One former champion down, another one on deck. Welcome to the 147-pound division, Danny Garcia.
Garcia, a onetime 140-pound titleholder who made his 147-pound debut in August against Paulie Malignaggi, will face another stiff test in the division when he draws former two-division champ Robert Guerrero on January 23 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). The matchup of Latino fighters—Garcia is of Puerto Rican decent; Guerrero is Mexican-American—headlines the first of three prime-time Premier Boxing Champions cards schedueld to air on Fox Sports in 2016.
“I’m excited to be fighting in prime time on Fox and to get back in the ring in such a big way,” Garcia said. “I know people are going to say this is a Puerto Rico vs. Mexico matchup, but I fight for all Latinos and I have the fan-friendly style to back it up.
“Guerrero comes to fight, and he’s faced the best in the sport. This is a huge opportunity for me to show why I’m a star, and there’s no better place to do that than in Los Angeles, where stars are born.”
In the Malignaggi matchup, Danny Garcia (31-0, 18 KOs) fought a patient fight, wearing down his veteran opponent over the course of eight rounds before exploding in the ninth to force referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to step in and stop it.
It was an auspicious performance for Garcia, who ended his time at 140 with a victory over Mauricio Herrera in March 2014, followed by catchweight wins over Rod Salka (August 2014) and Lamont Peterson (April 2015) before jumping up in weight to battle Malignaggi.
Robert Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) will be returning to the ring for the first time since his split-decision victory over journeyman Aron Martinez in June. It was a tough fight for Guerrero, who was knocked down in the fourth round, but he battled back during the second half to eke out the win, which followed a unanimous-decision loss to Keith Thurman in March.
While Garcia will be looking to keep his perfect record intact, Guerrero will be attempting to put together back-to-back victories for the first time since 2012 when he beat Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto to cap a 15-fight winning streak.
“If there ever was a fight that defined the word ‘war,' it’s this fight,” Guerrero said. “I guarantee this is going to be a historic fight. A Mexican-American vs. a Puerto Rican-American, it's a bitter rivalry.
"Danny Garcia is a great champion, and I know we’re going to put on a tremendous show January 23. It’s going to be fireworks—and I can’t wait!”