The Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson matchup that shares co-main status with the middleweight title bout between WBO champion Andy Lee and former champion Peter Quillin Saturday night at Barclays Center comes with a catch. Instead of being a unification bout with Garcia risking his WBA and WBC super lightweight belts and Peterson putting his IBF 140-pound belt on the line, the fight is at a 143-pound catchweight with no titles on the line.
But what the promotion loses in terms of hype, the Premier Boxing Champions production on NBC might benefit in terms of ring performance. Garcia's team reportedly negotiated the catchweight because he didn't have time to make 140, but Garcia yesterday refused to confirm that, saying, "For this fight to be made, that's the weight we had to fight at. It was a management decision."
Still, Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) left no doubt he likely has fought for the last time at 140 when asked if he expects to move up to welterweight in the future. "It's a strong possibility, a strong possibility," Garcia said.
Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs), who said he could have gone down as far as 138 if necessary, was disappointed by the decision but also believes he might benefit.
"I would like to have fought for more titles because it means a lot to the fans and it puts the extra oomph on the fight," Peterson said. "But at the end of the day, it will still be a great fight, an entertaining fight.
"As a fighter, I understand where he's coming from. We put our bodies through a lot that [fans] don't recognize. You might look at it as three little pounds. Why not lose it? But those three little pounds get tough. I respect it, so I didn't fight too much about it."
Garcia said he got to 143 but not without a struggle. "It was tough," Garcia admitted. "It's never easy making weight. But I made the weight, and I'm good."
Since stopping Amir Khan and Erik Morales in four rounds each in 2012, Garcia went the distance in his next three fights against Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse and Mauricio Herrera before scoring a second round KO over badly outclassed Rod Salka last August at Barclays. Garcia agreed with the suggestion his battle to make weight might have drained him.
"I think it might have affected me a little bit," Garcia said. "I still won the fights, but I feel like the fans haven't seen the best Danny Garcia yet."
He'll need to be at his best against the savvy 31-year-old Peterson, a tough boxer-puncher. "Fighting on NBC with more exposure and getting a big victory over Danny Garcia sends me from a top fighter to an elite fighter," Peterson said. "That's what's going to happen Saturday night."