The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of Mar. 17
Well, that was an interesting weekend.
Here we break down Danny Garcia's majority-decision victory over Mauricio Herrera on Saturday night in Puerto Rico. Did the 140-pound champion get a bit of home cooking with a gift decision?
Also, is Deontay Wilder ready to be the next big star in the heavyweight division? And should he jump to the front of the line for a shot at legitimate champion Wladimir Klitschko?
With his big pay-per-view numbers, is Canelo Alvarez the next big attraction for boxing on pay television?
Is Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez taking the easy road when he returns to the ring this spring? And are there any legs to the recent rumors of potential legal troubles for Floyd Mayweather?
These are the stories you'll be talking about this week. They are the hottest boxing storylines for the week of Mar. 17.
Did Danny Garcia Get Some Home Cooking in Puerto Rico?
Saturday night was one of those times when you understand why it's so hard to be a boxing fan.
Danny Garcia, making his homecoming to the island of his parents' birth, had just spent the previous 36 minutes being outboxed by the tricky and pesky Mauricio Herrera. In a world in which all things were treated equally, the 33-year-old challenger would've walked out of Puerto Rico as a world champion.
But in boxing, unfortunately, equal isn't always the case.
Now, you can assess Garcia's performance in a variety of different ways.
Perhaps he underestimated Herrera. And you could understand why. It's not like people were lining up to pick the upset in this fight.
Maybe he got swallowed up in the moment and all the hype surrounding his first fight in Puerto Rico. Or maybe, Herrera is just a terribly underrated fighter with a tricky style made to give an aggressive fighter like Garcia fits.
The reality probably sits somewhere in the middle of all three, but one thing is for certain, Garcia was extremely fortunate to walk out of the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez with those shiny belts still around his waist.
It seemed that he had clearly lost the fight—all three Showtime commentators had Herrera by a comfortable margin—and even if you feel he won, isn't it hard to justify the margins?
Scoring the fight 116-112 means you felt that one fighter did enough to win eight rounds. Can a case really be made that Garcia did that on Saturday night?
It's an extremely tough sell, even if you stretch things to the point of giving the champion every possible benefit of the doubt.
The real shame here is for Herrera.
This may have been his one and only shot, he did enough to win the fight, and he just didn't get a fair shake.
Can Deontay Wilder Be the Man at Heavyweight?
Deontay Wilder didn't take long to dispatch—at least on paper—the toughest challenge of his career, blasting Malik Scott out in the first round of their heavyweight contest on the Garcia vs. Herrera undercard.
At first glance, it didn't appear that the straight right that felled Scott landed clean, but on replay, a left behind the ear that seemed to shake the Philadelphia-born fighter’s equilibrium preceded it.
The ending, short and sudden like all of Wilder's fights, confirmed a few things about the Tuscaloosa native.
For one thing, he's—stop me if you've heard this before—an absolutely devastating power puncher. With all 31 of his victories coming inside the distance, and all of those within four rounds, Wilder is on the express train to the top.
And for another, we still have no idea how he'll fare against a boxer who can, either take his shots—good luck—or find ways to neutralize his offensive weapons.
Scott was supposed to be that challenge, and it's a tad unfair to criticize Wilder for knocking his man out early, but there are still a few lingering questions.
Shortly after the fight, Bleacher Report's Lyle Fitzsimmons nailed it right on the head, when he called, via Twitter, for Wilder to skip his scheduled next fight—against the winner of Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola II for the meaningless WBC title—in favor of a clash with legitimate heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
That's clearly the most compelling fight in the division, and even if you question Wilder's credentials, you can't possibly argue that he's less deserving than Alex Leapai, who will get his shot at the heavyweight crown on April 26, despite having beaten precisely no one.
Klitschko vs. Wilder would be the biggest heavyweight fight in years. It needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Is Canelo Alvarez a Pay-Per-View Star Now?
Well, we've answered that question.
There was some legitimate debate about whether placing Canelo Alvarez—a once-unbeaten Mexican superstar coming off a lopsided defeat to Floyd Mayweather in the richest fight in boxing history—right back on pay-per-view was a good idea.
Many questioned how he would fare carrying a PPV event on his own for the first time, against a tough but limited foe and after getting all but shutout against Mayweather.
The answer, apparently, is pretty well.
Showtime Sports, per Dan Rafael, announced late last week that Canelo vs. Alfredo Angulo had generated "well over" 350,000 buys on PPV and generated at least $20 million dollars in revenue.
If those numbers are correct, they're a huge boon for Canelo and his marketability as a PPV attraction going forward.
Obviously, anything will look pedestrian compared to the numbers the 23-year-old Mexican did against Mayweather, but those are still very solid. They all but guarantee that he'll return to the ring on Showtime PPV in July as planned, with WBA 154-pound champion Erislandy Lara and IBF champion Carlos Molina as possible foes.
Overall, last Saturday was a very productive night for the cinnamon-haired former champion. He proved he can respond to adversity, scored a big victory and proved he is, in fact, a budding star in the sport.
Is Marquez Taking the Easy Road?
Juan Manuel Marquez will make his return to the ring, per Dan Rafael, on May 17, taking on former 140-pound champion Mike Alvarado at the newly refurbished Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
The bout, which will be contested at a maximum weight of 143 pounds, will be something of an eliminator for a shot at the WBO welterweight championship. The victor will advance, and earn a shot at whoever emerges champion from the Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao rematch on April 12 in Las Vegas.
Obviously there is some significance to this fight. Marquez, 41, is still a top pound-for-pound fighter, the winner gets a shot at a world title and the once great Forum has historically hosted big fights, including the 1973 rematch between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton.
Marquez has obvious history with Pacquiao—whom he’s engaged with in four epic fights—and Bradley, who defeated him by split decision last October.
But why is it Alvarado who was chosen to get this chance and not say, Ruslan Provodnikov?
Back in February, Marquez told The Ring Magazine that he wasn't interested in a fight with the "Siberian Rocky," who knocked out Alvarado in his last fight to capture a share of the 140-pound championship.
He told Lem Satterfield:
"Fighting with Provodnikov would not gain me anything. I would be fighting for a title that was already mine before and if I beat him, it won't mean much. I want a transcending fight, something that will be historic."
There's not a ton of logic to that statement, given he'll now end up fighting the man Provodnikov made quit in his last fight.
Nobody can fault Marquez for seeking big money, legacy fights at this stage of his career. He's been so good for so long, but he's most certainly in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career.
But let's not sugarcoat this one. It seems that he's taking the easier path to a title shot and a big fight later in the year.
That's well within his rights, but let's at least call it how we see it.
Any Legs to the Mayweather Story?
So, for those of you not paying attention, rumors surfaced on the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com this week, that pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather was involved in some activities that read straight out of any gangster movie you've ever seen.
The story, which, per Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News, has been dismissed by the Las Vegas Police Department as just a rumor at this point, is still sordid and potentially devastating if it has any legs.
According to TMZ's report, the pound-for-pound king "orchestrated" a brutal attack on two employees he suspected of stealing jewelry from his Las Vegas home.
The men claim to have been instructed to meet Mayweather, and when they showed up, he was there with several of his associates who proceeded to beat them with weapons. Their injuries were described as severe and potentially life threatening.
Neither Mayweather or any member of his team have yet commented on the situation, and there is currently no investigation ongoing by the LVPD. No alleged victim has come forward to file a complaint, and until that happens, this remains little more than a rumor.
But, even if it's not true, this is definitely not something Floyd wants to have hanging around him as he prepares for his next fight, May 3 against Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand.