by Keith Idec
NEW YORK — While Angel Garcia was busy degrading and taunting Zab Judah at a press conference Saturday to officially announce the bout between his son and Judah, others close to Danny Garcia have reminded him that this will be a difficult fight.
Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer for Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, just hopes Philadelphia’s Garcia (26-0, 15 KOs) heeds his advice as he begins training camp for their Feb. 9 showdown at Barclays Center in Judah’s native Brooklyn.
“I think anybody who underestimates Zab Judah does so at his own risk,” Schaefer told BoxingScene.com. “He’s very dangerous. He still has the speed, he has the power and, I think, just from talking to Zab the last few times when I saw him, he is mentally at a better place today than he’s been for a long, long time. I think he’s matured, he is more relaxed, approaches things with a little bit of a different outlook. And I think that makes him an extremely dangerous opponent for Danny Garcia — I mean, extremely dangerous.”
The 34-year-old Judah (42-7, 29 KOs, 2 NC) might even be more dangerous than usual because he has to realize he is running out of opportunities to change his legacy as a talented underachiever who mostly has lost his biggest fights.
The powerful southpaw became the mandatory challenger for IBF 140-pound champion Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) by stopping previously undefeated Detroit contender Vernon Paris (26-1, 15 KOs, 3 NC) on March 24 in Brooklyn. Judah opted to challenge Garcia for the WBC title, though, because he was offered more money for that higher-profile fight in his hometown.
Meanwhile, Schaefer has been extremely impressed with Garcia’s remarkable run in 2012, which includes spectacular knockout victories over against England’s Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) and Mexico’s Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) in his past two fights.
“You look at Danny, nobody really gave him a shot against Amir Khan and we all know what happened,” Schaefer said. “He just stood in there. He’s another tough guy. He took those punches from Amir Khan, like Guerrero did with Berto, and he just had that will to win. When a fighter goes into that ring with that will to win, where they refuse to walk out of that ring with anything else but the win, they’re tough to beat. And that’s what Danny Garcia is, he’s very confident.
“I think knocking out Amir Khan, and then ending the career of Erik Morales, for a young fighter who’s undefeated and all of that, that gives him a lot of confidence. But I think going into this Zab fight, I think it’s very important that he’s not going to be overconfident. You don’t want go into a Zab Judah fight overconfident. That’s what I told Danny. ‘Don’t take this thing easy. Just because people say Zab lost every big fight, that doesn’t mean he’s going to lose this one.’ ”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.