By Matt Andrzejewski
Danny Garcia and Tune-Up Fights
It was announced this week that Danny Garcia would face journeyman Samuel Vargas in a PBC televised main event on November 12th. The fight is widely viewed as a severe mismatch by those inside the sport and drew heavy criticism on social media.
Garcia has been out of the ring for about ten months and wanted a tune-up fight to stay sharp before heading into a big fight presumably with Keith Thurman. This is completely understandable. The issue with this fight is not the fact that Garcia is taking a tune-up to stay sharp. The problem lies with this bout headlining a nationally televised card.
If Garcia wanted a tune-up fight, he should be fighting deep on the non-televised portion of a card. The fact that these types of bouts consistently make it to television further gives the sport a black eye. Fans do not want to see bouts where the result is more or less pre-determined. This is a big reason why boxing is not growing at the same rate as say UFC.
Arturo Gatti faced Tracy Harris Patterson and Wilson Rodriguez in back to back HBO televised fights in the 90’s. Though Gatti prevailed in both fights, they were each very tough fights. Gatti and his team wanted a tune-up fight after those two difficult fights. So he and his team found a slot deep on the undercard of Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota I. Gatti faced an overmatch journeyman off television and got the work in he needed. There was no bickering from fans or media about him taking such a fight because he was staying busy off television.
The example above is how tune-up fights need to be done in this sport. They are necessary at times for many reasons, but they also do not belong on television.
The Scoring of Knockdowns
As we are all aware, scoring a bout in boxing is very subjective. One of the odd consistencies though is the scoring of rounds as 10-8 when a knockdown occurs. This has almost seemed to become automatic nowadays and is something that I feel needs to be corrected.
The best way to state my point is to give a specific example. In an HBO televised bout last year, Oscar Valdez faced Ruben Tamayo. Valdez was dominant in the first round as Tamayo barely landed anything. Right at the end of the round, a left by Tamayo partially landed on Valdez. Valdez went to the canvas but replays showed that he was also tripped by Tamayo the same time the punch partially landed. The referee made a judgment call and ruled this a knockdown.
Two judges scored this a 10-8 round for Tamayo. In my opinion, this really should have been scored even or at worst 10-9 for Tamayo. Valdez was in total control of the round before the controversial knockdown. Tamayo landed basically nothing. Even the punch that was ruled to have caused the knockdown only partially connected. Yet two judges automatically went to 10-8 because of the ruling of the knockdown.
Rounds need to be scored as a whole. Too often, when knockdowns occur the rounds are automatically judged as 10-8. And this should not always be the case. The punch or punches that score the knockdown should be counted and weighed in the eyes of a judge. But so should all other punches that land in the round.
Tevin Farmer returned to action on Friday and scored a solid unanimous decision win against Orlando Rizo. This was the 16th consecutive victory for Farmer who is quickly approaching a title shot in the Super Featherweight division.
Farmer’s career is one of overcoming adversity. Early in his career, he faced tough opposition in which he was often brought in as the opponent. Following a televised loss on Showtime to future champion Jose Pedraza, Farmer’s record fell to 7-4-1. He seemed destined to club fighter status. But something clicked after that loss to Pedraza in 2012 and Farmer has not lost since.
In July, Farmer faced the biggest test of his career since the Pedraza fight when he faced Ivan Redkach. Unable to secure other opponents, Farmer accepted the Redkach fight having to go up in weight to face a naturally bigger and stronger opponent. It was a high risk fight for Farmer but he used his speed and skill to easily outpoint Redkach. It was an eye opening performance that showed just how far Farmer has come since losing to Pedraza four years earlier.
Looking at the current landscape at Super Featherweight, it can be argued that Farmer may be favored against most of the current top names in the division. But getting a top name in the ring for Farmer has been and probably will continue to be an issue. He is a slick southpaw with fast hands and world class defensive skills. Farmer would be a nightmare for anyone between Featherweight and Lightweight as he showcased in the Redkach victory. But Farmer is keeping busy and continuing to hone his skills fighting on club shows like the one this past Friday. Eventually an opportunity will come his way and with how his career has progressed there is an excellent chance he will take full advantage when the moment comes.