by David P. Greisman
Danny Garcia’s parents were born in Puerto Rico. He still has family there. So when Roman “Rocky” Martinez lost his world title last year, ostensibly leaving the island without a world titleholder, Garcia begged to differ.
“I hear a lot of people saying Puerto Rico has no champions??” Garcia tweeted in November. “Wrong! You got me. 100% Puerto Rican.”
Garcia, a Philadelphia native, says he went to Puerto Rico as a kid and also returned in recent years.
“I don’t think it’s fair that you can say I’m not a Puerto Rican fighter because I wasn’t born in Puerto Rico, when my blood is Puerto Rican,” Garcia told reporters on a March 5 conference call. “So I had to let the fans know, ‘Hey, I’m a Puerto Rican fighter, and that’s just the way it is.’ March 15, that’s why we got this fight in Puerto Rico, to solidify me as a Puerto Rican champion.”
Garcia will headline against Mauricio Herrera at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to fight in Puerto Rico, just to reach out to my fans in Puerto Rico, because I am Puerto Rican,” Garcia said. “They don’t have a champion right now, so I think this came at the perfect time, to go over there and show the Puerto Rican fans that they have a true champion.
Later, he added: “It’s very exciting, because this is where my family’s from. This is where my roots are from. I always asked Richard [Schaefer] to fight in Puerto Rico. I think this is very special to me. This is one of my dreams … to go over there and fight in front of all the Puerto Rican fans is going to be amazing. I’ve never fought in an arena where every single fan was mine. And March 15 is going to be very special to me, and I’ma deliver.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]