Saturday, April 01, 2023  |


Danny Garcia still feels he has something to prove

Fighters Network

Danny Garcia (R) en route to his unanimous-decision win over Lucas Matthysse in September 2013. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

It’s never going away. Not in Danny Garcia’s mind. As another challenge looms, the little whimsical smirk will surface once again. So will the words – and Garcia doesn’t have to look hard to find them: disrespect, forgotten, underestimated, overlooked.

It’s a shade hard to think any differently when certain things are ingrained into you. In Garcia’s case, they were drilled into him. The young amateur that used to go crying to his dad after his name was routinely forgotten as the walk-over tournament champion is still there, hidden deep.

It’s a place Garcia (29-0, 17 knockouts) frequently visits. And one he’ll summon again when he climbs through the ropes and steps into the ring with Lamont Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs) this Saturday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. It’s a place he’ll display for the informed and uninformed on primetime TV.

Since Garcia and Peterson will be fighting at a 143-pound catchweight, no junior welterweight titles – neither Garcia’s WBC, WBA and RING Magazine belts nor Peterson’s IBF title – will be stake.

What could be is the destiny of both fighters.

Garcia could possibly be seen by more viewers than any of his previous fights. He will be in the featured bout of the NBC Premier Boxing Champions broadcast, coupled with the preliminary middleweight title fight between WBO titlist Peter Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs) and Andy Lee (34-2, 24 KOs). It gives him an opportunity to leave last year behind.

Danny Garcia vs Herrera 1 casino

Photo by Tom Casino

Garcia feels somewhat dogged by 2014. He opened the year with a controversial victory over Mauricio Herrera in March, fighting for the first time in Puerto Rico, where his father and trainer, Angel, originates, and closed it by chopping up club fighter Rod Salka in two rounds in August.

What was frustrating about 2014 was that Garcia was coming off his best year as a pro in 2013, beating Lucas Matthysse and Zab Judah. There was even talk in some circles that Garcia had an outside chance of winning the Floyd Mayweather Jr. sweepstakes – something Garcia felt he richly deserved after his 2013 campaign.

But then 2014 came, and the doubts about “Swift” began drifting back again. The tearful amateur resurfaced. The words came back at him in sharp whispers. Admittedly, the 27-year-old struggled more than he should have according to most fight accounts, some even going as far as to say Garcia’s majority decision against the awkward Herrera was a gift.

“Yeah, I heard it, but I try not to pay too much attention to some of the things that the media says, because regardless of what I do, I know I’m never going to win. So I win in the ring,” Garcia said. “That’s how I get back at the haters. I’m beginning to realize the more success you have, the more the haters are going to look at you.

“I know and have faith and trust with the people who have always been around meÔÇöthe ones I can count on, like my dad, my brother, and guys who have always been with me. That’s what counts – what they say and think. And I know they’ll always support me. I know I won that fight (against Herrera).”

Garcia could use his victory over Matthysse as a point of reference. Swift had a fairly easy time with the slugging Argentine when they met on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard in September 2013; his father was one of the few who believed he would win.

“I’m ready to make a statement with this (Peterson) fight, but I’m not ready to say because I beat [Matthysse] I’ll have an easy time with Peterson,” Garcia said. “I know I have to go out there and dominate. I also know this is a different fighter and a different situation I’ll be faced with. I’ll be ready for whatever. If he wants to try and box, I’m just going to have to be a lion stalking him down. If he wants to fight, everybody knows I can do that, too. I can adjust to anything.”

So if there is a frenetic pace – Garcia can temper it; if Peterson wants to slug, he’s okay with that. It’s not a problem for Garcia, but it could pose a problem for Peterson.

“That’s why Garcia is so good, he’s really not that great in any one area, but he’s good doing a lot of things,” said Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer. “I like Danny’s will to win. We know he’s beaten the odds several times. So has Lamont. Lamont can do a variety of things, too. But both of these guys know what’s stake. I think it’s a fight that means everything to both of them.”