BROOKLYN – This wasn't a crossroads fight for Danny "Swift" Garcia. The former World Champion in two weight classes passed that point a long time ago.
The fighter from Juniata established himself when he knocked out Erik Morales to win his first world title, the WBC light welterweight title in 2012.
He rose to headliner status by systematically taking apart "prime time" opponents such as Amir Kahn, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson and Paulie Malignaggi.
Still, Garcia had turned 30 in March, and he entered his fight against Shawn Porter for the vacant WBC welterweight title on Saturday at the Barclays Center without a championship belt.
It was the same title belt he lost in a split decision to Keith Thurman at the Barclays in 2017.
Depending on the result, the fight against Porter represented a Yin and Yang to the question of what's next for Garcia.
With a win over the highly-ranked Porter, Garcia would be in a position to call the shots in arguably the most competitive and best weight class in boxing.
With a loss, he'd become one of several name fighters looking to again rebuild a reputation to climb back up the pecking order.
Garcia now faces the more ominous contemplation.
In a hard-fought battle between the former champions, Garcia could not regain his title belt and lost a unanimous decision to Porter.
The judging was 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 to the anger of most of the 13,058 in attendance.
Garcia can make a credible argument, but Porter simply fought as if he wanted it more. Porter dictated the pace of the fight and boxed his way to the victory.
At those times when Garcia was able to coax Porter into standing toe-to-toe for combat, he withstood the power shots and never got rattled.
"It was a close fight, but I think I came out the winner," Garcia said. "The judges thought different."
The magnitude of this fight in the welterweight division was not lost.
Thurman, who has battled injuries and not fought since beating Garcia, was part of the large crowd and is eager to get a return shot at the title he had to vacate in April.
IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. was also in attendance.
With a win, Garcia likely would have moved on to big-ticket champion vs. champion matchup with Spence or a rematch with Thurman.
That same scenario will now probably go to Porter.
The loss drops Garcia into the mix of a crowded pack.
After going 9-0 in his first nine world title bouts, he has lost his last two. More importantly, he has lost two of his last three fights.
He's in danger of falling down the trail he put others into – a name that other fighters look to build their reputation on.
There will be quality fights out there against welterweights such as Terrance Crawford, Jeff Horn, Jesse Vargas, Kudratillo Abdukakhorov or even ancient Manny Pacquiao. But those would be literally career-saving encounters, undercard bouts for other main events.