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Danny Garcia survives flurry of punches from Zab Judah for title win

Danny Garcia (right) dominated Zab Judah early to defend his WBA/WBC junior welterweight belt. (Elsa/Getty Images) Danny Garcia (right) dominated Zab Judah early to defend his WBA/WBC junior welterweight belt. (Elsa/Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- Three thoughts on Danny Garcia’s unanimous decision win over Zab Judah:

For Garcia, a learning experience

No question, Garcia won the fight. He dominated most of the early rounds and picked up a knockdown in the eighth, countering a straight left hand from Judah with a stinging right that sent Judah tumbling to the canvas. But Judah showed tremendous heart, refusing to quit and rallying to win most of the final rounds. He hurt Garcia repeatedly in the tenth, seeming to catch his second wind while Garcia started to slow down. But Judah gave away too many rounds early, and the judges' scoring (115-112, 114-112, 116-111) was spot on.

Garcia gets the win, and an education in the process. “I had to adapt and bite down,” Garcia said. “I proved I could fight hurt.” Indeed, this was a tough test against an accomplished opponent with a great chin and the skill and craftiness to challenge him in ways he hasn’t before. Garcia, 25, still has some holes in his game--he leaves himself wide open when he throws some of those looping right hands--but he will be a better fighter next time out because of this experience with Judah.

A clear path

As SI.com reported, Garcia is expected to be a candidate to face Floyd Mayweather in the fall. That would be a mistake. Mayweather would pick Garcia apart at this point. Where Garcia should look is to the winner of next month’s showdown between Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse. Both Peterson and Matthysse are stand-in-the-middle-of-the-ring, toe-to-toe sluggers. Matching either of them against Garcia is a no-brainer.

Is Judah finished?

Judah made it crystal clear after the fight: This isn’t the last you will see of him. Judah, 35, has lost two of his last three fights, but unlike his lopsided knockout defeat to Amir Khan in 2011, Judah looked decent in this loss. “He’s not washed up,” Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, said. “Please don’t anyone say that. That man can still fight.” The 140-pound division is loaded with top fighters--which include, along with the aforementioned fighters, Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado and, in all likelihood, Adrien Broner. Judah’s fights always do solid ratings on premium networks and, judging by the 13,048 in attendance at the Barclays Center, can draw a decent crowd in Brooklyn. There will be plenty of opportunities for Judah, and no reason for him not to take them.

-- Chris Mannix

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