PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — It’s a strange new world that Philly’s Danny Garcia is about to enter Saturday night. The former world junior welterweight champion has already reached international acclaim in his victories over Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse. But he may not receive as large an audience as he will Saturday night when he fights veteran southpaw Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBC welterweight title at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. on national TV from the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, CA.
There is something else different about this fight, too. For once, he’ll be at the eye of the boxing world for one night. Not on cable TV. Not on pay-per-view. On national TV. For once, it will be “Swift” that holds center stage—and be the overwhelming favorite.
But Garcia (31-0, 18 KOs) likes to look at things the way the legendary Bernard Hopkins does—if there isn’t someone out there doubting him, a shadow he’s battled his whole boxing career, he’ll create the doubters himself.
Hearing he’s the favorite is foreign to Swift, though that’s the status his body of work has earned him.
“I’m going to fight Guerrero the same way I fight everyone else, I approach every fight with the same mindset and that’s to go in there and get the victory no matter who I fight,” Garcia said. “I really don’t get caught up in who the underdog is, and if I listened to the fans, I would already have a loss on my record.”
There is, however, an area of disrespect that continues to gnaw at Garcia. Despite being world junior welterweight champion for three years, despite five successful title defenses, despite vanquishing two foes he wasn’t supposed to beat, he’s not a top-10 pound-for-pound consideration.
Garcia has a legitimate argument.
“There are a lot of politics in the sport and it’s basically whoever they like at the time,” Garcia said. “That’s how they rank you. I don’t know what it is. I was the best at 140 for three years. I defended my title five times and was the underdog in two of my championship fights. To me, I should have been pound-for-pound a long time ago. I’ll just keep on proving myself at 147 and once I win a title, no one can say anything. I don’t really pay that much attention to it, but I see things and who’s pound-for-pound and question how that is.”
Angel, his trainer, has no doubts about his son. Angel likes how Danny looks, and the fact that he’s not cutting weight, as he had to do in 2014, has been a blessing. It’s made Danny much stronger and given him ample time to plunge himself into training and strategy, as opposed to training to cut weight, like he had to do against Lamont Peterson.
“I want to see Danny use his legs more,” Angel admitted. “When he does that, he’s untouchable. I’m not saying he’s running, I just see everything come together when he’s able to move. That comes with the weight. He’s a new man in town. He’s not fighting the weight anymore. A happy fighter is a great fighter. We’re learning as we move along.”