Photo by AP Photo/Matt Rourke
By Rich Mancuso
Danny Garcia was home in Philadelphia last week. The three-time and undefeated welterweight champion is the pride in a city known “As the City of Brotherly Love” and last Thursday it wasn’t about defending his titles against Keith Thurman the other premiere champion in the division. Garcia will oppose Samuel Vargas at nearby Temple University on Saturday evening November 12th.
He will main event a Premier Boxing Champions telecast on Spike from Temple University’s Liacouras Center and also fight for a good cause. A partnership was announced with Garcia and the Philadelphia based Philabundance, a well know hunger relief organization and on fight night, that also features former world champion Javier Fortuna, a food drive will be held for people in the Philadelphia area.
Fighting and defending a world title is one aspect about Danny Garcia. He is proud of his heritage and also known to help people in the community.
“Being able to partner with Philabundance is a tremendous thing,” Garcia said. “”At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. When you’re fortunate your job is to give back and change someone else’s life. I’m looking forward to a great night and a great turnout.”
Of course the main emphasis is for Garcia to also give his hometown fans a knockout. He has not been active this year since his January title defense and unanimous decision over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero which can be attributed to a number of aspects associated with the sport. Purse bids and opponents are one thing as Garcia remained sharp in the gym.
But this homecoming fight, and for a good cause are reasons to expect more for Garcia in the next year. Keith Thurman is on the agenda, a fight boxing fans anticipate and eventually the two are expected to meet and put up their respective titles.
However before focusing on his purpose in the ring, Danny Garcia wanted to get the message across about his partnership to help others in need. They know him as a champion but a major part of his story was the struggle to get where he is today.
“Everyone has gone through hard times,” he said. “Everyone has gone through times where they need extra help. We’re going to make a difference that night and it’ll be for a lot of people that really need it.”
The goal is continuing the effort, and Garcia is one who commits to something in and out of the ring. From every ticket sold on this homecoming fight, $10 dollars will be donated to the organization that will provide 20 meals per ticket for people in need.
“I want to thank the city of Philadelphia,” Garcia said. “I’m just excited to fight at home. This card is going to allow a lot of great local fighters to be on a big stage.”
Of course the center of attention will be how Garcia handles Vargas, 25-2-1, of Columbia who resides north of the border in Toronto Canada.
“I’m a guy with just over 10 amateur fights and I’ve made it this far,” said Vargas. “Danny Garcia is my chance. I have to make the best of it and give it my all. This is everything for me. I’m an underdog and I have been my whole life. There are very few options for a Latin immigrant all the way up in Canada. I beat the odds to make it up there and have a life and family.”
Garcia, though will be looking to take care of business, and the hometown fans will be seeking that knockout. He is a slow starter, and perhaps some hometown cooking will get the early finish in his first fight at home since October of 2010 at the South Philadelphia Arena.
So, the prevailing question is about Keith Thurman. Garcia will not look past Vargas.
“I can’t look past Samuel Vargas and I know his trainer has a couple of tricks up his sleeve. I know Vargas knows how to win. He’s won a lot in his career. I’m going to go out there and just fight. If it goes the distance, then it does. I can’t underestimate him.”
On Thurman, he said, “ People are acting like Keith Thurman has a cape like Superman and can fly. I want the other champions to think I’m vulnerable. These are my easiest fights. I have to get past this fight to get to the next one.”
But boxing needs to see Garcia oppose Thurman. There are no commitments as of yet and of course the talks will pick up after this homecoming fight. Garcia just wants to give back to his city and take it from there.
“Come November 12,’ he said, “we want to give the city of Philadelphia a night to remember. I can’t overlook this fight, but I guarantee that i’m going to unify the titles at 147 pounds soon.”