Joe Santoliquito

Garcia weary of excuses, vows to KO Morales

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Danny Garcia just can’t seem to win. There always seems to be some excuse attached to his victories. Either he caught Amir Khan with a lucky punch, or he’s able to catch opponents when they’re just recovering from gall bladder surgery—like Erik Morales.

Garcia raised his eyebrows slightly after hearing Jose Morales, Erik’s father and trainer, make the excuse that his son wasn’t 100-percent when Garcia captured the WBC junior welterweight title with a unanimous decision back on March 24 in Houston.

On Thursday in New York at a press conference announcing the October 20 rematch, he’d had enough. The usually soft-spoken Garcia (24-0, 15 knockouts), fired back at Jose Morales’ assertion that Erik was recovering from a medical procedure three months prior to their first fight.

“You know it’s funny, someone always seems to have an excuse after I beat them,” said Garcia, THE RING’s 140-pound champion after vanquishing Amir Khan in Las Vegas on July 14 in the best performance of his career. “I know this, my father would never let me fight if I just had surgery. I’m undefeated and I’m still going to be undefeated after I beat Erik Morales.”

Morales appeared kind of jowly. He didn’t make weight the first time he met Garcia, coming in at 142 pounds. On Thursday, he looked as if he weighed roughly 160.

“At this point, this is the most important fight of my career,” the Mexican legend said in halting, yet good English, reading off a script. “I’m 36 and for me, I know the best of me has passed. But I plan on making a good fight, and I promise this will be a fight to remember.”

altIt was Jose Morales that threw the first verbal log in what had been to that point a pretty amicable press conference, when he said, “Erik never had any problems with any fighter he faced. He was coming back from [gall bladder surgery] three months before he fought. The end result was Danny Garcia took advantage of that situation and took the belt.”

But Garcia’s response seemed to nibble on a nerve. Erik Morales tried engaging him in Spanish backstage behind the curtains, and Garcia just walked by him, ignoring what he was saying.

“I have no time for that,” Garcia said. “I’ll do my talking in the ring, and this time, I’ll stop him. I’m tired of these excuses everyone has when I win. I beat him the first time and Morales never even shook my hand after the fight. I’m going into this with the same attitude I go into every fight, and that’s to knock the guy out — especially this guy.”

Garcia-Morales II highlights the debut of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which comes with a heavy Brooklyn theme. The co-feature underlining Garcia-Morales II is Brooklyn’s Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi’s first title defense of the WBA welterweight belt he captured by beating Vyacheslav Senchenko in April, traveling to Donetsk, Ukraine, to do it.

The beauty of his first title defense, against Mexican Pablo Cesar Cano, is that it comes just a few minutes away from where Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs) was actually born.

“Oh, I can’t wait,” said Malignaggi, dressed in a flashy white designer shirt, with diamond chains hanging from his neck, after generating the loudest applause of all the fighters on the three-tiered dais. “This is special to me because the Barclays Center is really only a few minutes away from the hospital where I was born. I grew up and was raised in Brooklyn, and now I’m getting this chance to defend a title no many thought I would win.

“You know, I lot of people thought I was done. I had to travel half way across the world to win a title. And I’ll admit, I had some doubts about myself. But I stayed ambitious and I stayed hungry. It’s why this fight is dangerous, because Cano is hungry and young, and he’s filled with a lot of dreams. It’s something I know about so I’ll be bringing my best.”

Most press conferences come with hyperbolic dribble. But there was a very poignant moment midway into this presser that captivated fans, some in the media, and the fighters on the dais, when Daniel Jacobs was introduced.

Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya, who emceed the festivities, even appeared a little choked up when he told the gathered media and fans that Jacobs was a true inspiration, and an example to millions that you should never give up.

Jacobs, a native of Brownsville, the same Brooklyn neighborhood that produced Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Shannon Briggs, overcame cancer and temporary paralysis to reach this point—part of the historic first boxing match at Barclays Center.

An opponent has yet to be determined for Jacobs, but that didn’t really matter when he stood there behind the podium, taking a second to collect himself as a groundswell of emotion almost overtook him.

“I was just numb when I was up there, because this is something I thought of on my death bed,” said Jacobs, 22-1 (19 KOs), who last fought March 5, 2011, when he stopped Robert Kliewer in the first round. “People saw what I went through, and to even get here, it was my ultimate goal. I’m fighting at home. When I stood up there and spoke, it was one of those moments I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. It told me I came back from everything.”

 

 

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