Danny Garcia arrived at Burlington Coat Factory in Center City on Tuesday morning to outfit three families with winter coats. But the families were not there. They were stuck in traffic, someone told the light-welterweight champion from Juniata Park.
"People in Philly are always late," Garcia joked. "They're going to show up when we're leaving."
The families arrived and Garcia and his father, Angel, helped them grab coats, scarves, and gloves. The champ, as his father calls him, paid for it all. The Garcias then packed coats into cardboard boxes and drove them to Hunting Park's Casa Del Carmen. The Catholic Social Services family center is a few blocks from Garcia's childhood home. Garcia handed out coats to families at the center, digging through a pile to find the right size and style.
"Any one of those kids could've been me," said Garcia, 26. "Everyone who comes from this area is in the same position. I know when I'm giving them jackets that they really need them and they really appreciate them."
Garcia lived in Hunting Park before moving to Juniata Park. He said his family would stay warm in the winter by sleeping in the same room around a portable heater.
The idea to have a coat drive came from a conversation Garcia had with his manager, Al Haymon. The manager - one of boxing's most powerful figures - told the champion he should give back to his community. Garcia had already planned to speak at a school Tuesday afternoon, so he added the coat drive to make it an all-day event.
"We were both thinking the same thing except he was thinking coats and I was thinking kids," Garcia said. "We just came together and made it happen."
Garcia has not fought since August, when he knocked out Rod Salka in Brooklyn. He fought just twice this year. It was the second straight year that Garcia fought twice in a calendar year after five straight years of at least three fights. Garcia (29-0, 17 knockouts) expects to fight again in February.
He said he does not know his opponent or where the fight will be. Garcia is the unified light-welterweight champion, but his last bout was fought two pounds above the weight class' 140-pound limit. He hopes to contract his next fight at 144 and then fight in the 147-pound welterweight class.
Freddie Roach, the trainer of Manny Pacquiao, said he would like Pacquiao to fight Garcia if Pacquiao is unable to broker a deal with Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao fought last month and likely would not be ready for a February bout.
"We could do that," Garcia said. "I can't remember the last time that Pacquiao fought a fighter in his prime with speed and power. So it would be a great fight and I feel like I have the perfect style to beat him."