Danny Garcia vs Vargas, Jarrett Hurd vs Ion, Javier Fortuna vs Omar Douglas
BY KID HERSH
PBC on Spike TV from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This fight has a solid lineup despite not being too highly anticipated due to the mismatch in the main event. Tempers were flared a bit though when it was announced that Danny Garcia would be facing Keith Thurman next year, so as not to have people thinking that were getting just another Garcia/PBC mismatch.
First up was a really good matchup between Omar Douglas (17-0, 12KO's) and Javier Fortuna (30-1-1, 22KO's). Fortuna started out fast as he always does in the first round and was blasting away at Douglas. Douglas remained calm and landed a beauty of a left hook two minutes into the round that separated Fortuna from his senses and sent him to the canvas. He rose but was still hurt and hung on to make it through the round. Fortuna was much more cautious in the second round as Douglas pressed forward very slowly and calmly, looking to set up more punches. Both men landed in the second but it was nothing with real bad intentions on it like in the first round - where they got it out of their system. Fortuna took the momentum from the second round and built it up further in the third as he was very shifty and tricky from the outside. He was in his natural rhythm, which is off rhythm and hard to judge from odd angles as he hits and gets out of range quickly. He continued through the fourth round by catching Douglas when he was trying to press his way inside. I had to wonder why Douglas is so tentative to throw here. I know Fortuna has a punch but Douglas has a massive 4" reach advantage and is not jabbing at all, instead coming forward slowly behind a guard and simply getting hit first by not getting off at all. This continued until at the start of the sixth round Douglas started to have more success. Fortuna was warned for excessive holding in thew sixth round and by the end of the round he seemed the worse for wear. Perhaps his frantic style and constant bouncing on his toes and high energy has caught up with him? In any case Fortuna continued outboxing Douglas, who did not seem to have a second gear or plan B in his arsenal. Douglas made a good comeback in the ninth round and then we saw a candidate for round of the year in the tenth round when Fortuna decided to stand his ground and slug it out with Douglas. It was an absolutely amazing round as both fighters traded bombs for what seemed like an eternity. Fortuna definitely got the better of it as it seemed like he had Douglas on the verge of going down for quite some time but Douglas gutted it out to finish the round standing. It was definitely a Fortuna round despite him abandoning his hit and move tactics of the previous eight rounds. The cards came in 96-93 X2 and 95-94 for Fortuna. There was booing but that is only because Douglas has far more fans in the crowd. The right man won.
Next up was very hot prospect Jarrett Hurd (18-0, 12KO's) vs Ionut Dan Ion (35-3, 18KO's). In the first round Hurd was very calm and less active than we have seen him in the past. He was measuring up the veteran in front of him and started landing flush right hands whenever he threw them. He is clearly far bigger and more powerful than Dan. In the second round it was a big round for Hurd as he sat down on his shots and blasted some powerful bombs home on Dan. Dan was bleeding from the nose and taking damage but continued coming forward throughout. One thing that didn't look good with Hurds performance here is that he was breathing very, very heavy by the end of the second round. He was really putting power into his shots but it is a bit alarming because he did not have a work rate that I would think would tire him out that much. Also, Hurd is standing straight up like a statue and a bit of a sitting target for Dan - who is hitting home but just doesn't have the power to make a dent on the far larger man. In the third round Hurd did not look as sharp as he started to try to go to the body of Dan but was hitting low. He was hitting very low - such as the middle of the thigh - when late in the round he nailed Dan square in the groin with a hard uppercut. Dan took a short break and continued but really the significance of it is that Hurd has really lost a lot of accuracy and is not looking great to me in this fight so far, despite dominating. Dan nearly had his head taken off from a left hook early in the fourth round but he continued pressing forward and staying in the chest of Hurd. Dan was taking some serious damage but doing his best to not just make a fight of it but actually trying to win despite being outgunned. Hurd was impressing the broadcasting team but not me when in the fifth round he was taking lots of arm punches on the ropes from Dan and then when pressing and imposing his size he was walking around with his hands at his waist and breathing through his mouth. He was hurting Dan when he was hitting him but this is a really sloppy showing and I am left questioning his stamina very early in a fight. Early in the sixth round Hurd landed a right hand that put Dan on Queer Street and the fight was stopped by Dans corner shortly thereafter, despite Dan toughing it out and looking like he could have continued. I get it though; it was pointless because Dan was taking punishment and getting broken down and didn't even really have a punchers chance anymore.
Main event time featuring Danny Garcia (32-0, 18KO'S) vs Samuel Vargas (25-2-1, 13KO'S). Garcia is heavily favored and fans are none too excited about the opponent here but it is just a stay busy fight. In the first round Garcia was very calm and collected and started landing single powerful punches in spots picked out on Vargas's wide open defense. In the second round Garcia was very wide and slow with his shots but started pressing Vargas and having more success landing power shots. Near the end of the round he landed a big right hook to the chin of Vargas that put him down on his rear. The punch opened a cut on his left cheek and he took the entire count before getting up and ending the round. Garcia continued blasting home shots in the third round, making it very apparent that he could probably end the fight whenever he wants but he was just playing to the pace Vargas was setting while easily teeing off. It was more of the same through the coming rounds until in the seventh round it looked like Garcia wanted to finally get the stoppage. Garcia went for the knockout and got the stoppage late in the round when he had Vargas on the ropes and looking more helpless. The referee stepped in right when Vargas's corner was also stepping up to the ring to stop the fight. Garcia then promptly climbed out of the ring to verbally abuse Keith Thurman - who was doing color commentating. It was all for show though; these guys like each other and even when Garcia was walking away he smiled and winked. Come on Danny, you can hide it better than that LOL.