Garcia to retain titles
Our Simon Crawford believes world champion Danny Garcia will be too strong for Mauricio Herrera at the weekend.
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Danny Garcia should need no introduction to British fights fans after his emphatic four-round victory over Amir Khan in July 2012.
Garcia was cut in the second round, but decked Khan in both the third and fourth before the fight was waved off with the Bolton fighter unsteady on his feet, as the American added the WBA strap to his WBC world light-welterweight title.
Since then 25-year-old Garcia (27-0 16KOs) has gone from strength to strength, with impressive wins over Erik Morales, Zab Judah and Lucas Martin Matthysse and he shows no signs of loosening the grip on his titles.
He faces veteran Mauricio Herrera, 33, in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamon on Saturday night and on paper at least you could argue it's Garcia's easiest looking assignment since 2011 - some eights fights ago.
Garcia appears to have all the advantages in his favour - he's younger, stronger, quicker and has more punch power as his record suggests.
He's also tactically astute as he showed against Khan who enjoyed some success early in their fight from the outside, until Garcia worked it out and ultimately turned the fight on its head in devastating fashion.
"I am not coming here to lose my title. I am going to come and defend like always. It's not going to be easy," said Garcia, who also beat Briton Ashley Theophane on a split decision back in February 2010.
"It's going to be a tough fight but I have prepared like I always prepare. I am ready to defend my title and win.
"You can expect to see that same fast, powerful Danny."
So what can go wrong?
Certainly Herrera (20-3 7KOs) can not be overlooked having outpointed current WBO champion Ruslan Provodnikov back in January 2011, but he lost his last two fights at world-class level to Karim Mayfield and Mike Alvarado 12 months later.
He also lacks the kind of punching power that would give Garcia something to really think about, but he will have something like a three-inch advantage in reach which will help his accurate jab.
It's potentially a life-changing fight for Herrera so you know his preparation will be as good as it possibly can be.
"I throw a lot of punches and I use the jab very well," said Herrera.
"I can come out different ways. I can come out to pressure him. I can come out to box. I've shown that I can do a little bit of both.
"And I have really great defence. I think the defense is the main key. You know, I'm not that easy to hit and I have a very good chin.
"So, I know I can out punch a guy and it's not going to be an easy fight, but when it gets down and when we have to go and exchange, you know, I can do that too. So, I'm really ready on all angles."
He certainly sounds confident, but for me the main reason he will be found out is the fact that he is 33 and has been involved in so many brutal fights in his career.
Although his proud record will tell you that he has never been stopped, one day it will catch up with him and I can see that day arriving on Saturday.
You can train all you want and be as fit as you've ever been, but sooner or later cracks will appear that you simply can't keep covering up.
Garcia is fresh and hungry and even though he has a tendency to get himself involved in the occasional tear-up, he's too much of an all-round boxer to let his titles slip away on this occasion.
Complacency may be an issue but even if he finds himself under pressure early on, he has the nous and craft to regroup and get back to his gameplan.
I believe the tough Herrera may not be put on the canvas, but Garcia can pile on enough pressure in the later rounds to force the referee to intervene and call a halt to proceedings.
Not surprisingly, Garcia goes into the fight as a massive favourite and 1/8 with Boylesports and bwin is the standout price on him, with Herrera easily backable at 7s.
A Garcia stoppage at 15/8 is reasonable value with Boylesports, but I'm going into the round group betting market and like the look of sportingbet's 11/2 for him to win between rounds 7-12.