Philadelphia is called “The City of Brotherly Love”, well there’s no brotherly love when it comes to their fighters; intelligent, slick, counter punching, tough as nails boxers hail from Philly. WBA, WBC Jr. Welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia is no different. In the last 10 months he has added his name to the city’s extensive list of title holders.
Danny was destined to be amongst the elite of the sport which was evident in March when he took on Eric Morales to capture his 1st world title and again when he KO’d Amir Khan 4 months later. The rise to stardom was not an overnight sensation kind of thing. Since he was 10 years old his father, former fighter Angel Garcia has been grooming him for this opportunity. He walked into Harrowgate Boxing Club and never looked back, it’s been a success story ever since. “To tell you the truth man, I’ve been knocking kids out since I was like 85 pounds, I’ve been strong my whole life as an amateur 85 -95 pounds I’ve been knocking guys out. I got tape of when I was a little kid just dropping people and putting them down and just knocking them out, one punch. I think it’s just in my genetics maybe my ancestors are Hercules cousins (laughing). I don’t know where it comes from, but I think it’s just in me, I think something you’re born with, some people are born fast, and some people are born strong, some people born smarter than other people. I guess that’s what I was born with, the strength,” Garcia stated.
That power Danny speaks of helped him decorate his mantle with several amateur championships. In 2005 he won the Tammer Tournament and Under-19 National championships. 2006 saw Garcia become U.S. National Champion and he continued his winning ways until turning professional in late 2007.
This father-son tandem has been a firestorm through the pro ranks for 5 years now and an end to the reign is nowhere in sight. There have been many instances where the son strays away from his father training him for personal and professional reasons. Danny credits a lot of his success to the relationship he and his father have in saying, “A lot of father son relationships don’t work out in boxing because I’ve seen it with my own eyes. A lot of fathers tend to put a lot of pressure on the kids and just like when they go home they talk about boxing, in the gym they talk about boxing. I think as a trainer, as a father you have to know when to separate it, and let him breathe and respect them outside of the gym as a man. I think what it is when you training a fighter in the gym and he’s your son, you can say whatever you want to him in the gym because you know he’s going to listen to you in the gym. I think a lot of the reasons why fighters move away from their dad as a trainer is not because they’re not training them good or he’s too hard on him in the gym, I think it’s just because outside of the ring it’s how they treat him. Everything’s always boxing, everything is always this, it’s always that, it’s like they don’t have a friendship, it’s I’m the trainer and I’m your dad. I think as a trainer in a father son relationship you have to have a friendship outside of boxing. I think that’s what me and my dad have we have a friendship. We go out together we go to the club together, dance have fun and we can go to boxing and be serious. When it’s time for boxing, it’s boxing and when it’s time for business, it’s business when it’s time for fun, it’s fun so we know how to separate it and we understand each other. Me and my dad, we just have a special bond a lot of people don’t have that. But I think that’s the advice I can give to any father son relationship. It should be a friendship and knowing when to separate boxing from your regular life.”
Along with being his trainer, Angel is his son’s unofficial spokesman. While he does the talking, young Danny backs up his father’s words. If you have followed Danny’s career you have seen pops in action. It was never more on display then the days leading up to the Khan showdown. Danny insists that his father’s actions aren’t a distraction, “No, it doesn’t bother me because I guess I prove that my dad was right about everything that he was saying. At the end of the day, it was one of those things where my dad was talking, but before I won the fight they would call him an idiot and after the fight they were calling him a legend. I guess it’s one of those, he really did back it up and he’s doing his thing. You hated him before now you love him after. I don’t know man I let my dad be him and I do me and we really don’t care what nobody says,” Garcia remarked.
At first it looked like Garcia bit off more than he can chew with Khan. The speed difference was an obvious advantage for Amir and he established it from the get go, he was able to beat Danny to the punch. “I definitely lost the first two rounds, Khan’s a fast starter, he’s a fast fighter but we knew that and we trained for that. Freddie Roach kept saying how much of a slow starter I was and how he (Khan) was going to jump on me and knock me out early. I’m a slow starter but I don’t come in the ring cold, there’s a big difference. I’m warm so you just can’t hit me with a clean shot and knock me out cold, just like the Morales fight he was winning the first couple of rounds he was out smarting me. Kendall Holt, he beat me the first two rounds; I think my last 3 fights they beat the first few rounds. I take just a little longer then some fighter to adjust but like I said I don’t go in the ring cold so you can’t knock me out. I’m warm, I’m just a slow starter and we knew he (Khan) was going to do that we just had to keep our composure and use our timing,” Danny stated.
Going into the 3rd round Danny was clearly losing and seemed like he would be outclassed. But like Garcia mentioned, he had to keep his composure and time Khan’s punches. Also, after Khan throws he brings his hands back low and Danny was able to land a left hand to drop Amir in the 3rd which changed the course of the fight. Even after dismantling Khan in the 4th to finish him, many said that the initial left that Danny landed to hurt Amir was a lucky punch. “Man I was so much of an underdog anything I did would of been lucky, if I would of hit him with a jab, oh that was lucky. If I would of hit him with a right hand, oh that was lucky. In no one’s eyes at the end of the day I supposed to win. If he would have hit me with the same hook it would have been, oh Khan knocked Danny Garcia out and that would of been the end of the day. But since I was so much of an underdog and nobody was giving me a chance to win the fight anything was going to be lucky, but me and my dad, we trained for that. We trained the whole camp countering the right hand with the left hook when he’s in the center of the ring and that’s exactly what I did. A lot of people say hey Danny Garcia was looking away or he had his head down, but I was always taught to punch with your chin down. What do you want me to punch with my head in the air? And with my face turned it’s like the whole motion is like you just take your whole body with it. If you look at it when I first threw the left hook, I’m looking right at him and then as I was throwing it that’s when my whole body turned and my face turned with it. That’s how they teach you to move, punch with your chin down, man that was a perfect shot,” Danny said.
Now Danny finds himself a week away from defending his crowns in a rematch with future hall of famer Erik Morales. The first fight was a one sided unanimous decision for the youngster with scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 116-112. With a rematch clause in the first fights contract Danny will be taking a rematch against a past prime fighter that he already bested. Though it was a good fight to watch it’s not what who the boxing community wanted to see Danny get in the ring with. That being said Danny expects another exciting fight, “To be honest I think it’s going to be a better fight then the first fight man. He’s expecting me to come hard and I know he’s going to go hard. He better make weight this time or I’m going to make him lose it. Believe it or not those last two pounds man, he came in the next day 155 pounds, those last two pounds he just saved a lot of energy because you know it takes a lot of energy to lose that extra weight and it saves your chin. I’m expecting a better fight, he thinks he knows me better, and I think I know him better. He can train harder, I’m training harder. I think I could have did a lot of things better you know, it was my first on HBO against a legend for the title. You know I was a little hesitant but this time I feel like I’m having no respect for him,” The Champ exclaimed.
That might sound disrespectful and as if he’s big headed but trust me Danny knows what he has in front of him come Oct. 20th. A chance to retain his title against a Mexican great like Morales is nothing to look past. Danny illustrated that by emphatically declaring, “I still feel the same, I still feel hungry. That’s the main reason why I’m a champion. I still got a lot to prove, I’m not comfortable in life yet. I was the underdog these last few fights, I took the pay cut from these last two fights. So I’m still hungry like I’m not even the champion and I’m ready to destroy whoever they put in front of me. I still feel like the underdog I’m going to always be the underdog.”