As soon as Lucas Matthysse finished smashing Lamont Peterson in the third round of their May 18 fight, Showtime's television cameras panned to an interested ringside observer, unified junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia.
A few weeks earlier, Garcia had survived a tough battle with former titleholder Zab Judah to retain his 140-pound belts, and the winner of Matthysse-Peterson was supposed to face Garcia next in the final of an unofficial tournament Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer had conceived.
When the camera caught Garcia, he had a look on his face that was similar to that of many in the crowd that night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.: awe, because of how ruthless and devastating "The Machine" looked in taking Peterson out.
The look on Garcia's face, to some, meant he was scared to fight Matthysse. And, when Garcia-Matthysse was not signed right away, some took that to mean that Garcia was somehow looking to duck Matthysse, who, as interim titleholder was also one of his mandatory challengers.
Ultimately, Garcia-Matthysse was signed and wound up being placed on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez junior middleweight unification fight on Sept. 14 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"These people who wrote Danny was scared of Matthysse have egg on their face," Schaefer said when he announced the fight. "He wanted the fight more than any other fight."
On its own, Mayweather-Alvarez is a monster fight. Adding perhaps the second-most anticipated fight in boxing to the undercard was no easy task because Garcia-Matthysse easily could have headlined its own major show. So, it took time for a deal to be ironed out for what almost certainly is the most expensive undercard fight in combat sports history.
But back to that much-debated look on Garcia's face.
"That night I was there as a fan," Garcia said this week after a workout in his hometown of Philadelphia. "I wasn't there scouting no fighter. I wasn't even going to go the fight, but Showtime and Golden Boy said they wanted me to come and I came at the last minute. Yeah, it was a good knockout. I don't understand what people want me to do. Smile? Clap my hands? Start jumping up and down? I don't know what people wanted me to do when I saw the knockout. I laughed at all that stuff I heard.
"I heard a few things and when people were saying all that stuff, I hadn't even been officially offered the fight yet. What people were saying was that he was my mandatory and I should sign the contract right then, but the fight wasn't even offered to me yet."
When Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs), 25, signed for the fight, some even claimed he must have been pressured to accept it. Nonsense, Garcia said.
"When the fight was brought up to me, I said, 'Yeah, if it's the biggest fight and the biggest money, let's do it, that's what we will do,' and I took the fight," Garcia said. "You know me. I never ducked anyone. For me to duck someone wouldn't be in my character. I was very excited for this fight because it's a big fight, a fight people want to see."
Garcia has risen in stature in the past few years because of his exciting fights and quality victories. When he got a chance to fight for a title in 2012, he beat Mexican legend Erik Morales, who was enjoying something of a renaissance, in dominant fashion to win a vacant title (vacant because it had been stripped from Morales the previous day for not making weight).
In his next fight, Garcia took a unification fight with then-titleholder Amir Khan on short notice after Peterson failed a drug test and was dropped from a rematch with Khan.
Garcia was a heavy underdog, but he drilled Khan in the fourth round before giving Morales a contractually obligated rematch. Morales could not last the distance as Garcia flattened him with a monstrous left hook in the fourth round.
Then came the victory against Judah -- who owns a split decision win against 30-year-old Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs).
"[Matthysse] is buzzing a little bit off his last couple of victories, and people are hyping him up," Garcia said. "I think he's a good fighter and has good power, but most of his knockouts were in Argentina, where he didn't fight anyone and built up his record. When he came here [to the United States] and fought people who could hit him back, he lost."
Garcia is referring to the split-decision losses to Judah in 2010 and two-division titleholder Devon Alexander in 2011, although both results were debatable and came in Matthysse's opponents' hometowns.
"Besides Peterson, Matthysse has been knocking people out he's supposed to knock out," Garcia said. "Me, people I beat like Khan, I was supposed to lose. But I showed up. I know I'm gonna get the job done Sept. 14. Every time, I come and win. I show up and fight, and I'm always a winner.
"What happens when I back him up? Can he fight on his heels? The momentum of the fight will change. I will back him up, too. That's what you'll see. I'm gonna come to the fight, and, if it ends in a knockout, it's him getting knocked out because I can't ever see myself getting knocked out. I guarantee you that if he comes out swinging at me like he did against Peterson, he will go down. I think Peterson was scared because he was backing up. I am not scared."
Angel Garcia, Danny's outspoken father and trainer, is just as confident.
"My job is not to worry about Matthysse. I am not worried," he said. "He doesn't put fear in me. His coach doesn't put fear in me. His people don't put fear in me. His country doesn't put fear in me. Nobody puts fear in me. The only one I fear is God. Nobody is beating us, not right now, not tomorrow and not in the future. Believe this, on Sept. 14, Matthysse is going to get his a-- whupped.
"Danny is the most underrated champion there is, and I am the most underrated trainer. But it doesn't matter to me. As long as I know and as long as Danny knows and we're happy, then I don't care what the world says. Matthysse is going to lose Sept. 14. We aren't coming to lose. The best man will win, and it's going to be Danny."
As for the fight taking place on an undercard rather than as a main event, Danny Garcia has no problem with that. Besides the fact that the winner will be the leading candidate to land a fight with Mayweather, Garcia is pumped to be on such a big card.
"I'm very excited to be a part of history and a big event," he said. "I know Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez tickets sold out right away. It's going to be a big pay-per-view. The fight is big. My fight is what the fans and media really wanted to see get made, also, so adding it to the card makes it that much bigger.
"My job that night is to win the fight. I like to fight and my opponent likes to fight, and you put two guys in the ring who like that and you get a lot of fireworks."