Danny Garcia wasn't at his best tonight, and Mauricio Herrera was. The underdog from Riverside, California, came to fight, came to win, and nearly pulled it off. In the end, Garcia won a disputed majority decision on scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 114-114. BLH had it 114-114, and many fans, media, and observers felt that Herrera deserved the win, including Showtime's commentators.
Garcia (28-0, 16 KO) looked a little off from the get-go, much of that credit to Herrera (20-4, 7 KO), who disrupted Garcia's timing constantly with odd angles, an effective jab, good body work, and some timely clinching. Garcia's left hook -- his best punch -- just wasn't a factor until the middle rounds, and even then it wasn't the weapon it has usually been.
Garcia leaves his first fight in Puerto Rico with mixed results. He got the win, but the circumstances aren't great. The WBC had open scoring in effect, though they kept announcing the scores a full round after it mattered -- after round five for the first four, after round nine for the first eight. And both times, it was clear that Garcia was going to win the fight, and that Herrera, lacking big power, really couldn't do much about it, no matter how well he fought.
Garcia credited Herrera with a strong effort and a good fight, but of course, felt he won the bout. "He's a crafty veteran, and I know every time I step into the ring, every contender I fight wants what I got. He's a good fighter and it was a good challenge," Garcia told Showtime's Jim Gray.
"I just had to make adjustments, I just had to push the fight," Garcia continued. "I'm a true champion. I make adjustments."
Herrera, too, felt he deserved the win, but he handled his loss -- arguably his getting the shaft -- with extreme dignity.
"I felt I won the fight. I felt I landed more punches," Herrera said to Gray. "A lot of his shots -- the crowd was screaming when they weren't landing. I thought it was close, but I won the fight."
"Thank you so much," Herrera said, and added praise for the Puerto Rican fans and the "beautiful island."
His final words in the ring: "Give me another chance."