Boxing by the book, Garcia schools Redkach

By Robert Ecksel on January 25, 2020

A lesser man than would have hightailed it out of there. (Amanda Wescott/Showtime)

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (32-2, 21 KOs), the Philly sensation that Brooklyn adopted as its own, outclassed Ivan Redkach (23-5-1, 1 ND, 18 KOs), the game southpaw from Los Angeles by way of Shostka, Ukraine, after 12 lopsided rounds to win a WBC welterweight world title eliminator.

 

The final scores were 118-110 and 117-111 twice.

 

Redkach was up against it, but he came to fight. In fact he fought like his life depended on it. It was only his second bout at welterweight, and at 33, perhaps an old 33, is several years past his prime. Redkach had also lost three of his last seven fights coming into tonight’s bout. A lesser man than would have hightailed it out of there once the beating began. Not Redkach. He stuck it through to the bloody end.

 

Fighting out of the blue corner in sky blue trunks with black and white trim, Garcia was as efficient as ever. He may not make one’s heart beat faster, but he’s always composed, always in control, always relaxed but always thinking, a master of alignment, positioning and space. His power and beard complete the picture. But elite fighters need to fight elite fighters. Anything less and the mob gets antsy.

 

Redkach, fighting out of the red corner in green trunks with dyed neon hair and a Maori tattoo covering half his body, looked like a cyborg from a comix. Some might find his herky-jerky style disorienting, which is the point, but it had no affect on Danny Garcia. Redkach got a whooping and kept on coming. Fighting a younger, bigger, strongest man with galaxies more talent, Redkach started busting up in the third, the same round he started bleeding from a cut above his left eye caused by a punch. No one thought Redkach would win the fight. The bleeding sealed the deal. Redkach never stopped barreling forward, throwing, usually missing punches. He’s is not a skilled practitioner of the art of hitting and not getting hit in return, but he lets his hands go, he comes to fight, and can’t be accused of not trying.

 

By round eight the fight went from lost cause to something beyond. Red-faced Redkach was mugging up a storm. He was sticking out his tongue, between getting punched in the face. Redkach’s trainer, Jack Mosely, implored his fighter, “You have to start working. Right now, you’re not punching back. You have to punch back. You have to fight back. You have to fight back.”

 

At the start of round nine the ringside physician checked to make sure Redkach could continue. He got the go-ahead and resumed getting hit. As the ninth was drawing to a close, Redkach, in an act of desperation, bit Garcia’s shoulder. It was as if he was begging for disqualification and when the bell rang to end the round, it looked like things might explode. But Danny’s father, Angel Garcia, defused the situation by telling his son, “Fuck him up, Danny. Fuck him up.”

 

Danny took his dad’s suggestion to heart. Accurate, thudding punches bounced off Redkach’s beet-red face. The Ukrainian had pretty much stopped punching by then. It was over before it was over. Jack Mosley told Redach after round 11 to “Go in there and knock him out.” It was a poignant bit of wisdom, like something you’d hear in a B-movie.

 

The bell rang to start to the 12 th and final round. Redkach bled. He ate more punches. The crowd booed. Even the Coliseum has its limits. They can be boorish in the boroughs, but the Brooklyn fight fans had seen enough. Everyone had seen enough. Everyone, that is, but the referee Arthur Mercante Jr.

 

It was unsightly but nothing new. Garcia looked great against a fighter who had no business being with him in the ring. Good on Redach for getting a payday. He earned it. More credit to him. But he only connected with 88 punches to 195 for Garcia. Garcia also landed over half his power shots.

 

“I thought the referee was going to stop it,” said Garcia. “I felt like I was punishing him. He’s a tough guy. He hung in there. I wanted to get the KO, but I didn’t get it. I feel like I boxed smart, and I feel like that’s what I needed after this layoff. But I really wanted the knockout bad.”

 

That’s what the crowd wanted and they started to boo.

 

“I’m not going to lie, I felt good, but I didn’t feel my best. I did lose a lot of weight for this fight. So maybe that played a factor, from a long layoff, and just losing so much weight. I lost about 25 pounds in eight weeks.”

 

Showtime’s Jim Gray looked surprised.

 

“I’m eating good,” Garcia said with a laugh. “But I promise to stay in the gym and stay in shape.”

 

The booing got louder.

 

Garcia wasn’t supposed to fight Redkach tonight. He was supposed to fight Errol Spence Jr., his date with destiny. But with Spence indisposed until further notice, what with the car crash and all, and unlikely to want to fight Garcia in his first fight back, it looks like Danny’s next fight will be against Manny Pacquiao.