The fight between former two-division world champion Danny Garcia and contender Ivan Redkach on January 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY had one central subplot. It was not only an encounter between two fighters with crowd pleasing styles, but perhaps more importantly, it would determine a mandatory challenger in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Welterweight ratings. Despite some questions regarding the rankings of the two fighters that this observer discussed in previewing this fight, there was also an element of intrigue that surrounded this fight due largely to the styles of the two fighters, which indicated that it could be a competitive and exciting bout to watch.
Although I stated prior to the fight that it was logical to expect Redkach to be aggressive, he needed to be tactical in his approach. The problem for Redkach was he was tactical to a point where he more or less was lulled into Garcia’s type of fight. This essentially allowed Garcia to dictate the tempo of the combat, generally getting his punches off first as well as being able to mix his offense up to the body and head. What was also prominent in Garcia’s offense was his accurate counter punching.
When a fighter falls into such a lull, the story of the fight more often than not centers on one fighter’s reluctance and/or inability to let his hands go. As the fight progressed, what was taking place in the ring at times resembled a competitive sparring session where the theme remained the same throughout. Garcia getting his punches off first and having his way inside the ring.
A sign of frustration in Redkach emerged in the eighth round where he bit Garcia on the shoulder while in a clinch. This along with periodic instances throughout the fight where he taunted Garcia including sticking his tongue out. Although clearly this was an attempt to goad Garcia into engaging in a slugfest, it did not do Redkach any favors as he would ultimately end up on the losing end of a twelve round unanimous decision to Garcia.
It goes without saying that sometimes the competitive fight that appears will be what takes place when two fighters enter the ring does not always materialize in the way it might appear will be the case on paper prior to a bout. This fight however, does serve as a clear demonstration of one fighter’s well-rounded skill set when matched against the type of opponent that allows that fighter to showcase his skills.
The obvious question emerging from this fight is what are the potential options for Danny Garcia going forward? In terms of what this fight accomplished for him beyond securing the thirty-sixth victory of his career was it puts him right back in position to fight for a world championship. The WBC Welterweight championship that Garcia held from January 2016 to March 2017. As this observer discussed in previewing this fight, this will depend on whether current unified IBF/WBC world champion Errol Spence, who has been sidelined due to injuries he suffered in a serious automobile accident in October of last year, will be able to return to the ring in a reasonable timeframe.
While it is too soon for one to make assumptions, the possibility does exist that Garcia could either be named champion by the WBC or at minimum be placed into a fight for the vacant WBC Welterweight world championship if Spence does not return to the ring in a certain period of time. Garcia meanwhile in the days leading up to his bout with Ivan Redkach, eluded to the possibility of moving up in weight to the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division if a fight against Spence or current WBA world championship Manny Pacquiao can not be made.
In the current landscape of the 147lb. Welterweight division Spence and Pacquiao have established themselves as the two biggest names outside of current WBO world champion Terence Crawford in terms of being the most lucrative options available in the division. While one should also not dismiss the possibility of a potential fight with Garcia and Crawford, who is currently promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc,, the more compelling question will be asked of the promoters that currently do business under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner where Garcia, Spence and Pacquiao currently compete under.
With one fighter clearly seeking the most lucrative opportunity available to him with his publicly stating that if he cannot get an opportunity that would be lucrative that he is open to the possibility of moving up in weight, this is something that the PBC group of promoters will have to address. In an ever evolving landscape where there are several networks, and promoters across both traditional and digital streaming platforms that are all vying for the interest of fighters that can help grow their platforms and subsequent standing within the sport, one should also not dismiss the possibility of a fighter possibly opting to offer his promotional rights to the highest bidder if an opportunity that fighter seeks is not presented to him by his current promoter.
Although as the competition has increased over the last year between networks and the general shift towards streaming has increased significantly, there has been talk amongst both promoters and networks to the concept of loyalty of fighters to both promoters and platforms. It is however, irrational for anyone to expect loyalty when fighters are not given the opportunities they seek. In a dangerous sport where a fighter’s career can unfortunately end in an instant without warning, the only loyalty a fighter should have is to themselves, their families, and anyone who will help them get the opportunities they want, which ultimately could/should prepare and set them up for a financially secure life after their days competing in the ring are over.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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