COMMENTARY | Danny Garcia has worked himself to the unlikely position of top dog in the stacked junior welterweight division. Always regarded as a solid prospect with a bright future, the 24-year-old from Philadelphia climbed the division fast and hard with decisive wins over Amir Khan, Kendall Holt, and Erik Morales. Now, the young boxer-puncher sits in the unique position of being able to pick and choose his next opponent-- and he has chosen Zab Judah, three-time former junior welterweight champ and former welterweight titlist.
The February 9 Garcia-Judah match-up, in and of itself, is not much more than a time-filler. It's a solid bout between a young champion looking for another big name on his resume and a 35-year-old veteran who is, at this point, not quite good enough to beat the elites, but too good to go away quietly. Normally, a fight like this would be a fairly quiet affair, really, little more than a transitional bout for Garcia as he positions himself for some major challenges later in 2013.
Enter Angel Garcia, Danny Garcia's loud-mouth father and head trainer.
The elder Garcia has proven himself to be an annoying and increasingly explosive presence at press conferences and media functions. Loud and uncouth, Garcia appears to be the yin to his son's yang and the kind of headline-grabbing figure a usually quiet fighter needs in order to sell fights these days.
Recently, at the initial Garcia-Judah press conference, Angel Garcia took the mic first and once again proved himself to be one of the sport's best pound-for-pound agitators.
Shortly after giving thanks to God for his blessings, Garcia would launch into an attack on Judah's credibility as a fighter.
"Every time he's stepped up, he's lost," Garcia said at the podium. "I give him credit, he's gonna be work for Danny...I say Zab goes down in four or five..Zab's a four round fighter, he knows that."
Shortly after that, things got messy as Judah, who was sitting next to the podium stood up to answer the attacks.
"He's gotta fight, not you, " Judah responded. "...I got more knockouts than he got fights."
Then, with Angel Garcia and Judah standing face to face, words got even more heated and a mass of people, including Bernard Hopkins, separated the two sides.
Once order had been restored, Danny Garcia took the mic and finally spoke for himself:
"Come February 9th, I'm gonna show you how to respect your elders. I'm gonna punish you...I let my father do the talking and I back it up...You're gonna be laid out flat."
Press conference brawls are a dime a dozen in the history of big time professional prizefighting and even the nastiest rarely produce public animosity that goes beyond the actual fight night. But Angel Garcia is a unique character in that regard. Crude and offensive, Garcia hits low and makes matters worse because he appears to really, truly mean the nasty things he says.
But Judah was right on one thing, Angel can't enter the ring. And once Danny Garcia and Zab Judah square off, it'll be 100% about boxing. The heated words and press conference posturing will be long forgotten.
Realistically, Garcia should beat Judah. It's Garcia's time to shine and Judah, while still talented and accomplished, always seems to come up short against elite fighters.
However, it's entirely possible that the dismissive nastiness at the press conference could serve as inspiration and provide clear focus to a fighter whose greatest weaknesses have always been a lack of focus and fire in the ring.
Whether Judah can pull off the upset on February 9 remains to be seen, but it's entirely possible that, one day, Angel Garcia's mouth will wake up a sleeping giant and provide the inspiration for his son's defeat.
(Watch the Video of the Press Conference, HERE)
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Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Garcia-Judah Press Conference, Courtesy of Boricua Boxing
- Sports & Recreation
- Danny Garcia
- Zab Judah