Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Tensions mount at Garcia-Judah press conference
Upon hearing that Zab Judah was a no-show, Danny Garcia lamented not being able to "look into his eyes and to snatch the soul right out of his body." Judah then showed up, saying he'd been disrespected by being told to wait with his team "in the basement" with "no food, no water."
BROOKLYN -- The acrimony between the camps of RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia and ex-titleholder Zab Judah began during December's initial press conference at New York's Gallagher's Steak House announcing their fight, where insults were mostly exchanged between Judah and Garcia's fiery father and trainer, Angel Garcia.
It resumed, yet again, on Tuesday at a Modell's sports outlet in downtown Brooklyn, where the Garcias accused Judah of interrupting a promotional event involving Danny and a couple other Golden Boy Promotion fighters on Saturday night's Showtime-televised card at Barclays Center.
So concerned were the organizers of Garcia-Judah, that they decided to hold separate final press conferences on Thursday at Barclays Center, with Garcia to go first following the undercard fighters, and Judah to be second, according to Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya.
Things appeared to have gone as planned until midway through Garcia's portion of Thursday's event, when De La Hoya informed the gathered media members of "confirmation that team Zab Judah just left."
Garcia said he would have preferred facing Judah.
"Because everybody's tough when they've got 20 people with them, I mean, come on now. Anybody is going to act like a tough guy. But at the end of the day, it's going to be me and him, and that's all that matters."
Meanwhile, Judah (42-7, 29 KOs) was in a car with team and family members, with whom he read the comments of De La Hoya as well as those of Garcia as they drove.
An angry Judah, 35, returned after Garcia's press conference to offer an intense rebuttal to his rival's comments, saying he was convinced to do so following a telephone conversation with Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports.
"We were in the car on the way back to the hotel, and I look on Twitter and I see De La Hoya making comments that I'm running and I'm non-professional," said Judah, a Brooklyn resident who initially refused to shake De La Hoya's hand during his turn at the podium. "I have been here since 11 a.m. in the damn basement. When I got here, the VIP people told us that my waiting room was down in the basement. That's where they told us to go to. All of my family members were there. There was no food, no water. They didn't give us no complimentary food here. They didn't bring us nothing."
"So I left. I mean, why would I stay here all of this time? I felt disrespected. Then, I got halfway to the hotel, and I saw what De La Hoya was saying on Twitter, and I said, 'Oh, you're not going to do that to me.' Not to me in my city. That's not going to happen. I don't know who would stay there. I was there for two and a half hours. I called Stephen Espinoza, and I said, 'I don't know what's going on, or who the guy is that they're trying to make me out to be, but it's not true. It's far from whatever they're saying about me.' So he said, 'Well, Zab, come back,' and I came back."
De La Hoya called the move to hold separate press conferences "a team decision within Golden Boy and everybody involved," adding, "with Al Haymon, we just thought it was the right thing to do."
Although the New York State Athletic Commission director Melvina Lathan was notified of the decision, De La Hoya said Team Judah team was not involved.
Judah still expressed disatisfaction with the move.
"I was told that we were going to be separated 20 minutes before I left. Listen, I've been a part of boxing for 17 years. I've been a part of some big fights. Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis. Nobody got crazier than that, and they didn't do that. I was a part of the press conference when Bernard Hopkins snatched the flag [from Felix Trinidad] in Puerto Rico," said Judah.
Garcia-Judah was initially scheduled for Feb. 9 before Garcia's rib injury forced its postponement. But for Saturday night, Garcia declared himself "injury free, solid, confident and really motivated for this fight."
Angel Garcia's opening comments included an apology to "Modell's about yesterday," adding, "that was uncalled for and unnecessary. Sometimes, you've got arrogant people in the world that you can't just stop them from doing arrogant things."
"The fight's going to go the way that I want it to go," said Judah. "My jab is too fast. My speed is too incredible. My defense is impeccable. I can't be stopped right now. I wouldn't be fired up right now like this if I wasn't ready. I'm ready. You guys have never questioned my skill. Can he fight? Oh yeah, he can fight. Is he going to be in shape? Oh, we don't know. Is he going to be able to last the 12 rounds? That's what we want to find out. But my conditioning is good. I've trained in Las Vegas at 17,000 feet [sic] of altitude."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com