|Q & A with Danny Garcia: Destined to be First Philly Latino World Champ!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (April 6, 2011) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor, Doghouse Boxing)
Danny “Swift” Garcia was winning titles at the age of 17 in 2005 he won the Under-19 Nationals and the Tammer Tournament (FIN). In 2006 he won the US Nationals. He was the 2007 Olympic alternate with an overall amateur record of 107-13.
This writer contacted J. Russell Peltz, Hall of Fame promoter www.peltzboxing.com, John DiSanto, editor of www.phillyboxinghistory.com and historian Chuck Hasson. Also contacted were veteran writers Jeff Jowett, KO Obermayer and Philadelphia Daily News writer Bernard Fernandez. Only thing of note were there were no Latino’s in the PA HOF.
We remembered my all time favorite fighter and Hall of Fame’s Carlos Ortiz coming to Philly and stopping Lenny Matthews. We remember Jose Basora coming to Philly and boxing to a draw with the greatest fighter pound-for-pound in “Sugar” Ray Robinson. There was Miguel Barretto who came to Philly in two classic wars with “Gypsy” Joe Harris. All three lived in New York at the time they came to the City of Brotherly Love.
Today there are two Latino’s who started in 2007 out of Philly. This story is about Garcia who has fought out of the Harrowgate Boy’s Club in the tough Kensington section of North Philly. The other is Ray “Tito” Serrano who jumped into the welterweight division as a professional. He will also have his first main event at Philly’s Asylum Arena April 1st.
Currently Gabe “King” Rosado, 15-5, who trains out of the same gym as Serrano is scheduled to be in his third main event next month for Peltz in Atlantic City. His first main event was under the banner of the Bionic Bull Promotions in South Philly in a 6 rounder and then a USBA title bout in July of 2010 for Peltz.
Garcia has only made 140 once but in 20 fights has never gone over 144. He is unbeaten and has stopped 14 of his opponents. He is currently ranked #9 by the WBC and #12 by the IBF organizations. His promoter is Golden Boy. His father Angel is his long time trainer. He is one of the most underpublicized trainers and one of the best out of Philadelphia. He has some very good young fighters in the amateurs but doesn’t want to thin himself out due to being with his son. He keeps calm in the corner and is all business.
I approached both Garcia and Serrano several weeks ago at the Mid-Atlantic boxing tournament at Front Street in North Philly to see if they would be willing to do something and both agreed. Both are very approachable.
Last year this writer did a “Fab Five” story on “Hammerin” Hank Lundy, “The New” Ray Robinson, Rock Allen, Garcia and Serrano. All were unbeaten and all with outside promoter’s. Lundy and Robinson have tasted defeat while Allen hasn’t fought since. Garcia and Serrano have yet to lose.
Garcia was highly touted and one of the few Puerto Rican’s that Golden Boy signed up having a mostly Mexican stable of fighters. It took until his fifteen fight before Garcia came to Philadelphia before his hometown fans. In his first and eighth fights he fought in nearby Atlantic. Due to the luxury of Golden Boy Garcia has fought on the undercard of championship fights.
In turning professional in November of 2007 in Atlantic City Garcia stopped Mike Denby, 0-0-1, in 1:08 of the first round. The main event was for the WBO 130 title between Soto and Guzman. The following month he would be at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas stopping Jesus Villareal, 1-2-1, in 2:28 of the second round under the Mayweather-Hatton main event. Garcia was rubbing shoulders with some of the best fighters in the world.
In his fourth fight under the Pacquiao-Marquez main event he stopped Charles Wade, 4-4, in Vegas. He stopped Guadalupe Diaz, 4-2-1, in 1:53 of the first round under the Calzaghe-Hopkins main event. Five knockouts inside of two rounds may look good but one gets very little experience from this. So, the competition was stepped up against Julio Gamboa, 28-12-2, in May of 2008 with Garcia winning all six rounds. His promoter De La Hoya was defeating Forbes in the main event.
Garcia’s eighth fight was in Atlantic City where this writer got a look at him up close. The hand speed in landing combinations were incredible in defeating Deon Nash, 5-5, winning every round in a six. Nash’s ten opponents were 58-24-1 overall. The current names and records of four of these fighters are Ty Barnett 18-1-1, Luciano Silva 17-1, Aris Ambriz 14-1-1 and Jermell Charlo 14-0. All four boxers could not stop Nash. Then “Swift” Garcia would stop him in the third round for Nash’s first loss stoppage in his eleven fights.
The next eleven fights would be against opponents with winning records for Garcia. Stopping opponents when you have quick hands and boxing ability is not always what the fans want to see. They want to see the skills that Garcia possesses. People are born with knockout punches but boxers are developed thru blood sweat and tears. Garcia has said “it’s a lifestyle not a game”.
Garcia’s tenth fight would be his first 8 rounder. It was under the DeLaHoya-Pacquiao main event ending Oscar’s career. While several others under the Golden Boy banner were losing for the first time Garcia kept on winning. In June of 2009 Garcia would be in the semi-windup stopping Pavel Miranda, 16-3, in the second round. Miranda had held the WBC light welterweight Youth Title. Both fighters were over 140 so no title was at stake.
Veteran Oscar Leon, 28-9, was next in Houston, TX. Leon had lost back to back world and interim split decisions to Derrick Gainer and Chris John. He defeated Ira Terry, 21-1-1, prior to the fight with Garcia. The fight was stopped just before the end of the third round.
