Reigning light-welterweight king Danny Garcia believes Mauricio Herrera has no idea what he has gotten himself into when the pair clash this weekend.
The 25-year-old Philadelphia native puts his world titles on the line as he goes in against the tricky Herrera in Bayamon, Puerto Rico this Saturday night, live and exclusive on BoxNation/Showtime.
Returning to the homeland of his parents, unbeaten Garcia has vowed to put on an impressive display in front of the locals and continue his winning streak after noticing a chink in the armour of Mexican-American ace Herrera.
“When I look at him he’s not sure,” said Garcia. “He’s not sure what he’s gotten himself into. I’m sure he trained hard. One thing about boxing is you never know what’s going to happen. I came so far to prove myself and I’m so hungry to get better and continue to keep winning. I’m only 25 years old and at the beginning of my career. Whatever he’s thinking it’s not going to stop me,” he said.
As the current top dog of the 140 pound division after capturing the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine world titles, Garcia has gone from strength-to-strength after bursting to prominence with his stunning victory over Amir Khan in 2012.
That win followed subsequent triumphs as he re-matched Erik Morales, overcame Zab Judah and highly impressed against feared Argentine puncher Lucas Matthysse.
Since his win over Matthysse last September, Garcia has begun to be recognised as one of boxing’s best, something which is only beginning to register with the man himself.
“It’s just starting to sink in, my last couple of fights I showed a lot. In the Judah fight I showed that I could take a punch. In the Matthysse fight it just showed how much more experienced I am and how I can control the fight. I feel I’m growing into being a true champion and definitely one of the best pound-for-pound fighters,” said Garcia.
Over the last year a certain assurance and confidence in the ring has started to take over Garcia, who is enjoying his time in the limelight.
“I’m confident - it’s kind of like you’re on cruise control. You’re adjusting to the bumps in the road. I’m just flying and every time a problem comes I just find a way to get around it. That’s how it is when I’m against contenders. Being a champion is definitely everything,” he said.
Known for his outspoken and blunt nature, Garcia’s father and trainer Angel is expecting his son’s dominance to continue and has written of Herrera’s chances.
“March 15th, [Danny] will still be the undefeated champ of the world,” said Angel. “Herrera, you've got to give him hope. Hope that he doesn't get knocked out. You've got to give the man hope. His family is here. I respect that. They love him. There is nothing wrong with that,” he said.
“But come March 15th [Danny] is still the undefeated champ of the world. This isn't something that just happened. This was a dream, a dream that I had when Danny was a child. Danny is meant to be. Dreams aren't meant to be broken - not this one anyway.
“On March 15th, he will still be the undefeated champ of the world - I will promise you that,” Angel stated.
The 33-year-old Herrera though, who was the last man to beat the WBO light-welterweight world champion, the formidable Ruslan Provodnikov, appears unaffected by the claims from the Garcia camp and knows this fight represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“I started boxing with my two brothers when I was 13 with no gear, bare hands. My father used to watch and get a good laugh out of it. My older brother got me my first punching bag but my mother was the first one that took me to the gym, to a gym at a church. I truly have the support of my family,” said Herrera.
“I trained well, very well. I don't take this fight lightly; fighting Danny is not something to take lightly. But I've fought guys tougher than him for peanuts,” he said boldly.
“My biggest purse before this fight was $30,000. I've worked in construction and other handy jobs. This is my opportunity. This is my chance and I'm not about to let it pass me by,” Herrera said.
“I'm feeling like I'm being overlooked. And maybe part of that is because I'm not really known, nobody really knows me. I mean, the same way with Provodnikov when he went up against [Tim] Bradley, I mean, I've seen comments and hear people say, who's this guy? Who's this ESPN guy? He isn't going to do anything. What is Bradley fighting this guy for? And as you see what happened, you know, it was a different story.
“But I feel the same way, I mean, when people don't know who you are and they see you have some losses, they don't know your whole story and your whole background, and they see a knockout percentage and they go by that too.
“But all that doesn't matter, with boxing anything can happen. And they're going to see that I'm at that level, and that I will rise to the occasion."