This is a big fight. I think I'm giving Garcia a better chance than a lot of people. A lot of people think Matthysse is going to knock him out, and he may knock him out, who knows, but I think Garcia has a good enough amateur pedigree, and more importantly he has the ability to make adjustments. I saw him in the Khan fight. He didn't look great in the Khan fight, but he won the title; he was losing early and he made adjustments," stated ESPN commentator and world-class trainer Teddy Atlas, who gave his breakdown on the highly-anticipated September 14 clash between undefeated jr. welterweight champion Danny Garcia and top contender Lucas Matthysse. Check it out!
TEDDY ATLAS ON GARCIA VS. MATTHYSSE:
This is a big fight. I think I'm giving Garcia a better chance than a lot of people. A lot of people think Matthysse is going to knock him out, and he may knock him out, who knows, but I think Garcia has a good enough amateur pedigree, and more importantly he has the ability to make adjustments. I saw him in the Khan fight. He didn't look great in the Khan fight, but he won the title; he was losing early and he made adjustments. He kind of made Khan give up his height, which Khan does too easily sometimes, but he recognized that Khan was faster and straighter and better on the outside and that got Khan winning those early moments. He realized he had to get Khan to get into a certain dimension and a certain quarter in order to catch him, and he got Khan to get close and he caught Khan with a left hook. If I remember correctly, that's what turned the fight in his favor. So he made the adjustment then, and usually from that point on, you become a better fighter.
I think the good news about Garcia going into a difficult fight and a dangerous fight with Matthysse, who is a good puncher and he knows how to fight too, the good news for Garcia is he can make those adjustments. He is not a one-dimensional guy who is just a slugger. He's not just gonna walk in and depend on his power. He's not Pernell Whitaker, or for that matter Muhammad Ali, who makes moves all over the place with his legs, but he does have the ability to box a little bit. And again, he's got that amateur pedigree and he's gonna need that ability to move and make those adjustments, and have a real good fight plan and be able to box. He does a pretty good job with the right hand. Nobody thinks of him as a huge puncher, but from what I've seen, he seems to always get people's attention with the right hand. They don't ignore it and he seems to always find them with it. I think a lot of people think Matthysse will be able to ignore the right hand and just kind of walk through them, and I'm not sure that's gonna be the case.
I think it's gonna come down to Garcia being able to box on the outside, but more than just box. He's not gonna be able to just box and survive. He's gonna have to be able to do something with the right hand to give Matthysse something to think about when he doesn't just track him down. If you just play boxing, he's gonna just track you down because there is nothing for him to respect on the outside and for him to respect before he closes the gap. I think it's gonna come down to boxing on the outside and doing some counter punching, and also doing some forward work with the right hand to get that respect to be able to have the privilege to box and have the ability to box. You can't have the ability to box if a guy has no reason to be hesitant coming forward. You gotta have a reason to be hesitant moving forward. I think that's gonna have to be the fight plan. It would be for me if I was his trainer.
I think it will be an interesting night. I think Matthysse is going to have to use the jab and not just look for the big shot. He's gonna have to use the jab to take away what I just described, which is what I feel Garcia needs to do, which is control the center of the ring from the outside. He could stabilize that with that jab. And also, he has to go to the body to take away some of Garcia's ability to box and take away the use of Garcia's legs a little bit. Look, don't forget, Matthysse has been beat twice. He's been beat by guys that don't light up the sky. I mean, Zab Judah is a talented guy, but there has always been doubts about him mentally and it wasn't at the early part of his career. But he got beat by Zab Judah; talented guy, southpaw, and has fast hands and all of that, but not in a whole different area code than Garcia at the point in his career when he beat Matthysse. And also Devon Alexander, again, a guy that doesn't explode in the sky when you think about him. And you can say maybe they didn't deserve those decisions, but either way, they were able to get those decisions because they were able to get to that point where they get their hand raised, so it's not a closed book for me. I think it's going to be an interesting fight.
At the end of the day, I will probably go with Matthysse thinking that maybe it's his time. I'm thinking that he had those two losses, but he may have had a chance to rectify those losses by learning from them and growing from them to add to his game where he came up short in those losses where the power game wasn't enough. I think he has enough intellect from what I've shown on him on ESPN when I've done my segment on breaking down his fights and showing some of the little subtle things that I saw. At the end of the day, I think I will go with Matthysse having a little trouble, losing the fight early, but maybe late finding a way to win that fight.
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