By Keith Idec
Danny Garcia assured anyone who would listen Saturday night that he’s not ducking Errol Spence Jr.
A significant faction of fans and Spence himself doubt Garcia’s willingness to fight the unbeaten IBF welterweight champ later this year. Garcia disputed that contention following his ninth-round stoppage of Brandon Rios at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
“I don’t duck nobody, bro,” Garcia told a group of reporters prior to the post-fight press conference. “I don’t duck nobody. If you wanna fight, let’s fight. Like I said, Al Haymon’s the manager. If you wanna fight, let’s fight. I’m a fighter. That’s what I do, I fight. Everyone they ever put in front of me, I fought. I never said no to no one.”
Garcia disagrees with the theory that even top welterweights don’t want to get in the ring with the powerful Spence (23-0, 20 KOs).
The 2012 Olympian dominated and stopped former two-division champ Lamont Peterson after seven one-sided rounds January 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Philadelphia’s Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) won a debatable, 12-round majority decision against Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) in March 2015 at Barclays Center.
Spence is scheduled to return June 16 at an undetermined venue in the Dallas area, but he doesn’t have an opponent. The southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, could make a mandatory defense of his title that night against Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs).
“I don’t think nobody’s avoiding him,” Garcia said regarding Spence. “You’ve gotta understand – no fighter makes his own matches in boxing. Boxing is handled by managers and other people like that. But like I said before, it’s a fight that’s eventually gonna happen. Everybody’s gonna fight everybody, just how I fought Thurman. You feel me?”
A reporter reminded Garcia that some boxing enthusiasts and media claimed he was fearful of fighting Lucas Matthysse five years ago. Garcia not only took that dangerous bout, but beat a prime Matthysse by 12-round unanimous decision in September 2013.
“Exactly,” Garcia said. “If it’s not [Spence], it’s gonna be a newcomer. It’s gonna be another guy that’s coming up that people say you’re scared to fight. That’s just the boxing game. There’s always gonna be somebody new. I can’t fight everybody at one time.”
Garcia would like to avenge his split-decision defeat to Keith Thurman, who defeated Garcia by split decision in their 12-round welterweight title unification fight last March 4 at Barclays Center.
The former two-division champion seems to recognize, though, that Thurman’s WBC-mandated rematch with Shawn Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) could come before he gets a second shot at Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC). Porter also called out Garcia in the ring following his victory over Rios.
“I feel like I have to avenge that loss [to Thurman], but I’m not desperate,” Garcia said. “Danny Garcia’s not desperate for no fight, you understand? Because at the end of the day, I’m the one that packs the seats at the Barclays Center. I’m the one that got all the views.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.