By Jake Donovan
A year ago, Danny Garcia was merely viewed as a promising contender who may or may not have been ready for the best the 140 lb. division had to offer.
Today, he stands tall not just among the best but now the leader of the pack. Wins over Erik Morales and Amir Khan have dramatically changed public perception of the unbeaten Philly fighter, who is enjoying the view from his newfound role in the driver’s seat.
“It definitely changed,” Garcia says of his still young career and how he is perceived by the boxing fraternity. “Now I get the respect that I deserve. A lot of people didn’t respect me. They didn’t think I was a true champion. Now I proved to the world that I’m one of the best.”
His dramatic knockout win over Khan in July proved to be an industry-wide eye-opening affair. Questions still surrounded his career following a points win over Morales in March, in which he looked good but didn’t leave a lasting impression.
Rallying back to drop and stop Khan in Las Vegas over the summer changed public perception in a big way. It also cast a brighter light among the network brass at Showtime and HBO, both of whom remain interested in showcasing his talents.
His past two bouts in 2012 – both on HBO – came on the B-side of the marquee. On October 20, he is viewed as the headlining act for his rematch with Morales, which airs live on Showtime from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The bout tops a televised quadruple header from the brand new home of the Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets.
Garcia’s first fight with Morales saw his legendary opponent come in over the weight and making no efforts to shed the extra poundage. Garcia conceded for the sake of keeping the fight alive, which was his first shot at a major title.
Now a unified titlist and viewed as the best 140 lb. fighter in the world, the 24-year old Garcia gets to call the shots heading into next Saturday’s affair. If Morales isn’t already hard at work to meet the contracted terms for the rematch, he will be in for a rude awakening should there be any more drama at the scales.
“I’m not worried about (Morales),” Garcia said of the possibility of his opponent once again missing weight. “If he comes in overweight he has to lose weight. It has to be fair this time. I worked hard and he has to work hard. Last time he was the champion and he didn’t care. This time it’s different.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox