Danny Garcia isn’t frequently acclaimed as one of the best fighters in the world. Part of that, perhaps, is that one of his few faults as a boxer is that he can fight down to the level of his competition.
But Garcia, who at 32 years old is a veteran of 13 years as a professional, is 36-2 with 21 knockouts. His only losses came on close decisions to Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman.
He lost a unanimous decision to Porter on September 9, 2018, though the judges agreed on only four of the 12 rounds. It was that kind of a fight.
His first pro loss came to Thurman on March 4, 2017. That was a split decision that easily could have gone the other way.
If those fights had gone his way, there would be a lot more attention being paid to his pay-per-view fight on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against IBF-WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
Spence is 26-0 with 21 knockouts. If it were two undefeated fighters going head-to-head for supremacy in the welterweight division, the entire world would stop for it.
As it is, it’s an excellent fight that got heavily overshadowed by the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. exhibition match. But of the three pay-per-view shows the Premier Boxing Champions has put on this fall, this is by far the best and most compelling main event.
And a big reason for that is the perennially underrated Garcia, who is nagged by things he could have done better not only in the two fights he lost but also in the fights in which he won.
“Always,” he told Yahoo Sports. “Even fights that I won, I look back and say I could have done something better. You always feel like you could have done something better. Those are two fights that I could have won, and that I feel like I won. But they’re in the past now and I really can’t do nothing about it. I’m really focused on [Saturday] now and that’s my main goal now.
“Everything I’ve done in the past, it doesn’t really mean anything any more. I have to go in there on [Saturday] and [understand] this is my new future.”
Spence seems to be on a collision course with Terence Crawford, the WBO champion who is also undefeated. After Spence’s fiery accident in October 2019 in which his sports car tumbled end over end, Spence is lucky to be alive.
Crawford said he didn’t want to fight Spence in the first fight back after the accident because he felt if he won, he wouldn’t get the credit for it because the accident would be used as an excuse.
Saturday will mark Spence’s first fight since that fateful night, but Garcia had no problem. He was scheduled to fight Spence previously, before the accident, and said he felt it made sense to move ahead with it.
Garcia frequently hasn’t gotten credit for his accomplishments and so he doesn’t worry about it. He believes Spence wouldn’t have taken the fight were he not healthy and ready to show his skills.
“That doesn’t concern me at all,” Garcia said of fighting Spence in Spence’s first bout since the accident. “At the end of the day, I’ve been training hard and I’ve been preparing myself for the best Spence. That’s all that matters to me. My job is to win no matter the circumstances.”
Garcia is a healthy underdog at the MGM Grand Sports Book, where Spence is -450 and Garcia is +340.
It shows a level of disrespect for a fighter who has been among his sport’s best for at least eight years.
Garcia shrugs it off because he knows the opinions of others don’t matter. Even his outspoken and often profane father, Angel, is taking it in stride as they prepare for the bout.
“There’s never been a fight that we’ve taken lightly,” said Angel Garcia, who also trains his son. “We’ve always taken everybody seriously and of course that’s the same for this fight. We don’t change things; we just multiply fight by fight. Danny has always been the underdog. Whether it was Amir Khan or Lucas Matthysse, it don’t matter. He’s only the underdog because Spence is undefeated, but that doesn’t mean anything when we get in the ring.
“What really matters is that once Danny lands his shots, will Spence be able to handle them? I’m not worried about anything that’s being said on the outside. If Danny throws a straight right and hits him flush, Spence isn’t getting up. Spence hasn’t been hit yet. I respect every fight, but Spence has only really fought three guys that people know. Just look at all the fighters Danny has fought. That résumé matters.”
They both have strong résumés and this fight is one that is comparable to any of the best welterweight bouts of the decade.
Garcia may finally get credit for his talent should he pull off the upset, but he’s not worried about it.
He’s a fighter’s fighter and so when the bout ends, his first thought won’t be about having proven anyone wrong.
It will, as it always is with Garcia, be about this:
Source: Kevin Iole| Combat columnist