Danny Garcia promises he will not take Ivan Redkach lightly
Boxing lessons still arrive, despite the age of the fighter, who the fighter is facing, or where the fighter is. Former two-division world titlist Danny “Swift” Garcia received a stunning reminder of just how harsh boxing can be, when he sat ringside last Saturday night and watched his friend and fellow Philadelphia compatriot, Julian “J-Rock” Williams, get knocked out in the fifth round against Jeison Rosario in a fight no one but maybe Rosario’s family and team thought he could win.
Garcia (35-2, 21 knockouts) will be facing a similar test in 33-year-old Ukrainian Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach this Saturday at Barclays Center in a 12-round WBC welterweight title eliminator in the main event on Showtime Championship Boxing (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Like Rosario, Redkach (23-4-1-, 18 KOs) is a heavy hitter who can rock Garcia, and has enough experience to upset Garcia’s plans to remain relevant in the Errol Spence Jr. sweepstakes, or keep him in contention as a possible future opponent for WBA welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao. Then, there are also the possibilities of Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter rematches.
Garcia has options—if he wins.
He knows what can happen if he suffers another setback. Since beginning his career 33-0, he’s gone 2-2 over his last four fights, losing each time he stepped up, dropping decisions to Thurman, in which Garcia started slow and had to make up for lost early rounds, and a unanimous decision to Porter in which he lost on two scorecards that were 115-113.
Redkach is riding a three-fight winning streak, coming off probably his best victory as a pro by vanquishing former welterweight titlist Devon Alexander in six last June.
As added incentive, and maybe making him a tad extra leery, Garcia sat and watched Rosario do something no one expected him to do, like no one expects Redkach to do—that’s win.
“I’m ready, I feel good,” said Garcia last Saturday back in the dressing room area of Temple University’s Liacouras Center before J-Rock’s ill-fated title defense. “I know this guy (Redkach) hits hard. I’m not looking past him, I can guarantee that. Hey, I’m just trying to take it one at a time. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. I’ve been that way my whole career. I know that you can’t overlook anyone. I’m totally locked in on (Redkach).
“I’ll say this, too. I feel stronger. I feel like my new conditioning coach has really been able to help me with different kinds of strength training. We’re hitting different muscle groups and it definitely showed against (Adrian Granados). I know about (Redkach).
“I caught some highlights of his fight against Devon, but not the whole fight,” said Garcia. “I saw the full (John) Molina fight though, and I know what I’m up against. Molina caught him, but before that, (Redkach) was doing well. He just got careless. I just have to be on my A-game and make no mistakes.”
Garcia was the first to ever stop the sturdy Granados.
“We’re just working hard and working smart. We’re making the necessary adjustments for Redkach specifically, but this is just another fighter in front of us,” Garcia said. “I noticed that he’s really hungry. He obviously wants to win, and he’s coming off of three solid victories. He has his confidence back now. I just have to be ready for whatever he brings.
I want to show everyone I’m still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. If I overlook (Redkach), it could ruin everything.”
A lesson he saw firsthand last Saturday.