NEW YORK — Danny “Swift” Garcia made his intentions clear moments after his win by unanimous decision over Ivan Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs) in a welterweight bout Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, and Mikey Garcia are on the list of boxers the Philadelphian wants to fight next as he aims to regain the welterweight championship.
Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) didn’t deliver the knockout, a fact that will be frowned upon by some boxing critics. However, he won convincingly. The judges scored it 118-110, 117-111, and 117-111.
“I thought the referee was gonna stop it because I felt like I was punishing him,” said Garcia, 31. “He’s a tough guy, he hung in there, I wanted to get the KO, but I didn’t get it. I feel like I boxed smart, and I feel like that’s what I needed after this layoff. I really wanted the knockout bad, but I’ll accept this.”
Garcia’s nine-month absence was a big topic entering the fight, and the rust showed. He didn’t want to make excuses, but the opportunities were there to end the fight in the middle rounds of the 12-round bout.
“For some odd reason, it felt like I didn’t have enough energy to step on the gas in the late rounds,” said Garcia.
As Danny’s father, Angel Garcia, said later, he will need that extra step to be victorious against the likes of Spence or Pacquiao.
Garcia said he was not upset about being bitten by Redkach on the shoulder in the ninth round. After the fight, he joked about being the second fighter to be bitten, referencing Mike Tyson biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997.
“I just felt something digging in my skin, I thought a mosquito got me. I look over, and he’s biting me,” Garcia said. “Evander Holyfield, Danny Garcia. Put me in the history books.”
Garcia has six toes on his right foot, and that was also a factor. Blood was dripping from the foot when he removed his shoe after the fight. He said he felt the pain in the middle rounds and it felt like his foot was “burning.”
The biggest takeaway from the bout was the confidence that Garcia gained. Redkach is a southpaw, and Garcia got to see it for 12 rounds. Pacquiao presents a plethora of styles, but he and Spence are both known as southpaws.
“You barely fight southpaws in this game and you barely spar with them,” Garcia said. “My next fight should be a southpaw, and I think that’s great for me because my eyes are going to be even sharper the second time.”
Stephen Fulton, a fellow Philadelphian who won his preliminary bout by unanimous decision over Arnold Khegai (16-1-1, 10 KOs), confirmed afterward what many believed heading into the super bantamweight bout.
“He was actually my toughest opponent in the whole weight class,” Fulton said.
Now that Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) passed the challenge — and convincingly, by 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 on the judges’ scorecards — he’s aiming to become a world champion.
WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete and WBC champion Rey Vargas are two fighters in Fulton’s sights.