Former two-weight world champion Danny Garcia continues his bid to get back into the picture at Welterweight with a routine looking assignment against Ivan Redkach on Saturday night at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn on Showtime in the US and BoxNation in the UK.
It seems a lifetime ago that Garcia (35-2, KO21) was first in World title contention, with his first reign at the level beginning in March 2012.
‘Swift’ won the WBC title at 140lbs with a points win over Mexican legend, Erik Morales.
He would add the WBA (Super) version in his next bout after a stunning fourth round stoppage of Amir Khan, and defend the belts against quality opposition in a Morales rematch (KO4) Zab Judah, and Lucas Matthysse (both unanimous).
Garcia then made a gradual rise up to 147lbs, a ninth round stoppage of Paulie Malignaggi in August 2015 set up a shot at the vacant WBC belt, where he clearly outscored Robert Guerrero.
Since then though, Garcia’s career has stalled somewhat. March 2017 saw a battle of undefeated contenders, but it was Keith Thurman that added the WBC belt to his WBA (Super) crown with a split decision win, handing the Philadelphian his first career loss.
A ninth round stoppage of the faded Brandon Rios got Garcia back on track, but then Shawn Porter handed him another defeat in September 2018 with a points win in a bid for the vacant WBC belt.
His last outing came in April last year, with a routine seventh round knockout of the limited Adrian Granados, whilst he remains highly ranked by the WBA, WBC and WBO, suggesting another world title shot looms.
Redkach (23-4-1, KO18) shouldn’t cause Garcia too much trouble, with the man from Shostka, Ukraine, 5-4-1 in his last ten fights.
He is a gatekeeper type fighter, and was first defeated in June 2015, with former WBC Lightweight champion, Dejan Zlaticanin stopping him in four rounds.
Tevin Farmer then won nearly every round of a July 2016 ten rounder, and Argenis Mendez won a split decision against Redkach in May 2017. His last defeat came one fight later. With John Molina Junior scoring a fourth round knockout win.
Redkach is currently on a three fight winning streak and his last bout saw him knock out the faded former WBC and IBF Super Lightweight champion, Devon Alexander in six rounds in June last year.
Prediction: Garcia is a sound enough finisher when the opportunity arises, and the chance should come around in his meeting with Redkach. I can see Redkach giving Garcia rounds, but should be dismantled and outgunned by the halfway mark here.
Another man on the title trail is also carrying the “Swift” moniker.
Maryland’s Jarrett Hurd (23-1, KO16) returns after suffering his first career reverse.
Hurd was relieved of his WBA (Super) IBF and IBO titles in a points loss to Julian Williams, who subsequently shipped the same belts to Jeison Rosario last weekend in his first defence.
Up until the Williams loss, ‘Swift’ had built a decent CV, winning the vacant IBF belt against Tony Harrison in February 2017 in a ninth round stoppage win.
He backed this up by retiring former champion Austin Trout after ten rounds in an entertaining scrap and then win a razor thin split decision against the awkward but gifted Cuban, Erislandy Lara in April 2018.
The 29-year-old will be looking to get back on track against limited opposition in Californian Francisco Santana (25-7-2, KO12) in a ten round contest.
The 33-year-old is 3-4 in his last seven contests, and is usually drafted in as the opposition, with points defeats to Sadam Ali and Jose Benavidez on his slate.
Santana has only been stopped once in his career, back in 2009, so is durable. His last appearance came in March last year, when outpointed over ten by Abel Ramos.
Prediction: Hurd will want to make a statement with the 154 pound division being so open right now, but Santana is a difficult customer to budge. A stoppage win for Hurd would certainly boost his confidence, but he just might have to settle for the long route this time around.
There is also a WBO Intercontinental Super Bantamweight title on the line as Stephen Fulton (17-0, KO8) meets Arnold Khegai (16-0-1, KO10).