One thing about Danny “Swift” Garcia: He can absorb criticism as well as he can a left hook to the jaw—no matter if the verbal shots come from boxing fans, pundits or even fellow fighters.
Since announcing that he’ll face Samuel Vargas (25-2-1, 13 KOs) on November 12 in a 10-round non-title bout at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in his native Philadelphia (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/PT), Danny Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) has come under fire for his choice of opponent.
Among those critical of Garcia were fellow 147-pound champion Keith Thurman and fast-rising contender Errol Spence Jr. While Spence mocked Garcia on Twitter for facing a guy he knocked out 18 months ago—Spence stopped Vargas in the fourth round in April 2015—Thurman took aim at his contemporary for what he believes is a pattern of taking on soft competition.
“It’s always up to his Daddy [trainer Angel Garcia] who he fights,” says Thurman, who is coming off a unanimous decision over ex-champ Shawn Porter in a Fight of the Year candidate. “If Danny Garcia wants to go ahead and tread lightly like he’s on thin ice, I ain’t going to be mad at him.
“But I know I can beat Danny Garcia, and I think Shawn Porter can also. I think there’s at least five welterweights that can beat Danny Garcia.”
Thurman will get his chance to prove his claim soon enough, as he and Garcia are set to get it on in a title unification bout on March 4. It’s a mega-fight Garcia says he’s very much looking forward to, but not necessarily because he’s eager to silence his critics.
In fact, if the verbal bombs lobbed by Thurman, Spence and countless others are bothering Garcia, you wouldn’t know it.
“It’s only right for guys call me out,” says the 28-year-old Garcia, who became a two-time world champion with a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in his most recent fight in January. “I’ve been on top the longest, so I’m the leader of the pack. Right now, I’m focused on Vargas before [moving on to] Keith Thurman and bigger things in 2017.”
“ Danny knows he’s the No. 1 king. But just like at 140, they don’t give him respect and talk about him like he’s a nobody. ” Angel Garcia, father and trainer of 147-pound champ Danny Garcia
No matter what side of the Garcia fence you reside, this much isn’t debatable: Of the last 12 opponents he’s faced (and defeated), nine were current or former world titleholders. The list includes Erik Morales (twice), Zab Judah, Amir Kahn, Paulie Malignaggi, Lamont Peterson and Guerrero.
Not surprisingly, Angel Garcia believes his son’s résumé speaks for itself.
“Danny knows he’s the No. 1 king,” he says. “But just like at 140, they don’t give him respect and talk about him like he’s a nobody. We like when the odds are against Danny, though. He makes his toughest fights look easy.”
It’s true that betting against Danny Garcia has been a losing proposition to this point in his nine-year professional career. And Angel Garcia, who has been training his son since the age of 10, insists that won’t change against Vargas. Or, for that matter, Thurman.
In fact, the Garcia-Thurman showdown is more than four months away, but that won’t stop the always-brash trainer from making a very bold prediction.
“Khan was way better than Thurman, who will go for the knockout with big right-hand haymakers for three rounds. But Thurman’s going to be shocked when Danny makes him eat it,” Angel Garcia says. “Third round, Danny’s gonna start jumping on his ass, hurt him to the body like [Luis] Collazo did, and then Thurman’s getting knocked out cold in the fifth round.
“After that, if [Floyd] Mayweather comes back from retirement and wants to [fight Danny Garcia], we’ll take that fight, too. Danny wants the top guns in the division.”
Danny Garcia echoed that sentiment, and while he stopped short of providing any bulletin-board material himself, he did make one thing very clear: He’s not afraid of anyone, including Thurman.
“People are acting like Keith Thurman has a cape like Superman and can fly, but he ain’t done anything I haven’t done,” Garcia says. “But I want the other champions to think I'm vulnerable. Those are my easiest fights.
“Right now, my goal is to unify at 147 [pounds] like I did at 140. The road starts with Vargas.”