By Eric Raskin
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. And that includes the size of the controversy when puzzling scorecards are handed in.
The Lone Star State has developed an unsavory reputation of late when it comes to the scoring of fights. The two most prominent recent examples are Tavoris Cloud’s unfathomable decision over Gabriel Campillo in Corpus Christi last month and Juan Diaz’s outrageously scored nod over Paulie Malignaggi in Houston in 2009. At this point, nothing any ring announcer can say at the end of a fight in Texas should surprise any fight fan.
Danny Garcia is no stranger to head-scratching scorecards, as he heard one announced at the conclusion of his most recent fight, a (seemingly) one-sided win over Kendall Holt in Los Angeles. Fortunately, Garcia got the victory, but it was a split decision in a fight that wasn’t even close.
“I was like, man, how can two judges give me nine rounds out of 12, and this judge gives him seven?” Garcia recalled. “I guess that judge was just watching [Holt] and not me. Maybe he had a better outfit on than me or something!
“That fight served as a reminder to me that you have to try to knock guys out. It happened a lot to me in the amateurs, I thought I won, but I left it in the judges’ hands and I lost. So my mindset when I turned pro was to knock guys out. But as I moved up in competition, guys started blocking shots, guys started taking better shots, so my main focus was just to box. Now I need to get back to scoring knockouts. I have to tell myself, ‘I’m not letting nobody take this from me.’”
On Saturday night in Houston, scoring a knockout won’t be easy, since Garcia’s foe, Erik Morales, has only been KO’d by one opponent in 59 pro fights, and that opponent was Manny Pacquiao. Also, as a beloved Mexican veteran, “El Terrible” is almost certain to be the crowd favorite. And we know how crowd reactions can influence even judges who have the best of intentions.
Garcia has a massive challenge in front of him in the form of a resurgent future Hall of Famer. And he may have an even bigger challenge than that awaiting him if the fight goes the full 12.