BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO (Jan. 30, 2014) - After a stellar 2013 that included impressive wins over Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Danny "Swift" Garcia will kickoff his 2014 campaign with one of the most important fights of his career as he pays homage to his Puerto Rican heritage on Saturday, March 15, live on SHOWTIME. Garcia will face the crafty contender Mauricio Herrera at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, in the main event of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® doubleheader.
In the co-feature, heavyweight knockout artist Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder returns against longtime standout Malik "King" Scott. In the featured bout on the SHOWTIME EXTREME telecast preceding these fights, Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez and Daniel Ponce de Leónsquare off in a 10-round rematch for the WBO International Junior Lightweight Title.
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"This is going to be a night I will remember forever, and I plan on giving the fans a show they won't forget," said Garcia, a Philadelphia native of Puerto Rican descent. "I'm a proud Puerto Rican, and even though Herrera is a tough challenger, there is no way I'm losing in Puerto Rico. This is definitely one of the most important bouts of my professional career for my whole family. I can't wait for March 15."
"I've waited a long time for a fight like this, and while I know Garcia is the favorite, I won't be underestimated," said Herrera, who dispatched world champion Ruslan Provodnikov in 2011. "I love the underdog role and I'm going to shock the world on March 15."
"I had a good year in 2013, but 2014 is going to be my biggest and best yet," said Wilder, the promising heavyweight who has knocked out all of his 30 opponents in his six year pro career. "It all starts with Malik Scott, and I respect his skill and experience, but by the end of the night, this is business."
"You can't deny what Wilder's done in the ring so far, and he's got a bright future," said Scott, an experienced heavyweight out of Philadelphia. "But we have to put our friendship aside on March 15, and it's going to be a great fight."
"Danny Garcia and his father Angel have told me how much that a fight in Puerto Rico would mean to them, and it's going to be an emotional night for them," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "When you mix Danny's desire to put on a great performance in Puerto Rico and Mauricio Herrera's hunger for a world title together, this is going to be a fight and night to remember. Plus, we have the most exciting heavyweight in the world, Deontay Wilder, taking on a tough challenger in Malik Scott. If Deontay wins this fight, he can't be denied much longer for a world title fight."
"In this event, we have two excellent matchups and dramatic storylines that are sure to make great television," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. "Danny Garcia, the man to beat at 140 pounds, making his debut in Puerto Rico, plus another step up in competition for Deontay Wilder, a man who carries the hopes those waiting for the next great American heavyweight champion, make this the quintessential SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event."
"We are so happy to start this business relation with Golden Boy Promotions and work again along with Showtime. This is a great show with a World Championship fight in Puerto Rico and a Puerto Rican champion as Danny Garcia in his parents' country," said Peter Rivera, Vice-President of PR Best Boxing Promotions.
Garcia vs. Herrera,a 12-round Super Lightweight Championship fight for Garcia's WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine titles, taking place Saturday, March 15 at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Swift Promotions in association with PR Best Boxing and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. This event will be televised live on SHOWTIME and can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP).
The number one-rated super lightweight boxer in the world today, WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine World Champion Danny "Swift" Garcia (27-0, 16 KO's) has made a steady rise from prospect to contender to boxing superstar over the last few years. In the time since his WBC Super Lightweight title-winning effort against Erik "El Terrible" Morales in 2012, he's made his case for a spot on the pound-for-pound list. Owner of victories over Amir "King" Khan, Zab "Super" Judah, Kendall Holt and Lucas "The Machine" Matthysse, the undefeated 25-year-old Garcia begins his 2014 campaign in Puerto Rico against Mauricio Herrera.
Fighting out of Riverside, Calif., Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 KO's) was one of the sport's most underrated competitors on his way up the 140-pound ladder, but when he defeated current WBO junior welterweight world champion Ruslan Provodnikov in January of 2011, the word was out on this super lightweight secret weapon. Mike Dallas Jr., Ji-Hoon Kim and Miguel Angel Huerta have also fallen against the 33-year-old veteran, and on March 15, he will get his long-awaited shot at a world championship.
The top American heavyweight in the world today, 28-year-old Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder (30-0, 30 KO's) is also the most feared fighter in the division, having ended all 30 of his pro fights via knockout, 17 in the first round. In 2013, the 2008 U.S. Olympic Bronze medalist made his move on the Top 10, knocking out Audley Harrison, Siarhei Liakhovich and Nicolai Firtha. On March 15, Tuscaloosa, Alabama's Wilder hopes to move a step closer to a world title opportunity by beating Malik Scott.
Philadelphia's Malik Scott (36-1-1, 13 KO's) is a skilled boxer who has been among the best heavyweights in the world for the majority of his nearly 14 year pro career, and, in Wilder, he gets the fight he's been seeking for a long time. Still in his prime at 33, the only blemishes on Scott's record are a controversial loss to Dereck Chisora and an equally disputed draw with Vyacheslav Glazkov. Against Wilder, he promises to leave no doubt that he is the better fighter.
A stellar member of the exclusive club of world champions from Puerto Rico, Caguas' Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30 KO's) is an all-action fighter who held WBO Titles at 122 and 126 pounds. Owner of a 2008 victory over Ponce De Leon as well as wins in two of his last three bouts, the 30-year-old southpaw hopes that a win on March 15 will put him back in the title picture.
Looking to avenge his 2008 loss to Lopez, a defeat that cost him his WBO Super Bantamweight title, Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico's Daniel Ponce de León (45-5, 35 KO's)is more motivated than ever to even the score with the Puerto Rican star. Since their first bout, the 33-year-old Ponce De Leon has won 11 of 14 bouts, earning the WBC Featherweight Title as well. In his most recent bout, he defeated Joksan Hernandez on Nov. 16, 2013.
A full undercard will be announced shortly.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?