By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Zab Judah afforded Danny Garcia the benefit of the doubt on a conference call three weeks ago when he was asked about the legitimacy of the Garcia rib injury that caused their fight to be postponed 2½ months.
Judah wasn’t in as nearly a diplomatic mood Thursday after their press conference fiasco at Barclays Center. The former two-division champion called out Garcia for what Judah considers a bogus excuse for the postponement of their 12-round fight for Garcia’s WBC 140-pound championship (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET Saturday).
“How you pull out the fight two months ago with a rib injury, and now you’re 100-percent, totally fine?,” Judah asked Thursday. “Come on, baby. We know a rib injury takes from six to eight months to heal up. Anyone that had one can tell you that. Nobody believes that. He don’t even believe that. He wasn’t ready.”
The 25-year-old Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) officially withdrew from their Feb. 9 fight Jan. 27, less than two weeks out.
The 35-year-old Judah (42-7, 29 KOs, 2 NC) initially questioned the validity of Garcia’s injury because he had heard rumors and viewed postings on social media websites regarding Garcia partying in his native Philadelphia during training camp and not taking preparation seriously enough. Former junior welterweight champion DeMarcus Corley complicated the situation even more by publicly stating Garcia suffered a thumb injury, not a rib injury, during one of their sparring sessions.
Unfazed by Judah and others questioning his integrity, Garcia gave a detailed explanation during the aforementioned April 1 conference call of what led him to pull out their Feb. 9 fight.
“It was three weeks out to the fight,” Garcia said. “It was Saturday [Jan. 20] and I was fine. I sparred three different guys. I did 12 rounds. After I got done sparring, I had a sharp pain on my side. I thought maybe it was a cramp or something, but when I cooled down I couldn’t I put my hands past my head, because I couldn’t stretch because the pain was so severe. So I went to the ER.
“I got my ribs checked and they said I had a bruised rib. They said that it would take four to six weeks to heal, so I tried to train with it another week. But I couldn’t run or anything because it was taking my breath away. So we had to make the decision [when] I was supposed to spar that Saturday [Jan. 26]. I couldn’t spar, so I couldn’t go through [with] a championship fight not sparring for three weeks, because timing is everything. So we had to make the smart decision and we had to postpone the date.”
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.