by David P. Greisman
Danny Garcia is going from beating well-known names such as Zab Judah, Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse to facing a lesser-known opponent in Mauricio Herrera. Not only that, but the March 15 fight will be a homecoming of sorts, with Garcia headlining in Puerto Rico, where his parents and grandparents are from.
Is there any danger of a letdown for Garcia in the ring now that he’s such an overwhelming favorite to win? Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions very well might just have been doing his job as promoter of selling the fight, but he told reporters on March 5 that the ingredients are there — including the opponent.
“Suddenly it’s like reverse roles. Danny has always been like the underdog and never really got, I think, the credit he deserves. But with his last performance against Lucas Matthysse, he changed a lot of people minds and opened a lot of people’s eyes,” Schaefer said.
“So I think he’s going to be in a different position, and that certainly is something. From a training point-of-view, I’ve talked to other fighters before when you do fight somebody where you are the favorite, do you really maybe skip a step here or skip a step there and say that really shouldn’t be too difficult after everybody else I fought? From a mental point of view, I definitely think that could be the case, but you need to ask Danny that question.”
(Reporters would indeed do so, and we’ll get to that later, but here’s more from Schaefer first.)
“Going to Puerto Rico might look like an advantage. His homecoming and first time fighting there in the place where his parents were born,” Schaefer said. “But that might be not necessarily a positive either, because what that does, it puts tremendous additional pressure on Danny to perform, because he obviously wants to get the approval of the Puerto Rican people, and he obviously wants to perform and entertain in front of the Puerto Rican people.
“And as I said before, that’s where you enter Mauricio Herrera, who is a known spoiler and who knows how to take advantage of [those who are] maybe cutting a step here or there in training, or the added pressure in Puerto Rico. Mauricio is going to come with everything to gain and nothing to lose, and these are the opponents who are the most dangerous.”
Garcia, for his part, said that he is approaching this Herrera fight with the same mentality that brought him to where he is now.
“I train hard for every fight. I put 110 percent in the gym. All I know is hard work and dedication,” Garcia said. “I know what I bring to the fight. I know how hard I work in the gym. No matter who believes in me and who thinks I’m going to win and who thinks I’m not going to win in future or past fights, I know what I’m capable of doing. I know how hard I work in the gym. And that’s why every time, at the end of the fight, I come out victorious, because I know the pain and sacrifice that I put my body through to win these fights.”
There will be additional promotional duties that come with this role for Garcia in this location. But again, he brushed off the potential implications.
“We’re not going to get distracted,” he said. “We know what we got to do. We’re going to do the same thing we always do. We’re going to stay focused until fight night, and then we’re going to get the job done, and then after that we can make the trips and go visit whoever we want to visit.”
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]