Angel Garcia (right) did most of the talking for his son, WBC 140-pound beltholder Danny Garcia (center), during the heated kick-off press conference announcing the July 14 title bout against Amir Khan.
LOS ANGELES – Oscar De La Hoya introduced Amir Khan as one of the most accomplished young boxers in the sport at the start of a Tuesday morning press conference announcing the former junior welterweight titleholder’s challenge to WBC 140-pound beltholder Danny Garcia on July 14 in Las Vegas.
However, Angel Garcia, the hot-tempered father and trainer of the newly crowned 23-year-old titleholder, isn’t buying it.
“Khan is an overrated fighter,” the elder Garcia told the media that assembled inside the ESPNZone at L.A. LIVE.
“There’s a lot of overrated fighters in boxing and we’re coming to execute every one of them. People say Danny’s too young to go for Khan right now. Too young for what? When Oscar fought Shane Mosley, they were young. This is the time to do fights like these, so fans can know who the real champions are.”
Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts), who defeated junior welterweight contenders Paul Malignaggi (TKO 11) and Marcos Maidana (UD 12) between title-winning efforts against Andreas Kotelnik (UD 12) and Zab Judah (KO 5), believes he’s more than proved himself to the boxing world.
However, the always brash and outspoken father-trainer, who was already miffed that Khan’s name precedes his son’s on the fight billing, focused on the British star’s two losses – a first-round stoppage to Breidis Prescott in 2008 and split decision to Lamont Peterson, whose failed pre-fight drug test dashed their anticipated May 19 rematch and opened the door to the HBO-televised showdown with Garcia, which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
“Khan’s got two losses and he’s always got an excuse for why he lost,” said Garcia, whose son is promoted by De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, as is Khan. “He got knocked out in one round and said it was God’s will. Come on, man, don’t blame God. It’s because of what you did. Peterson whupped him like an octopus,hit him from all angles, and then he blames it on the judges.
“Come on, now. When Danny his you with these hammers, what you gonna blame it on? You gonna blame it on rocks he has in his gloves?
“What are you gonna do? One-two (combinations) and roll out all night? Come on!”
Garcia bounced in place behind the podium as he mocked Khan’s boxing style.
Danny Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) and Khan’s trainer, Freddie Roach, kept their statements short and respectful.
Khan tried to keep it respectful when it was his turn at the podium but Angel Garcia, who continued to grumble insults directed at Team Khan after being admonished by Asif Vali, of Khan Promotions, finally got under the 25-year-old British star’s skin.
“Danny’s father does a lot of talking,” Khan said as he turned to face his critic. “When I beat your son am I still underrated?”
Garcia’s voice instantly jumped from a grumble to a bark in response to Khan’s question.
“Promise to stand and fight instead of running around the ring with your one-twos (combinations) like an amateur,” he said while, once again, enacting a mocking imitation of Khan’s style.
“I promise it’s going to be an electrifying fight, like all of my fights, and that I’m going to win,” Khan said.
“Win? Like your last fight (the loss to Peterson)?” Garcia said.
“My last five opponents were better than Danny Garcia,” Khan declared to the media. “I’m going to knock him out. It’s too bad he has to pay in the ring because of his father’s disrespect.”
“Me and my son, we are one,” the elder Garcia said while pounding his chest.
“No you’re not,” Khan calmly replied. “You’re not going to be taking (my) punches.”
The lively back-and-forth between Khan and the father led to an intense staredown between Khan and the son.
The two young fighters tried their best to gain a psychological edge as they exchanged verbal jabs just under their breath.
“I looked into his eyes and he was blinking a lot, which people do sometimes when they’re scared, so I told him ‘You’re scared, because you’ve never fought someone like me and you’ll never beat me,’” said Garcia, who evolved from a prospect to a top-10 contender during an 11-month span in which he scored decisions over former titleholders Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Erik Morales, which earned him the WBC title in March.
“My dad does all the trash talking in public, but when I’m face to face with my opponent, I’ll try to get in his head. I told Khan that he never really beat anybody. I said ‘The guys fought were known for quittin’.’ It’s trash talk, but not really for the world to hear. I’m fighting Khan; I’m not fighting the world. I just want the world to watch me fight.”
Garcia, who assumed a pure counter-punching style against Holt and Morales, who was able to bust his face up despite being dominated on points, says the world hasn’t seen his best.
Garcia, who acknowledges that the Holt and Morales fights were not as entertaining as many expected them to be, said the Khan fight will deliver.
“He’s predicting a knockout and I’m predicting a knockout, so it’s got to be a good fight,” Garcia said. “I think it will be an exciting win for me even if I’m counter-punching. I respect what Khan has done in boxing and I know he’s fast but he leans in when he throws his punches and he doesn’t have good timing.
“I’ve got good timing. A jab and good timing will beat speed any day. And I’m accurate with my counter punches, so I know I’m gonna catch him.”
Garcia beamed with confidence when someone asked him what would happen if Khan caught him first.
“If someone’s getting knocked out, it’s Khan,” he said. “We’ve seen him knocked out before. You haven’t seen me knocked out because I can take a punch. Kendal Holt can punch and I took his best shot – a left hook – right on the chin. I ate it for breakfast.”
Khan believes Garcia’s eyes are bigger than his stomach if he thinks he can eat all of the punches he plans to lay on him.
“Danny’s a tough fighter but he struggled with an old man in Erik Morales and he’s never fought anyone like me,” Khan told writers after the presser. “The last three guys he fought (Campbell, Holt and Morales) are guys that I would have knocked out.”
Khan says he will bring the frustration of the cancelled Peterson fight and rage from Angel Garcia’s insults into the ring on July 14.
“The father’s disrespect makes me train harder,” he said. “It makes me want to get in there and hurt his son. That’s what I’m gonna do. It’s a shame, really, because his mouth is putting a lot of pressure on his son and it’s motivating me.
“I’m already in shape from my camp for Peterson. I’m three-fourths there. All I need to do is sit down and study some tape with Freddie. I’m going to let Danny and his father know they barked up the wrong tree. I was already angry about the Peterson situation. Now I need to let that aggression out.”
Photos / Gene Blevins – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions