Danny Garcia’s passive, disinterested performance against Keith Thurman on March 4 shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Those closely following his career may have hoped that such a high profile, high stakes bout would awaken the dormant competitor in him, but the fact that it did not is no shocker.
Garcia hasn’t looked like a boxer with interest in boxing for a long time now, at least since he outboxed Lucas Matthysse back in September of 2013 on the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard.
A case could be made that “Swift” should’ve lost twice in the six pre-Thurman fights since the Matthysse bout. Decision wins over Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson were dubious, at best, and Team Garcia can hardly brag about wins over no-hopers Rod Salka and Samuel Vargas or faded Paulie Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero during that six-fight stretch.
The fighter from Philadelphia has not looked at all like a “Philly” fighter. His efforts suggest a certain sense of entitlement, like his mere presence should be enough to give him a win. He often seems to be going through the motions to get his paycheck so he can get back to what really matters to him– his fashion line, celebrity friends, and being a niche-famous sports star.
Sure, Garcia has his weaknessess, and lateral movement has always been one of them. But Thurman’s movement against him was hardly an undecipherable riddle.
Thurman is not a smart boxer, no matter what dozens of expertise-less experts in the media write. “One Time” moved, but by no means boxed with anything resembling genius. It was well within Garcia’s skill set to cut off and cut down a Thurman who was simply moving to move.
A few early shots landed by Thurman may have discouraged Garcia from moving in and taking the risk of being hit again. But that doesn’t explain his similar passivity and general disinterest in most of his recent ring performances.
Garcia wasn’t befuddled or intimidated by Thurman as much as he was just being himself. Once a fighter loses his passion for the game and his skills begin to atrophy from the kinds of set-up bouts arranged for disinterested money makers, it’s almost impossible to return to form. If a unification bout with Thurman on CBS was not enough to light a fire in his belly, then he’s done. Garcia on cruise control is good enough to beat most fellow welterweights, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be able to get out of cruise control for contests where he needs to be there 100%.
If Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel, is on the ball and interested in being honest with his son/fighter, he’ll address the fact that 28-year-old Danny now fights with the intensity of a daydreaming high school kid in Geometry class. But, of course, Angel Garcia has his own issues to deal with.
For now, Danny Garcia will have to enter the loser’s bracket for anything resembling a lucrative payout, unless a Manny Pacquiao bout somehow miraculously pops up out of nowhere. Facing the loser of Porter-Berto or Brook-Spence is where Garcia belongs right now.
One loss on his record isn’t really a big deal when it comes to Garcia’s career. His lack of fire and focus, however, is a big deal. And it could prove to be disastrous when facing someone less focused on safety than Keith Thurman and more keen on pouncing on clearly vulnerable prey.