Danny Garcia vs. Ivan Redkach: Fight start time, prediction, odds, undercard, Showtime boxing preview
The pair of welterweights collide in a title eliminator from Brooklyn on Saturday night
At 31 and at the peak of his physical prime, former two-division champion Danny Garcia was hoping to close 2019 by taking his commercial value to the next level as a pay-per-view headliner.
Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs), who knocked out Adrian Granados in spectacular fashion on national television in April, was never quite able to capitalize on the momentum to get there, however. First, talks with Mikey Garcia for an August bout fell apart. Garcia then entered the ring following Errol Spence Jr.'s September unification win over Shawn Porter only to see their plans for a January bout disengage after Spence was charged with DUI in an automobile accident.
The new year has spawned a new strategy for Garcia to land a spring PPV date against either Spence or fellow welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. To get there, Garcia is hoping to impress against another southpaw on Saturday when he faces Ivan Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) in Brooklyn, New York (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET).
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Just a short drive from his native Philadelphia, Garcia has made the Barclays Center a second home ever since he helped open the arena for boxing in 2012 with a spectacular knockout of Hall of Famer Erik Morales in their rematch. The Redkach fight marks his eight appearance in Brooklyn in as many years.
"It's a dream come true," Garcia told CBS Sports' "State of Combat" podcast last week. "I never imagined having a big market like this where my fans always come out and support me. We want to fight on pay-per-view so we wanted to fight the right guy. It just didn't go through so now we are here and just have to build up to the next big fight."
Redkach, a 33-year-old native of Ukraine who trains under Shane Mosley in Los Angeles, enters the bout on a three-fight win streak and offers no illusion to the kind of fight the all-action pressure fighter plans to bring.
"I want Danny Garcia's fans to all come out because you're going to see a great fight and you're going to be welcomed into the Ivan Redkach family," Redkach said. "Training alongside Leo Santa Cruz was great motivation. I'm going to knock Danny Garcia out. That's the plan. Simple."
Redkach has a history of making exciting fights, including a 2017 fight-of-the-year contender to John Molina Jr. in which both fighters hit the canvas before Redkach was stopped. Last June, he made a successful debut at 147 pounds by dropping former champion Devon Alexander three times en route to a TKO.
"He's a southpaw fighter and we wanted to get the southpaw working," Garcia said. "We feel like he's a tough fighter, he comes to fight and he's going to give us a good, hard fight. We wanted somebody that is going to push me and make me fight and I feel like this is the guy to do it."
Although Garcia has maintained throughout the fight's build that he's not looking past Redkach despite the big business ahead of him if he wins, Redkach has seemed to enjoy his role as the live underdog.
"The victory over Devon Alexander was important because he was a well-known opponent. Winning in the fashion that I did catapulted me to where I am right now," Redkach said. "Danny made a mistake if he thinks this is a tune-up. I'm going to give everyone a great fight and we'll see what happens on [Saturday]."
If Garcia had his choice regarding his next opponent should he get past Redkach, he didn't hesitate to name the 41-year-old Pacquiao, who enjoyed a renaissance campaign in 2019 with PPV wins over Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman. Garcia has been through the phase of chasing the big one only to come up empty in the past, however, including in 2013 when his upset win over Lucas Matthysse failed to produce the Floyd Mayweather fight he had hoped for.
"[Pacquiao] is definitely the legend so he's going to fight who he wants to fight," Garcia said. "It doesn't matter how good or bad I want to fight him. He's going to fight the ones that most benefit him. He's the legend and he makes the calls. You have to beat the legend to become the legend and that's why I want to fight him.
"I'm fighting for my legacy. It feels like I'm just getting started all over again. I just feel rejuvenated and good. I want to win a title again. I'm ready to go in and show the world why I am still one of the best."
In the co-main event, former junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd makes his first appearance since dropping his title in a stunner to Julian Williams in May 2019. The previously unbeaten champ is looking to get back into title contention with a win over the less heralded Santana, who enters the bout losing three of his last four.
Fight card, odds
Danny Garcia -1800
Ivan Redkach +900
Jarrett Hurd N/A
Francisco Santana N/A
Once a promising lightweight prospect, Redkach has endured a hard-luck journey to the main event level. He's more skilled than his brawling reputation might suggest yet just as vulnerable when facing elite punchers, which Garcia certainly is.
While previous fighters like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Lamont Peterson and Mauricio Herrera were able to give Garcia issues due to their foot speed and precision, Redkach won't have that same luxury. He'll need to stand and fight for as long as this potential firefight last.
Redkach is at his best when the pace is frantic and he'll need to consistently get inside on Garcia to have success. Yet the problem with engaging Garcia into a brawl is that he's the one in possession of the biggest weapon in the fight with his vaunted left hook.
Prediction: Garcia via KO6
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