When the welterweight fight between former two-division world titlist Danny Garcia and Ivan Redkach was made, anyone who says they did not expect Garcia to win by knockout in New York — aside, perhaps, from Redkach and his team — is probably being less than honest.
So although Garcia dominated on Saturday night in a (surprising) unanimous decision win (118-110, 117-111, 117-111) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it was a disappointment.
Garcia didn’t look all that good, despite bloodying and generally shellacking Redkach. But the way it played out was probably good for him in the long run.
“I felt like I won the fight. I won the fight easy. I wanted the knockout, I didn’t get it, and it is what it is,” Garcia said in the wee hours of Sunday morning at his postfight news conference. “It’s on to better and bigger things. Maybe this is the type of performance I needed for Manny Pacquiao or somebody else to fight me.”
The whole idea of the fight with Redkach in the first place was for Garcia to face a southpaw and set himself up to challenge for a welterweight world title in a much bigger fight with another southpaw, either the legendary Pacquiao or unified world titlist Errol Spence Jr.
Because Garcia looked average — and perhaps beatable by an elite opponent — he figured it was exactly the kind of performance that should help him lock down one of those big fights
“They’re probably going to look at it like, ‘Yo, Danny shoulda stopped him, Danny shoulda knocked him out,'” Garcia said. “But I won mostly every round. [Redkach is] a tough guy. He’s coming off three [wins in a row]. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime [for him], and he took it serious.”
Garcia was coming off a nine-month layoff, but he isn’t likely to wait nearly that long for his next assignment. A fight with Spence or Pacquiao, if it happens next for him, would likely be in the late spring or summer.
Before Spence flipped his Ferrari in a high-speed, one-car crash in October in his hometown of Dallas, the plan was for Spence to defend his belts against Garcia on Saturday night. After Spence edged Shawn Porter by split decision to unify two titles in September, Garcia and Spence were in the ring together talking up the showdown. But a few weeks later, Spence was in the car accident, and the fight was never officially announced.
Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) has said that when he returns he has no plans for a tuneup fight. He wants a legit opponent, and Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs), who has won titles at welterweight and junior welterweight and whose only losses came by close decisions to Porter and Keith Thurman, fits the bill.
Then there is eight-division world champion Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), who turned 41 last month but looked awfully fresh in a decision win over Thurman to take his title last July. Pacquiao is handling his duties as a senator in the Philippines at the moment but plans to be back soon, with Garcia a strong candidate for the assignment.
“The Senator still looking at April, June or July for a return to the ring. Danny Garcia is on the short list,” Pacquiao right-hand man Sean Gibbons, the CEO of MP Promotions, texted to ESPN on Monday morning.
If Garcia is likely going to get one of those fights, he and his team felt it was imperative for him to prepare by facing a left-hander, which he has only done a few times as a pro.
“Definitely when you’re fighting a southpaw, it gives you that look, it gives you those slick punches, you pivot different ways, punches come from different angles,” Garcia said while explaining why Redkach was picked as his opponent.
But even though Garcia got in rounds with a lefty and probably helped set himself up for something bigger, he was not thrilled with his performance.
“For some odd reason, I didn’t feel like I had enough energy to step on the gas in the late rounds,” Garcia acknowledged. “My foot was kind of like burning. Come to find out when I took my shoe off, half of my foot is like peeled back. That’s the problem when you have six toes.”
Yes, Garcia has six appendages on his right foot. He said that from the seventh round on, he felt a severe burning sensation in his foot because his six toes do not allow for his foot to fit properly inside his boxing boot.
“If any sneaker company wants to sponsor me [and] help me get a nice little shoe to get my foot right,” Garcia said with a laugh just before placing his bloody, sock-covered foot on the dais in the interview room to show it off to the assembled media. “Other than that, I felt good. I had a nine-month layoff, but there’s no excuses.”
Despite the issues, Garcia still got the job done, as he usually does, even if it wasn’t pretty. And it should result in a fight with Pacquiao or Spence, two matchups that are worthy of attention from boxing fans.
“For me to do 12 rounds and my next fight should be a southpaw, I think that’s great for me because my eyes are gonna be even sharper the second time,” Garcia said. “I’m going right back to a southpaw — if those fights happen.”