People are literally watching two different fights when Leonard Garcia steps in the cage. There are those who see him walking into punches and winging rights off the hip and think “what a brawl,” while others who see him walking into punches and looping rights off the hip that think “this is unwatchable.” One thinks “here we go;” the other, “here we go again.”
Both vantages are technically correct -- and his coaches probably spend time on each side. Garcia will always be Garcia, and as such will always be fun/hard to watch (depending on how nuanced your eyes might be).
Yet he isn't much to watch from a technical aspect. In fact, Garcia’s style transcends wins and losses and, over the years, he’s grown pretty familiar with each.
This was the case again on Saturday night. Garcia took a shot behind the right ear early and said afterward that one of his legs felt six inches longer than the other. If his body was telling him he was hurt, his brain took it as something more like “time to eliminate Nam Phan from existence.”
The switch was hit. Caution went to the wind, and Garcia started moving forward, all great guns and bomb’s away.
Garcia and Phan stood toe-to-toe, with Phan winning the greater bulk of the exchanges. In the loosest, most overused context possible, this became war. How it made you feel became a question of why you watch fighting.
Afterward, upon losing his fifth fight in nine bouts, people grumbled that Garcia will never learn to fight smart. That’s true, but it depends on how you define smart because, maybe, all he does is fight smart.
He cashed in another $75,000 for putting on the fight on the night on a stacked card, the fourth time he’s done that in six fights. His fight against the Chan Sung Jung was fight of the year. This loose, let-them-fly style seems like an incredibly smart way to go about business, not to mention lucrative and memorable. It’s a chapter from Chris Lytle without the niggling details that come with technical skill sets as fallbacks. In fact, Garcia’s style transcends wins and, over the years, he’s grown pretty familiar with each.
After the fight, when somebody asked Dana White if Garcia was on the bubble with these losses stacking up around him, White asked for a show of hands on who would want to see such a drastic measure. Nobody raised their hands. Poor Eric Schafer, who found himself on the wrong end of a unanimous decision to Aaron Simpson, wasn’t afforded this kind of democracy. Garcia isn’t going to be cut. And he promises he’ll be more technical next time through.
We’d be fools to believe it. And it’s to the point that he’d be a fool to enact it.