Current WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia captured a razor-thin split decision over former IBF titleholder Lamont Peterson at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Saturday night.
The scores were 114-114 (a draw) and 115-113 (twice) for Garcia.
MaxBoxing and DoghouseBoxing had Garcia the winner by a tally of 115-113.
The fight was contested at a catchweight of 143-pounds. Garcia made no attempt to get down to the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds. His next fight will likely be in the welterweight (147 pounds) division.
In a round one, Peterson, a notorious slow starter, came out fast. He fired his jab and moved around the ring. Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs) stalked and looked for an opening. A looping right to the body landed.
Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KOs) kept boxing in round two. He fired multiple jabs, and later a right. Garcia connected with two shots to the midsection. Peterson poked out his jab and backed away. His stick and move strategy was effective in spots.
In round three, Peterson moved side-to-side. Garcia was reaching with his punches. He paid for it later in the round. Garcia went to the body, but so did the elusive Peterson.
Garcia beckoned Peterson to stand and fight in round four.
Peterson ignored Garcia’s invitation and went back to using lateral movement. Garcia connected with a glancing blow near the end of the stanza.
Garcia landed two right hands in round five.
Peterson countered right back with a solid combination. Garcia stalked and connected with another hard blow against the backpedaling Peterson.
Garcia did well in rounds six and seven. A couple of combinations landed. Peterson slowed down slightly, but he wasn’t tired. He rallied back at the tail end of both rounds.
Peterson came out aggressively in round eight. He landed a couple of clubbing blows to the body. A combination also connected.
Garcia absorbed the shots and looked to counter. Was he surprised by the sudden change in tactics by Peterson?
Peterson was back to shooting his jab in round nine. Garcia found his chin with a left. Peterson stepped inside and stung Garcia with a left.
Garcia caught Peterson napping with a couple of rights. He worked the body. Peterson rallied again at the bell.
Peterson worked the angles in round 10. He landed a right. He picked with his left. Garcia mocked him. He landed a blow to the right arm of Peterson. A combination also connected. Peterson’s chin held up nicely.
Garcia held a slight edge entering the last two rounds. Peterson ripped shots to the body. Garcia answered back with punches of his own. Peterson started to unload in the last thirty seconds of the heat. He connected with shots to the bloodied face of Garcia.
Peterson landed a wicked combination in the 12th and final round. Garcia fought back. Peterson walked Garcia down and unloaded a hard hook. He was the fresher fighter and looked more determined.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight,” said Garcia in the ring. ”You can’t win a big fight by running. He came on in the end. We can do it again.”