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Garcia decisions Herrera; Lopez halts De Leon; Wilder destroys Scott

(Photo credit: Tom Casino/Showtime) In a very close fight that was difficult to score, WBA/WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia 28-0, 16 KO’s) defeated the hard as nails challenger Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KO’s) by a 12 round majority decision tonight at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. It was not a good performance from Garcia, because he failed to make adjustments to Herrera’s fighting style and he got picked apart in the last half of the fight.

I personally scored the fight for Herrera by four rounds, but Garcia getting the decision makes sense because of the venue. Herrera wasn’t going to win this fight without knocking Garcia out to doing something spectacular like knocking Garcia down 3-4 times. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-112, 116-112.

Like in his last fight, Garcia did a fair amount of fouling in the form of low blows and rabbit punches. The referee didn’t do anything about any of the fouls though, so Herrera had to put up with it.

In the last four rounds, Garcia did a lot of holding when he should have been punching. He would fight briefly, but when Herrera would come on, Garcia would frequently backup and start holding. I couldn’t give him rounds with these stalling tactics because this is the same thing that Garcia did in his last fight against Lucas Matthysse to stall out the last 6 rounds.

After the fight, Garcia blamed his poor performance on his struggles to make the 140 lb weight limit, and he said he might move up in weight to the welterweight division.

Garcia may have got the win, but the performance was too poor and the decision too controversial for him to get the Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight this September. Garcia is going to need to beat someone like Amir Khan in September in order to get a fight against Mayweather.

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In another controversial fight on the card, heavyweight Deontay Wilder (31-0, 31 KO’s) halted Malik Scott (36-2-1, 13 KO’s) by a 1st round TKO. The outcome was controversial because Deontay hit Scott with what looked like a slapping left hook to the side of the head following by a right hand that was blocked. Scott fell down after the right connected to his gloves, and he wasn’t able to get back up. The crowd booed the stoppage because they saw Scott being decked by a weak-looking left hook.

It might have been a good shot that Scott was hit with, but it didn’t look like a good shot. What further complicates the matter is that Scott and Wilder are good friends. And at the weigh-in last Friday, Scott wore a bag over his head during the stare down. The impression that many boxing fans got from that incident was that Malik wasn’t going to try hard to win the fight.

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In off TV results, Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3, 31 KO’s) defeated Daniel Ponce De Leon (45-6, 35 KO’s) by a 2nd round stoppage. De Leon dominated the 1st round of action by tagging Lopez with left hands for the entire round. In the 2nd, De Leon connected with a left to the head that sent Lopez down on the canvas in what appeared to be a flash knockdown. De Leon made the mistake of thinking that Lopez was actually hurt, and he rushed forward after he got back up and threw a flurry of shots.

De Leon caught Lopez with a couple of big punches that got his attention. However, while trying to blast him out, De Leon walked into a hard right hook to the head that put him down on the canvas. It was an identical shot that Lopez used to knock De Leon out in their previous fight in 2008. After De Leon got back to his feet, Lopez unloaded on him with a flurry of punches that put him down for the second time in the round.

De Leon then staggered to his feet and let the referee know that he was ready to resume fighting. Lopez then flurried on De Leon while he had his back to the ropes, prompting referee Luis Pabon to stop the fight. De Leon protested the stoppage, but he wasn’t going to be able to survive the round because he was too hurt and Lopez was throwing punches at lightning speed.

This was best shape I’ve seen Lopez in for quite some time. He didn’t look weight drained like he’s been in the recent past, and that seemed to make a difference tonight. He wasn’t going to let himself get beaten in front of his home fans.

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Middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs (27-1, 24 KO’s) looked great in blowing out Milton Nunez (26-10-1, 24 KO’s) by a 1st round TKO. Jacobs put Nunez down several times in the round and that led to the referee stooping the fight.