The five wins that define Danny Garcia’s career

What does Danny Garcia’s current career résumé tell us about how good he really is? His staunchest supporters, led by his boisterous father, Angel, will tell you that he is among the elite fighters in the sport. His detractors say that he’s vastly overrated.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

The 31-year-old Philadelphia native has had a very productive and lucrative run as a professional prizefighter, battling some of the best in the business since his career began in 2007. He was a unified champion at junior welterweight, and captured a belt at welterweight, as well.

As Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) prepares to face Ivan Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, let’s take a look back at the five victories that define his career and tell us the most about the type of fighter he really is:


Amir Khan

4th Round TKO | July, 14, 2012 (Las Vegas, Nevada)

While Garcia came into this bout as the WBC 140-pound champion after defeating Erik Morales for his first world title four months earlier, many didn’t believe he had what it took to overcome the speed and athleticism of Amir Khan.

Khan’s quick hands and blazing combinations helped him dominate the early stages. Garcia was beaten to the punch consistently and sustained a cut over his right eye in the second round. But as Garcia started to gauge Khan’s pace and rapid movements, he began to time Khan with hard counterpunches of his own.

Late in the third round it, a lookaway left hook from Garcia sent Khan — who has since shown a proclivity for being sent to the canvas — down. At that point the momentum of the fight had irrevocably changed, and the crowd at the Mandalay Bay sensed that.

The fourth round began with Khan attempting to fight back, instead of retreating and attempting to recover. Garcia just calmly picked his spots, and with less than a minute to go in the round, a sweeping left hook had Khan on the floor for the second time. After Kenny Bayless administered the count, he made the decision to wave off the fight as Khan was on wobbly legs.

Garcia had pulled off the upset and became a unified champion at 140, as the WBA strap was also up for grabs. While he had come into this contest with victories over Morales, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell, it was his victory that truly solidified his status as a world-class prizefighter.


Lucas Matthysse

Unanimous decision | September 14, 2013 (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Coming into this fight, Matthysse, “The Machine” from Argentina, was one of the most feared fighters on the planet. After two highly controversial decision losses on American soil to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, who both suffered knockdowns, Matthysse had devastated the likes of the normally sturdy Humberto Soto in five rounds, the previously undefeated Ajose Olusegun (TKO10) and face-planted Mike Dallas in the first. Then, in what was thought to be a showdown of two elite 140 pounders, Matthysse dispatched the respected Lamont Peterson in three rounds.

So by the time this fight — the featured bout on the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez pay-per-view card — was made, many believed that Garcia would also be steamrolled by Matthysse. But not only did Garcia stand up to him, he outworked Matthysse with consistent combinations. By the seventh round he had closed Matthysse’s right eye with his left hooks.

Garcia controlled the pace, and his quicker hands allowed him to counter punch effectively. But this wasn’t a one-sided fight for the duration, as the heavy-handed Matthysse certainly had his moments and rallied late in the fight. At the beginning of the 11th round, a hard right hand knocked Garcia’s mouthpiece out of his mouth and out of the ring. But Garcia turned the tide late in the stanza by scoring a knockdown of Matthysse while he was awkwardly caught up on the ropes.

There was a point deduction from Garcia in the 12th for low blows, but he had built enough of a cushion to win by the scores of 114-112 (twice) and 115-111. Garcia had slayed the division’s boogeyman, and on this night, he didn’t just show that he was talented, but also proved his toughness.


Zab Judah

Unanimous decision | April 27, 2013 (Brooklyn, New York)

Garcia went into enemy territory as he faced Judah, born and bred in Brooklyn, at the Barclays Center. While Judah was 35, the feeling was that if he had anything left in the tank, he would show it on this night in front of a heavily partisan crowd.

This fight was a spirited affair that saw Judah flash his trademark speed from his southpaw stance as he darted in and out. Garcia was the stronger and steadier boxer, though, as he fought at a controlled and measured pace.

In the eighth round, a right-hand counter sent Judah down, and Garcia asserted full control of the bout. But Judah didn’t go gently into the night, as he dusted himself off and then proceeded to have some big moments in Rounds 10 and 11, putting together rapid combinations as he valiantly rallied down the stretch.

It was too little, too late for Judah, as Garcia had his hand raised in victory by the scores of 116-111, 114-112 and 115-112, in what was a hard-fought and entertaining battle.


Erik Morales I

Unanimous decision | March 24, 2012 (Houston, Texas)

No, the great “El Terrible” wasn’t nearly the fighter he had been at his peak, but Morales, who was just a few months shy of his 36th birthday by the time he faced Garcia, was still a solid fighter. He was good enough to defeat a previously undefeated Pablo Cesar Cano in his previous outing in September 2011, and prior to that, in an even more eye-opening performance, he went blow for blow with a young, spry, Marcos Maidana, losing via majority decision.

The victory over Cano was for the vacant WBC 140-pound title, but as Morales missed weight, Garcia was the only one eligible to leave Houston with the belt as they squared off at the Reliant Arena.

While Garcia had every conceivable advantage, given the disparity in age (Garcia was just 24 when they met) and size — with Garcia being the natural junior welterweight — this was no walk in the park. He was able to stagger Morales in the third round with a right hand and had him reeling, but eventually, as the veteran settled into things, Morales was the very definition of veteran savvy as he started to strike Garcia with sneaky right hands in the middle rounds.

Every time Garcia attempted to ramp up the tempo, Morales would lay traps for his younger foe. Garcia was still the harder, heavier puncher, but there was still a price to pay. Garcia’s mouth was bloodied in the 11th round, but youth would be served as a left hook from Garcia sent Morales to the canvas.

It was a valuable experience for Garcia, who won by the tallies of 118-109 116-112 and 117-110. Seven months later they would face off again, and the second time around Garcia had a much easier time, stopping him in four rounds at the Barclays Center and ending Morales’ storied career.


Lamont Peterson

Majority decision | April 11, 2015 (Brooklyn, New York)

Despite both Garcia and Peterson coming into this contest as belt holders at junior welterweight, this bout was fought at a catchweight of 143 pounds. This particular victory, alongside his win against Mauricio Herrera, is among the most controversial and debated in Garcia’s career.

Early on in the fight, Peterson boxed on the outside and employed movement to a point that many believe it was a full-blown retreat for him. It was clear that Garcia had trouble dealing with Peterson’s strategy. In the middle rounds things settled down and Peterson became a bit more stationary.

It seemed like a close contest throughout, but in the late rounds, Peterson made the decision to start planting his feet and began to hurl right hands and left hooks which began to stun Garcia. The action picked up as both men let their hands go. Garcia got some good shots in, but Peterson seemed to land the majority of meaningful punches that drew loud reactions from the audience at Barclay Center. Peterson closed hard and with a flourish, but it was Garcia coming out the victor, with one judge scoring the bout 114-114 and two cards giving Garcia the nod 115-113.