Julio Cesar Garcia looked like he’d rather have been where I was, on the sofa, sipping a soda, rather than where he was, absorbing shots from Danny Perez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night in the first undercard bout on the Juan Manuel Marquez/Joel Casamayor pay per view card.
This fight was in the super middleweight class, scheduled for ten. Garcia, just one year ago, was a middleweight. We get a guy fills out as he grows up, and it’s not like Garcia looked bloated, but jumping to 168, after weighing 150-154 in 2006, that sends a message. Not a good message.
Perez had a 275 to 85 edge in punches landed after ten, and the judges used that stat as a blueprint, tallying scores of 100-90, 99-91, 97-93 for Perez.
With a 41-3 mark coming in, the 21-year-old Garcia had the look of a weary vet merely going through the motions for a paycheck. The hitter debuted as a pro six years ago, so all you mathematicians comprehend that he was 15 when he gloved up for money for the first time. The kid has a lot of miles on him, physical and mental, it looked like, as he backed up and let Perez (32-5 coming in) touch him with jabs, and didn’t attempt to block or slip the majority of them, through five rounds. Perez had fought and lost to Antonio Margarito twice (‘99, SD8; ’02 UD12) , no shame in that, and he also lost to Contender Jessie Brinkley. But at 31, he showed the fire that was absent in Garcia’s gut. He went low, high, mixed in body work after coating his foe with jabs.
For Garcia, it looked like a passive aggressive statement fight. He stubbornly refused to move his head, eating smacks almost as if he was wanting Perez to win, so he could say, “Maybe I should quit” to his handlers. This is speculative, of course.
In the seventh, Perez slowed down some. He’d been on message, admirably so, but maybe Garcia could in fact pull this one out of the fire.
His corner told him to go for the stoppage, but in the ninth and tenth, he did not heed that advice to great extent. It was Perez who pressed forward, stayed in the kid’s face, and looked to close the show on an up note.
It’s time for Garcia to take a hard look at himself, get honest with himself, and have some hard conversations. Maybe all he needs is a year or two off in some crummier job, toiling for lower pay, in front of people who don’t applaud when you do well, and he’ll think boxing looks good to him. Or maybe he’ll walk away, and not look back. Either way, boxing with half your heart in it is not advisable.
SPEEDBAG Maybe you recognized the voice of the analyst on the show. Our own Ron Borges threw in his three cents, along with play by play man Barry Tompkins.