No one had a great night on NBC : Weekend Review
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Danny Garcia: Garcia found a way to win again, which should be applauded. THE RING junior welterweight remains unbeaten and in line for yet another big fight in a few months. That’s the positive spin on his performance against Lamont Peterson on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The reality is that he didn’t have a strong night. Garcia (30-0, 17 knockouts) was the aggressor but did a poor job of cutting off the ring in the early rounds, when Peterson was content to jab and run. And when Peterson decided later on to stand and fight, which should’ve worked in Garcia’s favor, he generally got the worst of the exchanges. The Philadelphian won a majority decision primarily because of Peterson’s inactivity in the first half of the fight. Garcia won six of the first seven rounds on all three official cards, a hole from which Peterson couldn’t dig out in spite of a spirited rally. So he should thank Peterson for his assistance. Garcia hasn’t looked particularly good since his decision over Lucas Matthysse in September 2013, his most important victory. He was lucky to get past Mauricio Herrera by a split decision, stopped an overmatched Rod Salka and then was fortunate again on Saturday. Are Garcia’s limitations simply coming to the surface? Or is he not as focused as he should be in the gym? The answer to both questions might be “yes,” which might not bode well for him. I’ve said it many times: Garcia finds ways to win fights, one reason I admire him. But he won’t always be on the right end of close calls.
Lamont Peterson: Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KOs) should be kicking himself right about now. His game plan evidently was to box carefully early and then pick up his pace as the fight progressed, a reasonable strategy. The problem was that he boxed too carefully. You can’t give away as many rounds as he did and expect to win. Peterson ran far more than he punched in the first half of the fight, the main reason he lost the fight. Consider: After five rounds, according to CompuBox, he connected on a paltry 16 of 35 power punches compared to 51 of 151 for Garcia. An average of seven power punches per round – with 3.2 connects – generally isn’t enough activity to win rounds. Peterson picked up his pace – he averaged 17.5 power punches over 12 rounds – but it was too little too late. One judge scored it 114-114 but the other two had Garcia winning 115-113, meaning Peterson won four of the final five rounds on two cards and all five on the third. The frustrating thing for Peterson should be that he was the better fighter when he was aggressive. He just wasn’t aggressive enough. The good news for him is that, other than his early passiveness, he didn’t really damage his reputation. He remains one of the best fighters between 140 and 147 pounds. And if he learned a lesson on Saturday, he could be even better going forward.
Lee-Quillin: I know it sounds strange to call a fight with three knockdowns uneventful but it was. Peter Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KOs) hurt Andy Lee (34-2-1, 24 KOs) with a big right in the first round, which might’ve led to Lee’s demise if he didn’t recover so quickly. Quillin also put Lee on his butt in Round 3 but Lee clearly went down because Quillin’s foot was on top of his, which is why I scored the round 10-9 (instead of 10-8) for Quillin. Lee put Quillin on the canvas in the seventh, another legitimate knockdown. That was extent of the action as the fighters spent most of the 12-round fight waiting for the other to make the first move. They combined to throw only 47.1 punches per round, according to CompuBox. They connected on a combined 18 punches, which barely amounts to fight. I expected a lot more from both of them. The judges scored the fight a split draw – 113-113, 113-112 for Lee and 113-112 for Quillin. One judge, Glenn Feldman, did what I did: He scored Round 3 10-9 for Quillin. Had he followed convention and scored it 10-8, Quillin would’ve won a split decision. Feldman did the right thing. Had all three judges scored the round 10-9 for Quillin – and, again, I believe they should have – the fight would’ve been a majority draw. Neither fighter left the ring with satisfaction, which was apropos. Neither did enough to earn it.
Orlando Salido finally met his match in Puerto Rico. The two-time conqueror of Juan Manuel Lopez lost a unanimous decision and his WBO junior lightweight title to Roman Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KOs) in spite of a late rally on Saturday in San Juan. Martinez, who is from nearby Vega Baja, put Salido down twice and gained another point when Salido was penalized for low blows. That’s a big win for Martinez, who is only two fights removed from his knockdown loss to Mikey Garcia. Martinez has held the WBO title three times. Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs) is hardly finished. He was coming off back-to-back victories over Vasyl Lomachenko and Terdsak Kokietgym. ÔÇª Errol Spence (16-0, 13 KOs) stopped Samuel Vargas in four rounds on the Garcia-Peterson card. The 2012 U.S. Olympian, who seems to be a complete package, is on the cusp of becoming a serious title contender. He will be an exciting one to watch. ÔÇª I hesitate to criticize the NBC broadcast team because I respect those on it but it is weak compared to teams at Showtime, HBO and ESPN. B.J. Flores is far and away the best commentator involved. And I must say that Kenny Rice does not ask good questions when he interviews the fighters. NBC might be wise to do some tweaking. On the positive side, being a boxing history buff, I appreciated the piece on New York’s boxing heritage narrated by Bob Costas. I’d love to see more of that. ÔÇª Antonio Gates, the San Diego Chargers tight end, is now a boxing promoter. He says he also wants to be an advocate for the fighters, who are often led astray by the sport’s movers and shakers. Gates seems to be sincere. I hope he succeeds.