In December of 2009 Garcia would fight in Philadelphia for the first time at Temple University Liacouras Center under Hopkins-Ornelas. This writer walked away saying “Garcia was the fighter of the night”. He knocked out Enrique Colin, 29-5-3, in 0:55 of the second round. Colin had defeated Mike “No Joke” Stewart and went 10 rounds with then unbeaten Demitrius Hopkins. No one was talking about Bernard Hopkins main event win after the show. It was Garcia’s name they were talking about.
Next being on another ESPN show Garcia would be in the co-feature against Ashley Theophane, 25-3-1, in El Paso, TX, in probably his toughest fight winning a 10 round split decision. Theophane is currently the #11 welterweight in the IBF. This writer didn’t even feel it was close with Garcia winning without a doubt. Commentator Teddy Atlas must have been looking at a different fight. He has been critical of Garcia’s opponents in the past. This fight should prove to that he can beat a quality fighter.
Theopane had won six straight including defeating former WBO light welterweight champion DeMarcus Corley. After this fight Theopane would win his next three fights including winning the vacant IBO welterweight title and defeating USBA welterweight champion Delvin Rodriguez in a non-title bout. Theopane is from the UK and was making his second US appearance.
Garcia would be back in Philadelphia in May of 2010 against Chris Fernandez, 18-9-1, in the main event at the South Philly Arena. This writer had the pleasure of interviewing him at the Harrowgate gym prior to the fight. He and his father were very gracious in giving me the time.
Garcia would travel south of the border in his next bout stopping Jorge Romero, 17-2, of Mexico, in Cancun. Under those conditions his punching power came in handy though he was ahead on all three judge’s scorecards at the time of stoppage. He would win the interim WBC Youth World welterweight title in his victory.
In Garcia’s fourth fight of 2010 he would return to the same Philly location. His opponent was former title challenger Mike “The Greek” Arnaoutis, 22-6-2, who lost his USBA title in 2009 to Victor Ortiz, a stablemate of Garcia’s. Arnaoutis had gone 10 rounds in his previous fight with Philly’s Demitrius Hopkins but was in with a fighter of a different class in this one. Garcia dropped Arnaoutis in the third round and for good in the fourth at the 1:05 mark. This was his last fight of 2010 in October bringing his record to 19-0.
In Garcia’s last fight he was in the main event in San Diego, CA, in February knocking out John Figueroa, 7-8-3, of Puerto Rico, who had lost decisions to Carlos Molina, 13-0, and Luis Ramos, Jr., 16-0, in his last 2 fights. It was the first time Figueroa was knocked out.
On April 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Garcia will put his 20-0 record on the line in meeting the former WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell, 33-7-1 (25), in a 10 rounder. This will be shown for free on HBO prior to the HBO pay channel.
The Garcia’s are a close knit family. Prior to the Q&A his mother brought the twin sisters over. A photographer was there as Garcia had the pair of them hanging from his arms off the ring mat. Garcia was kind enough to do a Q&A with this writer.
Ken Hissner: Over the last 12 fights spanning a two year period all of your opponents have had winning records with only 4 opponents overall having losing records. Is that important to you when your fans ask who you are fighting and may not know the name but consider the record?
Danny Garcia: I like to fight opponents with winning records. My fans also expect it.
Ken Hissner: Were you aware there has never been a Latino inducted into the PA HOF?
Danny Garcia: No I wasn’t.
Ken Hissner: I noticed when I last saw you your family were also attending the amateur fights.
When your beautiful twin sisters get older and their dates come to the door will you be there for approval with your boxing gloves on?
Danny Garcia: I won’t have my gloves on but I will be at the door. (That is when father Angel cut in and said Danny will take them to the gym and if they beat Danny they can go out with them)
Ken Hissner: Has your father trained you from the beginning?
Danny Garcia: Yes. Started at 8 and due to personal problems came back at 10.
Ken Hissner: I watched the Ashley Theophane fight and couldn’t believe it was a split decision. I gather ESPN’s Teddy Atlas is not one of you admirers? Does that bother you when he sees a fight one way and you see it another even later on tape?
Danny Garcia: As long as he gets paid to give his opinion I have no problem with it.
Ken Hissner: I see you are ranked No. 12 in the IBF ratings at 140. Since you have only made that weight once in your career would you get down to that for the right fight like a Zab Judah?
Danny Garcia: Campbell is first. A Judah fight later would be nice.
Ken Hissner: Do you have much contact with your manager Al Haymon or Golden Boy?
Danny Garcia: I have a good relationship with them.
Ken Hissner: Did you have any concerns when in July of 2010 you traveled to Mexico to fight their Jorge Romero, 17-2 for the interim WBC Youth World welterweight title about getting a fair decision if it came down to it?
Danny Garcia: I had no idea until I got there that they have no commission. No one even checks hand wraps. I was concerned. (Angel: I knew ahead of time but figured it would be a test for Danny to show them what he’s got. After he wins they don’t want to interview him because he doesn’t speak Spanish. We are Americans. We speak English.
Ken Hissner: Have you seen your next opponent the former lightweight champion Nate Campbell whom you fight April 9th in Las Vegas fight much?
Danny Garcia: I was trying to get a copy of his last fight but haven’t gotten it yet.
Ken Hissner: On a personal level I noticed at Front Street Gym quite a few of the young ladies had their eye on you. I’m glad none of them were judging the fights. Is there anyone in your life you would like to share her name with to your many fans?
Danny Garcia: I have been dating Erica Melendez who now goes to E. Stroudsburg. She is from this area.
Ken Hissner: In closing is there anything you would like to say to your many fans?
Danny Garcia: Tell my fans I bring something new to the fight game. I have a lot of speed and power. I expect to be the next super star.
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