BAYAMON, Puerto Rico (AP) – Danny Garcia successfully defended his two 140-pound titles Saturday night in a 12-round slugfest with Mauricio Herrera.
Garcia's improved to 28-0 in the fifth defense of his WBC light welterweight crown and fourth of his WBA belt. He received winning scores of 116-112 from two judges and the third had the fighters even at 114.
Garcia's right eye was swollen after the early rounds and his nose bloodied by a big shot from Herrera (20-4) in the ninth. Fighting his way off the ropes, the champion rallied with some solid shots to end the round.
"I just needed to keep my composure and throw power shots," Garcia said.
It wasn't an easy fight for Garcia, a Philadelphia native with deep Puerto Rican roots who was driven on by a raucous crowd of more than 10,100 in his mother's hometown.
"Of course it was an advantage," Garcia said.
The 33-year-old Herrera threw and landed slightly more punches than the 25-year-old champion, but Garcia finished with a wide edge in power punches.
Both fighters remained active in a bout that picked up pace and quality in the later rounds. Herrera couldn't match Garcia's power, but his toughness and guile was evident.
"I felt I won the fight. I thought it was close, but I thought I won," Herrera said.
"He's a crafty veteran," Garcia said. "I just had to make adjustments."
The title defense was seen as a stepping stone to bigger paydays and is sure to spur talk about a potential showdown with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Garcia said after the fight he may consider moving up to 147 pounds, saying coming in heavy for Saturday's fight may have hurt his performance.
Still, he's happy to leave his parents' homeland with his belts in tow.
"Everybody comes after me. They want what I got," he said.