Danny Garcia said he has something to prove on Saturday.
The North Philadelphia native is an underdog. Just like the Eagles were during their Super Bowl run. Just like Garcia was before knocking out Amir Khan and defeating Lucas Matthysse via unanimous decision.
A chip is on Garcia’s shoulder. It’s a chip that he’ll carry Saturday night into the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, against welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
“We’ve been the underdog our whole career,” Garcia said Wednesday on Inquirer Live at Lunch. “It always gives you that extra motivation when you don’t feel like pushing yourself.”
The biggest question surrounding Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) is his health after a scary car accident on Oct. 10, 2019, that resulted in his white Ferrari flipping multiple times. He was ejected from the car and suffered multiple broken jaw bones.
Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) won’t buy into that unknown narrative. He has no clue if Spence will be the same fighter with the elite jab and world-class hand speed or a less than that.
“At the end of day, I know what I can do,” Garcia said. “I’m one of the best boxers in the world, and I have to just go out there and show it.”
A smart fighter with a devastating left hook is who Garcia is. But he thinks his resume also reveals that he’s more battle-tested than Spence.
Spence is younger at 30. Garcia, 32, said he’s just entered his prime after all the prominent fighters he’s shared the ring with.
Matthysse was one of boxing’s most devastating punchers. Khan was expected to win. Zab Judah was older, but he was no pushover. Erik Morales took two swings at Garcia. Each fighter missed over a four-year period as Garcia had seven title defenses.
It wasn’t until Keith Thurman ended Garcia’s 33-0 start with a split-decision victory, and Shawn Porter defeated Garcia via unanimous decision that Garcia went down.
But life has a weird way of working. Those two fights, along with those others, are reasons why Garcia is confident against Spence, who has five title defenses of his own.
“I feel like I’m just a better fighter,” Garcia said. “I’m battled-tested, I have more experience. I’ve been in championship fights, and I just feel like the time and everything is in my favor.”
Garcia’s had an effective camp working alongside his father and trainer, Angel Garcia. Conditioning was a big part of that. During his interview with The Inquirer, Garcia had a towel draped over his shoulder to wipe sweat after a treadmill run in his quarantined hotel room.
In January against Ivan Redkach, Garcia was expected to get the knockout. He declared that he would, but it never came. Garcia said afterward that he was tired after a long layoff between fights.
If he gets tired against a fighter of Spence’s caliber, it won’t be a fun day at the office. Twenty-one other fighters can attest to the power-speed combination that has made Spence arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.
“I feel great,” Garcia said. “My mind has been in the game the whole year. I feel like I’m in a good space right now mentally and physically.”
Fighting during a pandemic is challenging, but Garcia and Spence’s fight will include almost 11,000 fans. The Fox pay-per-view cost is $74.95 for what is expected to be one of the best fights of the year.
It’s a chance for Garcia to use his experience, and Spence’s opportunity to show that he’s still “the truth.”
Philadelphia is currently void of a boxing champion even though several fighters are on the cusp of ending that. The former two-division champion Garcia will have his chance next.
“You learn from your downfalls and mistakes,” Garcia said. “All of those up and downs got me to here. ... Saturday night, one of the biggest stages in boxing.”