Danny Garcia enjoys fighting again

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Former welterweight champion says he has fully rebounded from his first-ever loss and ready to have some fun Saturday night in his WBC title fight vs Shawn Porter on Showtime.

PHILADELPHIA — From a distance, the uncontrollable laughter sounded as if they were watching Philadelphia comedian Kevin Hart do a stand-up routine. The echo wafted through almost every corridor of the DSG boxing gym. They couldn’t help themselves. Each time they rewound the video, each movement, each punch, each lunge and each jab came with more foot stomping and more belly grabbing, as Danny Garcia and his father and trainer, Angel, looked at the 2015 Shawn Porter-Adrien Broner fight.

Every time Porter moved, it generated more laughter from the team, as they gathered around the office computer in Garcia’s gym a month prior to his welterweight showdown with Porter for the vacant WBC 147-pound title.

Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) was breaking down Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) before they meet this Saturday night in the main event of a PBC on Showtime card (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Barclays Center—and suffering from an extreme case of the giggles, so much so that his eyes were tearing.

“He’s nothing, he’s a joke, and I really can’t help myself laughing,” said Garcia between chortles, pointing at Porter on the computer screen. “He doesn’t have a style. He doesn’t really do anything, except maybe wrestle and bounce around like a bunny. The last time I looked, this is boxing, not wrestling. I’m familiar with Porter’s style. I think I remembered seeing that when I was around 10-years-old when I was a little kid first learning how to box.

“I know I’m a better all-around fighter than Porter is. I’m hungry. I just have to fight a smart fight and dictate the pace. I don’t think I got Hollywood a little bit there (before the Keith Thurman fight). I just didn’t feel like I was having any fun boxing anymore. This fight with Porter is bringing that love back again.”

After the Thurman fight, Garcia said the grind from boxing made him far more serious than he likes to be. Training became a chore. Boxing became a vocation, something he felt more compelled to do rather than something he wanted to do.

That came out in the way Garcia, whose nickname is “Swift,” spoke and carried himself. It came out in the way he prepared.

Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer, saw a difference in his son the boxer, too.

“I noticed some things,” Angel Garcia said. “I'm always used to Danny smiling, and laughing, and having a good time when we’re together. He wasn’t like that for a time there. I want to say I was the cause of that, because I said some things before the Thurman fight, and I was being called all of these names, how I’m racist and everything.

Against Brandon Rios, I was having fun again. I didn’t want to go back to the gym for months after losing to Thurman. This camp for Porter has been a long camp—and it’s been great. Former Welterweight Champion Danny Garcia

“That began to take a toll on Danny and it’s something I regret. The last thing I want to do with any of my children or grandchildren is put them through any kind of pain. I’m watching myself now and I see Danny is back having fun again in the gym. We’re really looking forward to this fight.”

He won’t admit it, but he possibly needed the jolt in falling to Thurman by split-decision in March 2016, losing both the WBA and WBC welterweight titles. It was a bout that Garcia freely admits that he didn’t start fighting until about the fifth or sixth rounds.

The “true” Danny Garcia emerged then—and he’s been back ever since.

“It was just a switch that I hit,” Garcia said. “I can’t be specific why I started to feel that boxing was a job. The sport is in me. It is part of me. I wouldn’t say I lost my love for the sport, but I would say losing to Thurman has brought back my motivation.

“I know what Danny Garcia could do. I thought I did enough to beat Thurman. But the first six rounds, it wasn’t me. I just didn’t feel like myself. Against (Brandon) Rios, I was having fun again. I didn’t want to go back to the gym for months (after losing to Thurman). This camp for Porter has been a long camp—and it’s been great.

“I’m just happy it’s not that hot today.”

Then a smile creased Garcia’s face. It radiated a vitality that connoted enthusiasm. He was about to work out and he couldn’t wait.

“You miss everything, you miss the smell of the gym, even though my gym doesn’t stink, hitting the bag, jumping rope,” Garcia said. “Whatever I have to do to win this fight, I’m going to do. That’s my belt. There was a lot that comes with boxing at a high level, and I think I let some of that get to me.

“I think it’s accurate that I’m back to who I am—who I really am. Danny Garcia, who I am, didn’t go anywhere. I got too serious. That’s what happened to me. I don’t like being serious. It took my personality away. I like to laugh, I like to joke and I like to laugh again. That’s what I’m doing. I’m laughing again. I’m a blessed person, who has a great family and great friends around me.

“I know what I have to do. I have to be me. Everyone knows I’m a good counter puncher. He knows I’m a good counter puncher. I’m going in there on September 8th and beat the hell out of this guy.”

For a closer look at Garcia vs Porter, check out our fight page.

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