I am today more curious to see what is next for Danny Garcia than I was before he met Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico, and bumped up, one could argue, against his limitations.
Right away, let me get this out of the way, I was one of the majority of folks who thought Herrera, the aptly nicknamed "El Maestro," deserved the W against the Philly-based hitter who was looking to grow his fanbase by snagging some of those impassioned fightwatching Boricuas. Herrera simply boxed masterfully, and in my eyes, his superiority as a ring tech overrode the supposed edge in power punches enjoyed by the WBA and WBC 140 pound champ.
Before that scrap, I checked in with Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza, and asked about what could come after Herrera for Garcia, assuming he won. What about it, I asked, if Garcia wins, the rumor mill says he will let the New Yorker Gabriel Bracero have a crack at his crowns. True or false?
"I've heard that name as well," said Espinoza. "And I've heard Danny talk about unifying titles, which is one of his goals. There's a lot of good fights ahead of him. Whether it's Lamont Peterson, or someone else, there's a lot to do with Danny still. Bracero is a great story, and it's also pretty tempting to unify the titles, and Philly-DC is a great rivalry, so Lamont-Danny would be an interesting matchup too."
My take: If I'm Team Garcia, I would strongly consider Bracero next. Why? Because he should be an easier out than Peterson. And that fight does bangup business at Barclays Center, which has been hospitable to Garcia, and will fill with a few thousand Bracero rooters on fightnight, much as it did with Luis Collazo rooters on Jan. 30, when Collazo upended the favored Victor Ortiz. Bracero is a solid boxer, but likely not on par with Herrera, and his power is of the sort that Garcia likely won't be put off trying to land his left hooks. If I'm Team Garcia, and promoter Golden Boy, for Danny's confidence, I want to get him back on the winning track, and that seems to be a surer bet with a Bracero fight.
Bracero (23-1 with just 4 KOs; age 33; born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Brooklyn, lives in PA; beat Dmitriy Salita in last outing; promoted by Lou DiBella), for those that don't know, is an exemplification of why boxing is a net positive for society. His trainer, Tommy Gallagher, will tell you that Gabriel has a deep well of darkness in him. That darkness ran rampant, and spilled over into polite society, when he was younger, and couldn't rein in his emotions. He lived a street thuglife, carried guns and used them. He was locked up for it. He was released, and for the last few years, boxing has been his reason for living. Faced with limited choices, he has chosen, every day, to go to the gym, work toward a goal, and not wreak havoc on his hood. Boxing has been his reason for being, and from getting to know the kid a bit, I can assure all this: he will train his tail off to beat Danny Garcia (age 26; 28-0 with 16 KOs), and even if his face sprung twenty leaks on fight night, he wouldn't dare consider quitting.
Would he be favored to beat Garcia? In no way, shape or form. But this I promise...he'd put up a helluva fight, and it would be a fan friendly scrap, well worth the money Showtime would out up for it.
That's my two cents.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV