PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ben Simmons never played a minute this season for the 76ers, and Joel Embiid will not play another minute. The Phillies are in spring training and expected to lose around 90 games again. The Flyers are an afterthought on the brink of not making the playoffs for the third time in the last five years. The Eagles finished 7-9 and don’t seem to be going anywhere fast.
That’s the sorry state of the present Philadelphia sports landscape.
If there is a hope, it’s undefeated welterweight champion Danny Garcia, who will be fighting Keith Thurman on CBS national TV Saturday night from Barclays Center in one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
Garcia, the WBC champ, is once again in the underdog role against the heavy-handed Thurman, who holds some form of the WBA title.
“I really don’t care what people think,” Garcia said. “People are going to think what the they want to think. It’s been that way my whole career. Sometimes I don’t even get the respect I feel I deserve from Philly, and I love Philly. I’m the first Puerto Rican world champion from Philly and that gets no headline. But hey, I’m in a great spot right now and I know what I have to do.
“I’ve been I nthis spot before. No one thought I could beat Amir Khan and look what happened to him (Garcia KO 4 Khan). No one thought I would beat (Lucas) Matthysse and look what happened to him (Garcia W 12 Matthysse). I see what happening to the sports teams in this town, and it’s why I have to represent. I love my teams. I love this city, and it’s why I named my daughter Philly Garcia. If beating Thurman puts a smile on fan who is sad over the Sixers right now, I know I did my job.”
Thurman brings problems. He is by far the toughest opponent “Swift” has ever faced. He’s faced better opponents recently, including Shawn Porter, in a 2016 candidate for Fight of the Year.
But Garcia doesn’t see it that way.
“To me, he’s just a name,” Garcia said. “Another name. That’s all. I’m little tired of people doubting me. I’m a little pissed at people saying I can’t do this and I can’t do that. We’ll see. We’re not losers in Philly. I’m a winner and I plan on proving that again.”
Tale of the Tape
Who: Keith Thurman, Clearwater, FL vs. Danny Garcia, Philadelphia, PA
When: Saturday, March 4, 9 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
Keith “One Time” Thurman Danny “Swift” Garcia
WBA welterweight Title WBC welterweight
27-0 Record 33-0
22 KOs, 79% KOs 19 KOs, 58%
124 Rounds 206
28 Age 28
5’7.5” Height 5’8.5”
69” Reach 68.5”
Orthodox Stance Orthodox
UD vs. Shawn Porter in June 2016 Last Win TKO vs. Samuel Vargas in November 2016