I thought Danny Garcia lost last night.
In front of an incredulous crowd of supporters at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, PR, Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KO's) became undone due at hands of unheralded veteran Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KO's), but still - somehow - managed to escape with a majority decision to retain his WBC/WBA super lightweight belts.
Wherever he is right now, I can imagine him sitting around in true Apollo Creed fashion prior to "Rocky II".
Since he's a very much a product of Philadelphia (his parents hail from Puerto Rico originally), he should be all too familiar with Creed's feelings when he declared this famous line following his win over Balboa:
"I won but I didn't beat him."
In an article previewing this fight the other day, I'd stated that the only way Garcia would be capable of losing to Herrera is if he was capable of not taking him seriously enough, and I don't think he did.
He was not at all prepared for the awkward nature of Herrera's style or the will he decided to impose on him. He was constantly in a state of flux, and seemed unusually preoccupied with a KO instead of that of a professional craftsman.
All week long, Garcia soaked up the champagne-like adoration uncorked by scores of media and supporters from the island ring in boxing lore, while Herrera was left holding the glass.
After 4 rounds, it was fairly clear that Herrera was going to make things really difficult. So much so, that it ignited his father Angel Garcia, to produce volcanic bursts in the corner.
It also made me explode upon seeing the absolutely ridiculous open scoring rear its ugly head again. When I saw one card read 40-36 Garcia - opposite a real sense of urgency from his father - I knew there were problems in the air.
The partisan crowd knew it too, as they began booing things once it got past 6 rounds of a fairly even fight. And why were they doing this? Because they could see Garcia was losing that's why.
Herrera's jab, uncanny movement, and ability to clinch while avoiding Garcia's money punch (the left hook), played big factors in rounds 7- 9, which I thought he swept.
Garcia was landing the flashier, much more crisp punches throughout, but he just wasn't dictating the pace or controlling the tempo while seeming like he was the challenger on this night.
To his credit, he dug Philly deep in the 10th and 11th rounds, turning dark and assaulting Herrera with some of his most damaging punches.
But all of that didn't matter in the 12th round as Herrera saved his best offensive effort for last. I had it 115-113 Herrera.
You can't say it was a robbery, but I'm alright with petty theft.
Given how things go in boxing, Herrera probably won't see Garcia again. But if there's any justice at all in the camp of Team Garcia, they will want to see Herrera again, if anything, to prove what happened last night was more of an aberration.
But as it stands now, Herrera got stiffed vs. "Swift".