Danny Garcia’s career at 147 pounds started as well as he could have hoped for. So far he’s 1-for-1 with a stoppage of Paulie Malignaggi. You can’t win ‘em all unless you win the first one.
Malignaggi is a former champion at 140 and 147, and turning in the kind of performance Danny Garcia did, where he was never in any serious danger, was an opening salvo, a statement to the rest of the division.
Now the Philadelphia native takes on Robert Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) on January 23 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (Fox, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) in another match with a former champ. It’s your classic unstoppable force-immovable object scenario, where the powerful Garcia (31-0, 18 KOs) has to solve the rugged Guerrero if he wants to move up the ladder in the competitive 147-pound ranks.
“I think a good fight can take me to the next level,” Garcia said, “to be more seasoned at the 147-pound weight class. But I’m ready for whatever, for anybody at 147.”
Guerrero, meanwhile, needs to turn in a striking performance of his own. His last four fights have been a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., a life-or-death war with Yoshihiro Kamegai that ended in victory, a vicious 12-round defeat against Keith Thurman and a surprisingly taut 10-round split decision over Aron Martinez.
It’s a big crossroads fight for both guys, and an early indicator of what’s to come in the weight class this year. And because of that, at least one 147-pounder is already taking a close look at this contest—sensing, correctly, that this fight is just the start of a long struggle among a host of competitive suitors for the top spot in a wide-open division following Mayweather's departure.
Andre Berto, who like Guerrero failed to solve Mayweather his last time out, has already said that he’d like to face the winner of Garcia-Guerrero.
Garcia, however, dismissed the two-time champion's challenge.
“No disrespect, but who is Berto to call people out?” Garcia asked. “It is what it is with me. I’ll fight anybody, but didn’t Robert Guerrero already beat him? I’m fighting somebody who beat him.”
Indeed, Guerrero won a convincing 12-round decision over Berto in 2012. That goes to show the depth of fighters sniffing around the division, and the feeding frenzy that’s going to follow any big fight among 147-pounders this year. And that’s OK with Garcia.
“I’m just preparing for Guerrero and anything that’s down in the future is up to [my team],” he said.
For complete coverage of Garcia vs Guerrero, make sure to check out our fight page.