By Rich Mancuso
Danny Garcia the three-time champion at super lightweight, junior welterweight and now the WBC holder of their welterweight title remains focused and ready for major fights at 147, a division in the sport of boxing that has some of the elite fighters looking for supremacy. And he will be at ringside Saturday night at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn when undefeated WBA 147-pound champion Keith Thurman takes on former champion Shawn Porter.
The championship fight will be televised live on CBS Sports primetime and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Floyd Mayweather has supposedly retired as the first undefeated champion since Rocky Marciano, and Manny Pacquiao has claimed his boxing days are over. Those two of course were considered the faces of boxing and last year staged the biggest grossing fight in boxing history.
However for Garcia, (32-0, 18 Ko’s) the quest is to get better, and the 27-year-old, known as (Swift) from Philadelphia Pennsylvania has many more lucrative fights awaiting on the table. Who the next opponent will be could be in the ring Saturday night. He won the vacated WBC crown from Robert Guerrero back in January and in the meantime stays sharp in the gym, concentrates on his new business ventures and is the proud father of a newly born baby girl.
“Right now I am focusing on my clothing brand and barber shop,” Garcia said recently from his home in the northeast part of Philadelphia. He is also building a two-unit apartment complex and as he says, “Just trying to build an empire.”
The empire is also constructed around what he does best, and that is defending his title. He recently vacated the 140 junior welterweight division which also has some of the elite fighters in the sport. But there was always an issue of maintaining weight, and at 147, Garcia is more comfortable and may be at his best.
“I’m done with 140,” he said. “I’m not looking back. I am a three-time world champion with five title defenses. There are no excuses now at 147.”
And there really have never been any excuses when Garcia was fighting the best at 140, though two years ago against Lucas Matthysse he had a difficult time in winning a unanimous decision in a defense of the title. He scored a tough decision over Mauricio Herrera, a fight that many said could have gone either way as one judge had the 12-round fight even on the scorecards.
But those fights, as Garcia says, are in the past. Now at 147 there is Porter or Thurman possibly waiting in the wings and it could be a lucrative fight and a meeting Pacquiao, the eight-time division champion was not far from being made.. Garcia is not considered one of the best in the pound-for-pound discussion, and that is not his doing as rating fighters always comes from a subjective point of view.
The young and rising superstars of the sport, who Mayweather said were next in line will eventually await. Kell Brook, the other champion at 146, Thurman and there is always Timothy Bradley Jr. who all make for good opponents, opportunity, and lucrative fights for Garcia, and it could be a matter of time when Danny Garcia gets that status as a “pay-per-view commodity.”
He may not earn the revenue Mayweather compiled, but this is boxing and you never know.
The one important aspect of his career now is getting more exposure, though Garcia has always had a fan base of supporters watching at ringside and at home.
Within the last year, and with his first fight and win over Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York, Garcia has been handled by the promotion known as “Premier Boxing Champions”
Those who follow boxing know that the Premier group has revived the sport to a new level and getting fighters exposure on the national television networks with prime time telecasts. Many of the popular cable networks have jumped on the bandwagon and very involved with Premier including Fox Sports, the NBC Sports Network, Spike, and Bounce TV.
So boxing is getting the needed exposure, and that can only help the continued and successful career for Garcia now that he is opposing some of the most elite fighters in the sport,
Garcia says boxing is in a new era without Mayweather and with PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) reaching a new fan base, it does not hurt the sport. The ratings have been respectful and opening the door for more fighters to also get exposure that has been lacking over the years.
“PBC it’s great. You know on regular television that’s big for boxing reaching a fan base never seen before in years. There are some people I talk to who have watched boxing and said they are thankful it’s on TV. It’s great for boxing to make it bigger. The ratings don’t lie.”
And it can only get better for Garcia and the sport has made him more responsible as a businessman and father. His daughter almost a year old, “Philly”, named after his home town, is making his goals that more important.
“I always loved boxing as a little kid,” he says. “I loved competitive sports Football, basketball. Always saw guys who won belts. Stanley Cups, (Hockey), Super Bowls (Football), and NBA (Basketball.) It was a dream to win that for me. The money came as I grew older and realized as I grew older the value of the dollar and how much money you need to live.”
That of course added to his motivation to become a better person, fighter, and now as a father.
And an important aspect to all of this is, Garcia and his heritage. He is proud to be a fighter of Latino descent, many who are champions, representing Puerto Rico, though he was born in Philadelphia. Danny, his father and trainer reminds him of the Latino culture and their influence on the sport.
He mentions the late Hector Camacho, the recent boxing Hall of Fame inductee who is credited by many Latino fighters for getting them started. Camacho, tragically passed away three years ago and opened the door to many of the elite champions in the sport who originated from Puerto Rico.
“Hector Camacho really opened the doors for fighters like me,” said Garcia. “Hip Hop and flamboyant and flashy. He really opened the the doors to a lot of Puerto Ricans. I’m proud representing the Puerto Ricans here and all around the world. I’m just happy to be Latino and representing America.”
He says, to those who want to follow what he has accomplished: “Dreams come true. With hard work anything is possible. Always be a leader and not a follower and take it one day at a time. Like I said before, boxing is about timing.”
All a matter of time before Danny Garcia becomes a great champion at 147. And the boxing world awaits as Danny Garcia can only make the division more exciting.
And the Garcia prediction about the big fight Saturday night: “I think this is a great matchup. Thurman has the boxing ability and the movement while Shawn Porter is the aggressor and he’s going to bring the heat. To be honest with you it’s a 50-50 fight, but I would give the edge to Keith Thurman by a very close decision.”