It really was not that long ago that Danny Garcia was viewed as one of the hottest young stars in the sport. In 2012, he claimed the vacant WBC super lightweight title by defeating future Hall of Famer Erik Morales. In July of that year, he united the WBC and WBA belts when he caught up to Amir Khan with a beautiful, Round 4 left hook and stopped him a round later. He capped the year in November by knocking out Morales in a rematch, with another beautiful lead hook.
In 2013, he defeated two-division world champion Zab Judah in April. In September 2013, he stole the show on the Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez undercard, when he turned back Lucas Matthysse, then one of the hottest sluggers in the sport.
Things started to go down hill for him in March 2014, when he escaped a defense against Mauricio Herrera with a majority decision that many observers (including myself) do not believe he deserved. In August of that year, he knocked out unranked lightweight Rod Salka in a non-title fight. That bout was an insult to every boxing fan who paid a subscription to Showtime during 2014.
In April 2014, Garcia faced Lamont Peterson. Garcia was the reigning WBA and WBC champ at 140 and Peterson held the IBF belt. But for some reason, the fight was another non-title bout, at a catchweight of 143 pounds. Against, Garcia earned a majority decision and again, many (including myself) did not think he deserved it.
Garcia then moved up to full welterweight and stopped a faded Paulie Malignaggi in August 2015. Last January, he claimed the vacant WBC welterweight title by defeating Robert Guerrero. Why Guerrero, coming off from a split-decision win over Aaron Martinez and 2-2 in his last four fights deserved a title shot is anybody’s guess.
Garcia has been inactive since winning that title in January. But on Thursday, reports came that Garcia would finally make his first defense on November 12.
The opponent, however, has yet to be named. Names floated as likely opponents for Garcia’s next fight have been Andre Berto and John Molina–neither of whom is a legitmate contender at welterweight.
It’s worth noting who the other welterweight belt holders faced this year. Timothy Bradley entered 2016 with the WBO strap. He fought Manny Pacquiao. WBA champion Keith Thurman faced Shawn Porter, a former champion and top-five contender. IBF champion Kell Brook jumped to middleweight and faced Gennady Golovkin, the most-avoided fighter in the sport.
Danny Garcia is going to face…somebody. Probably not a true contender.
Let’s hope that at the very least, he will step up and take on Thurman in early 2017.