Many smart folks assumed that the Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse bout, with Garcia's 140 pound crowns up for grabs, would be the fight of the night, offering more drama and controlled violence than the main event. Garcia (age 25; from Philly), holder of the WBA and WBC strap, entered with a 26-0 with 16 KOs mark. The Argentine Matthysse (age 30; holding interim WBC strap) was 34-2 with 1 ND, 32 KOs.
It turned out there was less violence, controlled or otherwise, because Danny Garcia's ring generalship was superb at the MGM Grand. After two or three rounds, he got his bearings, and knew he could take Lucas' power, the same Lucas who many fans would knock his head into Jack Nicholson's lap. Garcia's combos impressed the judges, and he was helped by the right eye of Lucas, which was closing by round seven. The arbiters saw it 115-111, 114-112, 114-112, for the Philly fighter, who now must get proper respect for winning fights he's not favored to win.
"I'm the champion of the world," said Garcia after, with his dad grinning wickedly. "The champion of the world isn't scared of anyone. If you can make it out Philly you can make it out of anywhere.
"The only way to slow him down was to go down to the body and throw combinations upstairs. I just let my hands go."
"I only had one eye for half of the fight but, it's no excuse," Matthysse said afterwards. "He fought a great fight. He's a great champion and we knew he wasn't intimidated by my punching."
To Jim Gray, Garcia said he wasn't scared of nobody. He joked that he'd have smacked his dad after his dad whacked his face after a lame round, if he wasn't his dad. next? He'll leave that to Al Haymon and Golden Boy, he said.
Lucas went 206-566 to 225-624 for Garcia, whose exemplary chin kept him from suffering the fate of so many Matthysse foes.
In the first, Garcia, coming off a win over Zab Judah, who'd beaten Lucas, was cautious. Lucas landed a decent hook and then later two rights. In the second, a right to the body on Garcia looked like it stung. Lucas landed a left hook that buzzed Garcia a tiny bit late. Garcia's lateral movement served him well.
In the third, the right to the body had Garcia's left side red. The Philly kid was a bit busier, after hearing it from his dad. He threw more jabs, and was quicker with power counters. "Are you alright?" Angel asked Danny after the round. "You have to be focused," he said a few times, and warned his son to protect himself smartly. Lucas only thew 34 punches, for the record.
In the fourth, Danny threw more combos, looked more relaxed. He was warned, again, for low blows. But it looked like he had figured out the Argentine, or thought he had.
In the fifth, they clashed heads but it looked like no cut formed. The ref warned Garcia for going low with 30 seconds left. It was a tight round. In the sixth, Lucas backed Garcia to the ropes; that happened a few times to this point, but Garcia is a calm defender. He blocks and clinches if he needs to. In the seventh, the right eye on Lucas was closing. He landed a few clean shots which Danny took quite well. A hook-right combo scored well for Danny late. In the eighth, the left hook scored on the closed eye.
His corner asked him a few times if he could see and Lucas said yes and we went to the ninth. Garcia right hand scored heavy a couple times and he went to the body with the left.
In the tenth, there was some holding, but then Danny landed a right counter after a left hook to his body. Lucas was busier and likely took that one.
In the 11th, Danny put Lucas down, as he got him tangled in the ropes, for the first time ever. This was after Lucas knocked Danny's piece out with a right to start the round. This was the round of the fight. In the 12th, a combo by Garcia made the crowd buzz. Danny's combos were money. A low left made ref Tony Weeks take a point from Danny. They flurried to the end. We went to the cards.