At a Wednesday press conference in the gym of Danny “Swift” Garcia, 28-0 (16), the first Latino Philly born boxer to hold a world title, that being both the WBC and the Super WBA light welterweight titles, he obliged the press to ask questions. In the meantime his father/trainer Angel Garcia was being interviewed on a Latino TV station.
I only had one major question and that was “who” picked Rod “Lightning” Salka, 19-3 (3), of Bunola, PA, as your opponent? He answered “my manager”. That manager being Al Haymon, who has signed some 50 boxers to contracts this year in addition to Floyd “Money” Mayweather already being under contract to him.
Why after coming off possibly the most controversial fight of his career in March defeating Colombian Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico would a non-ranked boxer both in the WBC and WBA get chosen with the hope one of the two groups would then rank him? Both Garcia and his father admit it was not the best performance the younger Garcia had though both feel it was enough to be called the winner. The majority of writers and boxing connected people I’ve talked to including myself would have to disagree that Garcia should have gotten the decision over the now interim WBA champion who since the loss has recently defeated the No. 1 contender Johan Perez.
One would have thought it would be Garcia defending against the No. 1 contender since he hasn’t done so since September of 2013 in defeating Lucas Matthysse, of Argentina. Normally the organizations insist on the top contender or interim getting that shot once a year. Garcia is a very likeable young man and though sometimes outspoken, and always having his son’s back, his father Angel has always been a gentleman and straight shooter to this writer. Also, possibly the young champion’s biggest fan, his mother, has always been sociable whether at the gym or even amateur boxing events.
Whereas Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. is giving a rematch to his last opponent who I thought deserved a draw is getting a re-match, Garcia’s manager doesn’t seem to see it that way. Being he is a person that doesn’t do interviews one can’t ask why he came up with this opponent when there were 15 other ranked opponents to choose from. Both Mayweather and Garcia proclaimed “if the people want a re-match I’ll give them one” with Mayweather accommodating the fans! I’m sure if Garcia had his way he would do the same.
I even asked half-jokingly “when you ended up in a non-title bout did your “friend” Hank Lundy, also of Philadelphia being the (No. 14 ranked boxer in the WBA) call you? He responded with “every time we meet he acts like a good friend and then trash talks me on Facebook.”
Garcia even walked Lundy into the ring in Atlantic City in Lundy’s 2012 loss to underdog Raymundo Beltran for the NABF title. Beltran would go onto fighting a draw with then WBO champion Ricky Burns in the latter’s home country in September of 2013 with no rematch ordered. Burns in his next bout would lose his title to Terence Crawford leaving Beltran “out in the cold”. I didn’t see Burns or Lundy asking for a rematch with the tough Beltran.
Even though I am against Philly vs Philly in the pro ranks there are quite a few of us who would like to see Danny shut the mouth of the boisterous Lundy in a real fight. “I told him to fight his way up the rankings like everyone else,” said Garcia. If that’s true, then why fight the unranked Salka? Originally Garcia’s promoter Golden Boy thought they had a title fight. I still think they haven’t gotten over the fact that a Puerto Rican beat Oscar’s Mexican boxer Erik Morales not once but twice. When your fighter win’s a title you don’t say “you could have done better” like De la Hoya did to Garcia after their first fight. He was obviously upset after the fight from what I saw. It’s no secret Puerto Rican’s and Mexican’s mix like oil and water.
Garcia’s opponent joined the Air Force after 911 hit in 2000 we were told and since turning professional in 2007 has only had 21 fights with only 3 knockouts. Seems like a “safe” opponent though Garcia remarked “anyone has a chance in the ring, same in a street fight.”
Just one title fight in 10 months is not what Garcia needs to build up his image when it comes time to move up to the welterweight division. “I’m coming in at 142 for this fight and maybe 144 and 146 after that working my way into the next division,” said Garcia. I expressed that in Salka’s last fight he only came in at 132 ½ (for the FECARBOX lightweight title in April). He’s also lost 2 of his last 6 fights including to then 39 year-old Dorin Spivey in 2012.
IBF champion Lamont Peterson is also on the August 9th card defending his title against No. 13 contender Edgar Santana who is ranked No. 12 on the WBA rankings that Garcia is champion. I brought it to the attention of Garcia that Peterson’s No. 1 contender who just won an elimination bout with the champion is Argentina’s Cesar Cuenca, 47-0 (2), (who per the IBF as of 8/25 will start negotiating with the winner for their next defense), who is 2 shy of Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0 retiring as the unbeaten champion. He wasn’t aware of Cuenca who has never fought out of his home country.
After the questions before Garcia was to start his workout I left due to a previous engagement but felt Garcia needed more than a non-title bout and if he was having one over 140 than why not against a true welterweight? I’m sure fellow Philly boxer the “New” Ray Robinson (No. 9 WBO and No. 10 WBC) would accommodate him since his delusional management team believes both Pacquaio and Mayweather are “shaking under their beds” when they hear Robinson’s name. You have to wonder sometimes how some of these so-called decisions by “boxing people” are in charge.
Garcia is only 26 and his good friend and part-time Philly resident (main home in DE) Bernard “Alien” Hopkins, at 49 could probably give him better advice on who to fight having currently holding both the WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles.
No matter what Garcia will be on the August 9th card in a 10 round non-title bout on Showtime and instead of 3 “world” title bouts at what he calls his “home away from home” the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, there will be a pair of title fights on top.
Though it seems like a “no win” situation for Garcia fighting Salka, the thoughts of a pair of win’s over Cuenca (47-0) and Mayweather (46-0) back to back with both at 48-0 would give boxing a lift and the name Danny “Swift” Garcia right up there with the best of them! He could be the king of Brockton, Mass, the home of not only Italian resident “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler but the late unbeaten world heavyweight champion the “Brockton Blockbuster” himself, Rocky Marciano!