The former two-division world champ easily outpoints Redkach in his ring return Saturday night on SHOWTIME.
Danny Garcia ought to change his nickname from “Swift” to “The Textbook.”
The Philadelphia welterweight doesn’t do anything spectacular, though he doesn’t do anything foolish, either. His punches are thrown the way they’re supposed to be. His defense is airtight. His movement is economical.
And his demeanor is always steady—even in front of a tongue-wagging fighter with blinding, fluorescent green hair like Ivan Redkach.
It didn’t matter.
Garcia walked through Redkach as if the Ukrainian southpaw wasn’t there Saturday night at Barclays Center on Showtime Championship Boxing, winning an easy 12-round unanimous decision.
Judges Tony Paolillo (118-110), Glenn Feldman (117-111) and Don Trella (117-111) confirmed it for Garcia.
“I thought the referee was gonna stop it because I felt like I was punishing him,” Garcia said. “He’s a tough guy, he hung in there, I wanted to get the KO, but I didn’t get it. I feel like I boxed smart, and I feel like that’s what I needed after this layoff. I really wanted the knockout bad, but I’ll accept this.
“I’m not gonna lie, I felt good, but I didn’t feel my best. I did lose a lot of weight for this fight, so maybe that played a factor. From a long layoff, and just losing so much weight. I lost about 25 pounds in eight weeks.”
It was a case where if you saw one round, you saw them all.
The reddish hue of Redkach’s face matched his colorful hair and glittering green trunks.
Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) showed great angles and landed 195/568 total punches (34%), while Redkach wasn’t even close, connecting on 88/578 total shots (15%).
Garcia came forward, countered with his right and had Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs) backing up throughout most of the fight. Redkach’s best round was the 10th, landing a few shots on Garcia, but that changed in the 11th, when “Swift” rediscovered his flow.
There were some moments in the middle rounds when Garcia stepped on the gas and looked like he was going to take Redkach out. But to the southpaw’s credit, he sustained Garcia’s assault.
Between rounds, Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer, implored his son to finish Redkach, who did come on the last three rounds.
“This was very good experience for me,” Redkach said. “He never had me hurt and I was able to learn a lot. I'm thankful to be in this position that my team put me in and I'm going to keep growing from here.
“I'm going to get back in the gym and get stronger and better. I'm thankful for the experience against Danny Garcia. I'm going to be back and be much better.”
Redkach did bite Garcia on the left shoulder during a clinch in the eighth round. Redkach backed away and told Garcia, “Mike Tyson,” and Garcia turned to referee Benjy Esteves that he was bitten.
“He bit me. He said ‘Mike Tyson’ when he bit me,” Garcia said. “I said, ‘Ref, he bit me.’ I thought I needed stitches or something. That’s my first time ever getting bit in a fight. Things happen though. I’ve been in a street fight before, so I did it all.”
What the future holds for “Swift” in 2020 is anyone’s guess. There is Errol Spence Jr. or Manny Pacquiao out there.
“I promised myself that I'm going to stay in the gym now and stay in shape. I felt regular, but then when I got on the scale a few weeks ago, I was like ‘Woah.’ So maybe that played a factor, maybe it didn’t. I make no excuses. I didn’t feel my best, but I felt good.
“Either or (Spence or Pacquiao) either of those fights I would like to have. My style looks great with both fighters.”
The “new” Jarrett Hurd debuts with a win over Francisco Santana
Jarrett Hurd knew. He could hear it. The crowd let him know that they weren’t too crazy about this new version of “Swift.”
But Hurd (24-1, 17 KOs) couldn’t help but be pleased with the result.
Working under new trainer Kay Koroma, Hurd passed his first trial in this experiment of movement, using his jab and using distance with an easy 10-round victory at a 156-pound catchweight over Francisco Santana (25-9-1, 12 KOs).
It might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing type of banging Hurd’s fans have come accustomed to seeing, but Hurd seemed satisfied, fighting for the first time since last May, when he lost the WBA and IBF 154-pound belts.
“We came out here and did what we wanted to do,” Hurd said. “The crowd didn't love it, but you gotta understand, I got the unanimous decision and I did what I wanted to do. There was definitely no frustration. We didn’t want to go toe to toe and we didn’t want to make this a risky fight.
