112 and 114-114 in Garcia’s favor.
While the scorecards didn’t back Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs), the overall stats did. The Mexico native landed 221-of-695 punches, compared to 204-of-675 for Garcia.
"I was perfectly prepared for the fight. I was the one who had to put on the pressure. I went to make the fight," Herrera said after the fight. "I felt I won the fight. I threw more punches. A lot of his shots weren't landing but the crowd was screaming. I thought I finished strong, too. I thought it was close but that I won the fight."
Some have cried that the 25-year-old Garcia received a home discount from the judges, but he did land 150 power punches, bettering 82 landed by Herrera.
The pair jawed at the weigh-in, with Garcia appearing very confident. But afterwards he paid respect to Herrera’s skills.
"He's a crafty veteran," Garcia said. "I know every time I step in the ring every contender I fight wants what I got. So they gonna train their heart out and give everything they got, so I expected that. He's a good fighter and it was a good challenge. I had to make adjustment and I'm a true champion."