March 21, 2014

KO Digest Scoring and Analysis of Danny Garcia vs Mauricio Herrera

Was the fix in the Main or co-main?
By Jeffrey Freeman -- One fan's close fight is another fan's robbery.

Such is the way of the world in a sport as subjective as boxing. Barring a knockout or some other premature ending, all fights are decided by the opinions of fellow human beings seated ringside. We call them judges but it's not just these opinions that get voiced when fights are close and when passions run deep. Last weekend in Puerto Rico on Showtime, Philadelphia's Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KO's) retained his World Junior Welterweight Championship with a highly disputed majority decision (116-112, 116-112, and 114-114) over Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 KO's) in which the controversial WBC policy of "open scoring" was in effect. What this meant was that the scores of the fight were revealed after the 4th and 8th rounds had been completed.

Nobody in attendance should have been terribly surprised to learn that Garcia was ahead on the cards, this being a "homecoming" title defense on the island of his parent's birth. For the record, KO Digest scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Garcia. Due to fan outrage and myriad cries of robbery, I have decided to have a second look, which I must say goes against my long-standing policy of scoring a fight once on its first live viewing and then sticking with that result. In any case, I have thrown out my original score pad from that night. Honestly, I do not remember which rounds I originally gave to who and I am ready to look at the fight again and re-score it. With that said, I now thrown caution (and bias) to the wind and whatever happens, happens. Every round will be looked at (again) very closely and very fairly and no effort will be made to "fix" the result or create one favorable to me or my original score.

Closely matched competitors
Round 1: Battle of the jabs early while Garcia looks for a home for the left which Herrera avoided more than a few times throughout the round. A pair of straight right hands from Garcia strafed Herrera on the ropes. Herrera found a home for his jab to the stomach of Garcia. Close opening round goes to Garcia 10-9

Round 2: Garcia continues his struggle to land the left hook while Herrera keeps up his jab attack to the midsection of Garcia. A sweeping right hand from Herrera lands to the face of Garcia at the mid way point in the round. Herrera is moving well and jabbing well and Garcia looks unable to set up his best punches. A left jab in close snaps back the head of Garcia. The challenger punctuates a good round by going to the body down the stretch while Garcia missed again and again with his left hook. Herrera wins the round 10-9. 

Round 3: Lead right hand to the head from Herrera to open the round. Herrera is beating Garcia to the punch and that includes a nice left hook to the chops as well as most of the jabs in this round. Herrera complains about an obvious low blow from Garcia and then goes right back to disrupting his offense by punching and moving out of range or clinching when he can't back up safely after punching. Herrera wins the round 10-9  

Round 4: Herrera is busy to start the round with jabs up and downstairs. Sloppy clinches muddle the fight's flow and make it difficult to interpret the action. What was clear to see was a ripping left to the body from Garcia followed by a straight right hand down the middle that lands flush on the chin of Herrera. The jabs of both fighters hit and miss with equal frequency in the second half of the round which Garcia wins on the strength of his power punching 10-9 

Garcia was puzzled by Herrera
Round 5: Herrera immediately beats Garcia to the jab to open the round and then lands a thudding right hand flush to take control of it. Garcia shows his frustration at the body attack of Herrera when in fact it's Garcia who has strayed most south in this fight so far. A sweeping left hook catches Garcia on the chin backing up. Easy round to score based on superior ring generalship illustrated in the fact that Herrera is fighting his fight, making Garcia miss with his money punch, and so Herrera wins the round 10-9  

Round 6: The official judges score totals after four rounds are read aloud in Spanish. No surprise, Garcia is leading 38-38, 40-36, 39-37. Herrera grabs the initiative in the round by landing a left hook. Garcia tries to attack but his punches are either too slow, or too inaccurate. Simply put, Garcia is having a very hard time landing anything solid but he does rip a nice left to the body while Herrera stood in front of him. Herrera closes the round with a flush lead left jab but it's not enough to steal a very close stanza. Garcia wins it 10-9

Round 7: Herrera lands a left hook to open the round and that just has to frustrate Garcia because he can't seem to get his on target at all. Garcia is backing up looking for counters and Herrera is pushing the fight while avoiding most of them them. Herrera's jab is also more accurate which sets him up nicely for the stuff he is outworking Garcia with on the inside, and in clinches. Garcia lands his best jab of the fight and it snaps Herrera's head back. In a close round, Garcia finally finds a spot for a few left hooks and this energizes the crowd and wins the round 10-9 for Swift.

Garcia bleeds while Herrera attacks
Round 8: Garcia looks to have made an adjustment for avoiding the left hook but not one for landing it. Herrera times a lead right hand and Garcia eats it with his face. Garcia is beginning to look a bit weary and a bit unsure of himself as the crowd begins to boo. As Herrera walks down Garcia and occasionally puts him in the corner, the champion lands his left hands to the only place he can put them, the body of Herrera. Garcia flashes a flurry to close the round but it's not enough to take it. Herrera round 10-9  

Round 9:  Herrera again lands a left hook to open the round, an exercise in irony for sure.  A booming overhand right from Herrera lands and sends Garcia slightly off balance in his own effort to counter. More jabs from Herrera set up another right hand and Herrera mixes in the right uppercut on the inside. Another big right hand from Herrera draws blood from the nose of Garcia and backs him into the ropes where Herrera roughs him up and does quality pro work with both hands up and down. Garcia tries to rally but it falls short.  
Herrera wins the round 10-9

Round 10: Open scoring after eight rounds announced as 78-74, 77-75 for Garcia and 77-75 for Herrera. Glove tap to open the round, a relief for Garcia who takes to backing up immediately while Herrera again continues to push the fight and pick his man apart. Lead right hand from Herrera is an eye catching punch and Garcia appears more than willing to clinch and maul in response. Quick exchange of punches by both is highlighted by another successful Herrera left hook. Little firefights are being won by Herrera and it is Garcia who initiates the clinches after being hit.  
Another round for Herrera 10-9   

Round 11: Garcia is again making wind with his left hook as it consistently sails over the head of Herrera or harmlessly in front of his face. Perhaps emboldened by this, Herrera stands still in front of Garcia with his back not too far off the ropes which allows Garcia to do some of his best work. Herrera moves to the middle of the ring for the last minute where he acts like a statue and gets hit for his troubles. Garcia wins the 11th round 10-9

Homecoming close call for Danny and Daddy
Round 12: Herrera is back in more of an attack mode to start the final round and he is keeping Garcia's back on the ropes. Garcia pushed off and landed a decent left hook but it wasn't enough to disrupt the offensive output of Herrera who lands a nice right hand over the top in an effort to close the show strong. Garcia landed a nice one-two combo but Herrera walked through it and Garcia's back was on the ropes again from the pressure of Herrera. Another clean left hook from Herrera lands while Garcia tries to blitz his way towards winning the last round. Two straight right hands and two left hooks from Herrera punctuate the round and he is on the attack with a flush jab to the face when the bell rings. Herrera wins the 12th round 10-9

Official Scores: 116-112, 116-112, and 114-114 in favor of Danny "Swift" Garcia to retain his world title.

KO Digest scores the fight 115-113 in favor of Mauricio Herrera