“We’ve moved on from the Julian Williams fight. We came out here, we had a long lay-off and we got the job done.”
Hurd landed 233/684 total punches (34%) and 80/356 jabs (22%), to Santana’s 95/737 total and scant 5/219 jabs (2%).
The “old version” Hurd was bound to surface, which it did in the fifth, when he stood there with Santana in the middle of the ring and the two slugged it out. Hurd landed a right uppercut, jolting Santana’s head back.
In the seventh, the fighters were greeted with a smattering of boos as the round closed.
By then, it didn’t matter.
Hurd put the exclamation point on it with a right uppercut in the last 10 seconds of the 10th for the only knockdown of the fight.
“We want the belts. We want the best. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the next move, but we want the belts.”
Stephen Fulton Jr. dominates Arnold Khegai
Stephen Fulton wouldn’t be pulled in. Arnold Khegai tried to make it a street fight. He tapped Fulton during breaks. He hit Fulton late. Khegai hit him around the waistline. He hit Fulton behind his head.
Still, Fulton stayed measured and on course.
Behind a consistent, steady jab, Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) put on a great display of boxing, outclassing Khegai (16-1-1, 10 KOs) in 12-round super bantamweight bout, winning by scores of 117-111 on the scorecards of judges Waleska Roldan and Frank Lombardi, and a 116-112 tally by John McKaie.
Roldan and Lombardi had Fulton winning five of the last six rounds.
Fulton landed 182/535 total punches (34%) to Khegai’s 123/649 (19%). But it was Fulton’s effective jab that was the difference. Fulton landed 83/328 jabs (25%) to Khegai’s mere 28/222 (13%).
Khegai became the seventh undefeated fighter that Fulton was beaten.
“I felt great against a tough opponent,” Fulton said. “I stayed on my boxing, kept him off his game and pulled a victory out. I knew he was a rough and tumble customer, so I just had to keep my composure.
“It feels good to get this win. We've been through tough times and fought tough opponents. I'm proud of my team for staying together. We're Philly strong.”
Early on, it was Khegai playing the role of stalker, forcing Fulton backwards. Fulton made him pay on occasion with the jab as Khegai charged ahead. Khegai tried going to the body, and there were a few times he landed.
But Fulton, again behind the jab, pecked away at Khegai’s face. Every time Khegai got close, “Cool Boy Steph” grabbed and held.
“That's what I do. I use my jab,” Fulton said afterward. “I tried to utilize the jab all night and win the fight behind the jab. I showed that I'm ready for a world title next. I stayed smart and kept boxing. I used my jab in every round and that's why I pulled the victory out.”
Welts began building under Khegai’s eyes after two rounds.
In the third, Fulton’s jab was that much more consistent. He used it as a great tool to keep Khegai away. With :39 left in the third, Khegai threw Fulton down to the canvas, and referee Steve Willis wisely stepped in, calmed Fulton down and warned Khegai.
Sensing he was losing on the scorecard, Khegai opened up, going after Fulton in the 11th, which was the first time Khegai reached Round 11. But the attack was short lived. It was Khegai’s best round since the fourth.
In between Rounds 11 and 12, Willis warned Khegai’s corner about some of Khegai’s tactics.
With 2:35 left in the fight, Khegai landed a big right that Fulton took. Fulton stayed within himself, remaining calm in his boxing bubble. And by the middle of the round, Fulton regained his cadence.
“I want that world title. I'm going to train even harder for my next performance so if I have to dog out it out even more, I'll be ready.”
On the non-televised undercard, welterweight Keeshawn Williams (7-0-1, 2 KOs) beat wild-swinging Gaku Takahashi (16-11-1, 8 KOs) by eight-round, unanimous decision. In a six-round middleweight fight, Lorenzo Simpson (7-0, 4 KOs) beat Antonio Hernandez (2-12-1) by unanimous decision. Heavyweight Steven Torres (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Dakota Witkopf (1-2, 1 KO) at 1:28 of a scheduled four-rounder in the first fight of the night.
For a closer look at Garcia vs Redkach, check out our fight night page.