With a 29-0 record, Danny Garcia has plenty of happy ring memories to choose from. The three he picked as his Greatest Hits? Three where he came in as an underdog. Clearly, Garcia took it personally.
“I’m always going to have that chip on my shoulder,” he said. “It makes me run the extra mile. Keeps me disciplined. Makes me eat the right foods. It makes me run hills and eat rocks. It helps me stay disciplined and train hard.”
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3 vs. Lucas Matthysse, September 14, 2013, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
Fresh off wins over Erik Morales and Zab Judah, Garcia squared off with the hard-hitting Matthysse, and finally got to him late, knocking the Argentine down in the 11th round. He’d hang on for a close but unanimous decision.
“My whole mindset for that fight was nobody in the world thinks I’m going to win this fight,” Garcia said. “I couldn’t understand what the world sees in him that they didn’t see in me. I’m a strong fighter. I’m a great technical fighter who’s got a lot of skills. I’m an athlete. I only had one mission, and that was to go in there and show the world that I am the best fighter in the world. I went in there and kept my composure for 12 rounds. It was just amazing.”
2 vs. Amir Khan, July 14, 2012, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas
Khan opened a cut over Garcia’s eye early. That was as close as he’d come to hurting Garcia, who really must’ve been motivated by all the underdog talk. He knocked Khan down in the third round and twice in the fourth to earn the stoppage.
“When I fought Khan, I understood why I was the underdog. I was 8-1; I knew I was a young kid. Nobody in the boxing world knew who I was,” Garcia said. “I knew his game plan was to jump on me early because he thought I’d never been on that stage. I expected him to come out fast and throw a lot of punches and try to knock me out early. The game plan was to stay composed, stay sharp, keep your chin tucked, try not to take big punches and time them. That’s exactly what we did. We worked our whole training camp for that big left hook, and we just timed him in the middle of the ring.”
1 vs. Erik Morales, March 24, 2012, at Reliant Arena in Houston
Nothing quite beats getting in the ring with one of your heroes. Garcia was a huge Morales fan when they met for the first of two fights. Both of them would end in Garcia’s favor—the second being Morales’ last fight in a nearly 20-year career—but the first, a unanimous decision, still sticks out in Garcia’s mind.
“I was focused and prepared for the fight, but it really didn’t hit me until I got in the ring with him. Like ‘Oh man, I’m in the ring with Erik Morales right now.’ I learned a lot from that fight.”
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