By Matthew Hurley: Although I’ve been critical of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather – Saul Alvarez superfight in September, most of my consternation was based on the possibility of yet another 12 round boxing lesson from Money Mayweather, shakily propped up by yet another tedious undercard. So many of us now have to pick and choose what PPV to get because it has become almost impossible to shell out the endless bucks for all the drivel we’re usually served.
But Golden Boy Promotions threw in a game changer and suddenly this card became much more intriguing and worthy of the hefty price tag.
The announcement that Lucas Matthysse and Danny Garcia will fight on the undercard was met with universal praise from anyone with even a passing interest in boxing. Matthysee and Garcia, two tremendously exciting fighters with brutal knockout power, is almost a sure thing to overshadow the main event. It’s the type of fight that had both men had greater name recognition at this stage of their careers it would be a superfight all on its own.
Now a pay-per-view fight party with some friends wary of boxing has just the bout on the undercard to turn them around. And even if Mayweather – Alvarez turns into a dud, at least the buildup will be exciting.
Matthysee, a vicious body puncher with the ability to end a fight with one shot, is coming off a career defining performance against the talented Lamont Peterson in May. It was his sixth consecutive stoppage victory and served notice to everyone in and around the 140 pound limit that Lucas Matthysee is a beast hell-bent on knocking out everyone in his path.
His malevolent ring persona belies a very shy person outside the ropes whose road to this opportunity seemed only appreciated by hardcore boxing fans. Matthysee simply punched his way to prominence and the knockout of Peterson woke up any of those still not paying attention.
The man is excitement personified and now he will swap punches with a less experienced but equally hungry young lion in Danny Garcia. Although Garcia is not quite as technically sound as Matthysee he hits just as hard and is the slightly bigger man, standing two inches taller.
His demolition of Erik Morales in their rematch, a fight he really shouldn’t have had to go through with after Erik tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, was a watershed moment. Garcia decided to take the fight and he made the legendary veteran pay for his transgression, nearly decapitating him in the fourth round.
He followed that with an exciting decision victory over the enigmatic but perpetually dangerous Zab Judah. Garcia took all of Judah’s bombs and refused to fall. His knockout power was a given, but the resilience and will to win he showed against Judah furthered his cause as the best junior welterweight in the division.
This is a fight fan’s dream match becoming a reality.
Golden Boy then tossed in Ishe Smith – Carlos Molina and Ashley Theophane – Pablo Cesar Cano for good measure and suddenly September 14th has become an early Christmas present for boxing fans. Everyone involved is to be commended. And how often do long suffering fight fans get to say that? This is how boxing should be.
This is how boxing was when I was growing up in the 1980s. Ultimately boxing fans got what they wanted division to division. And that’s not just some cranky forty-three year old lamenting the past and coating it in gold, flaws and all. It’s a fact.
Now if only both Golden Boy and Top Rank Promotions would stop acting like the spoiled little brat on the playground who takes his ball home when things don’t go his way, boxing might just right itself.
But maybe that’s asking too much at this time. All that matters is that on September 14th boxing will present a grand spectacle for all to see and everyone – from non-fans forced to watch, marginal fans, jaded fans to the obsessive fans of the sport will get their money’s worth just from Garcia – Matthysee. Hopefully Mayweather – Alvarez will be half as good. If it is, this show could be one of the best boxing promotions put on in quite a long time.
Matthew Hurley is a full time member of Boxing Writers Association of America. His first book on boxing, Ringside Reflections, can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com.