by David P. Greisman
Danny Garcia’s rib injury that caused his Feb. 9 fight with Zab Judah to be postponed is a legit injury, according to his sparring partner, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley.
Corley unwittingly got caught up in the controversy when he gave an interview shortly after the postponement was announced, explaining that Garcia had suffered an injury — to his thumb.
“We were in there sparring all last week, and Danny threw a body shot, a right body shot towards me, and I used — I put my elbow down to block the body shot from getting hit with it,” Corley had told TheKoncreteJungle.com. “He caught it on the thumb, on his right thumb, and he was having problems with it for the last whole week.
“So he was icing it and everything, and he had a therapy guy come in […] and then it swelled up as he continued to spar. So they went to the doctor, and the doctor said, ‘No, it’s not a good idea to do the fight,’ because it’s going to get worse if he throws the punch and Zab blocks the punch with his elbow.”
But Corley says there were indeed two injuries, and that those conspiracy theorists who believe that Garcia was faking being hurt in order to push back the Judah fight are off.
Corley, who is 39-20-1 with 23 knockouts, spoke to BoxingScene.com in Atlantic City in the early hours of Feb. 17, shortly before the post-fight press conference for Adrien Broner’s win over Gavin Rees got under way.
BoxingScene.com: You were sparring with Danny Garcia. I know there was an interview done where you said that there was an injury to his thumb. Garcia said it was an injury to his rib. There was some controversy over his injury. Do you want to clear the air?
Corley: “We can clear it up, yes. Danny did have an injured thumb leading up to the fight, but that wasn’t the reason why the fight was called off. We were working two weeks before the fight, and Danny had done his 12 rounds. He was in the 12th round and was sparring me. I hit Danny with a great body shot, and he made this noise after I hit him.
“After the round was over with, he said [strained voice] ‘Good shot, good shot.’ He said ‘You hurt me.’ I said, ‘I know.’ I said, ‘The first day we sparred and I got up here in camp, you hit me with the same shot and you hurt me.’ But our bodies recover differently. I heal faster than Danny.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you make of the conspiracy theorists who came out and thought that Garcia was making stuff up or was trying to get out of this fight?
Corley: “Oh, not at all. He wasn’t trying to get out of this fight. Danny was ready for this fight, 100 percent. I helped him get ready for it. I was looking forward to seeing this fight come through. But things happened in the gym leading up to this fight — it was a great shot that I hit Danny with. He’ll recover. He’s getting back in the gym within one or two more weeks, and I’ll be back in Philadelphia training with him.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you make of Danny Garcia as a fighter?
Corley: “He’s a very humble guy. He’s quiet. He’s not the arrogant fighter like some fighters are. Danny, he likes to wear his little flash, but that’s what normal fighters do.”
BoxingScene.com: But that’s him as a person. What do you make of him as a fighter?
Corley: “He’s a great fighter. He’s world champion. He’s proved that he should be on that level with the other fighters at 140 pounds, which is Zab Judah. This is going to be a great test for Zab, because Danny is a younger fighter.”
BoxingScene.com: You know Zab, you go back with him. How do you think Danny fares against him?
Corley: “Danny’s dad likes to put it out there; he likes to piss people off. So there’s more getting underneath of Zab’s skin when Danny’s father gets on the mic. Danny does more talking in the ring, and not outside of the ring.”
BoxingScene.com: But do you think Danny beats Zab, or Zab beats Danny?
Corley: “It’s a 50-50 chance, if Zab fights the smart fight, which I know he can do — which is box. He has to box Danny and keep moving. Danny has to apply pressure and cut the ring off and let his hands go, and if Danny does that, I think he will catch Zab in the later rounds, I think between the 8th and 10th rounds, and the fight will end by knockout. But if he can’t catch Zab, then Zab will win by split decision; he’s going to steal it.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]