NEW YORK – Angel Garcia, the father and trainer of THE RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, is predicting a short night on Saturday when his son faces living legend Erik Morales for the second time at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Honestly man, I’m predicting 5 rounds,” said Angel Garcia Wednesday at a public workout in front of the Barclays Center. “I’m not trying to disrespect the man; he’s a 36-year-old man. He’s not old. I’m 49; that’s old. The thing is, he had his time, it’s a new era, it’s a new beginning. He can’t (be) retired for so many years and try to come back.”
Garcia (24-0, 18 knockouts), of Philadelphia, Penn., overcame the vastly-more experienced Erik Morales (52-8, 36 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, in March, dropping him in the eleventh round en route to a unanimous decision victory. Garcia topped that performance with a dramatic, come-from-behind knockout victory of Amir Khan to add the British star’s WBA title to his WBC belt and earn THE RING’s vacant junior welterweight championship.
Angel Garcia credits the first Morales victory for making his son a more mature, polished fighter.
“He’s growing more to be more focused, a technical, thinking fighter,” said Angel Garcia. “He’s on the top now and he wants to keep it. You only keep it by fighting hard. Nothing is ever going to be given to you. So I told Danny, ‘Don’t underestimate no man.’ We’re not underestimating Morales, but Morales is not beating Danny. If it goes 12, it’ll be a good fight but Morales will be beaten down.”
Angel Garcia says that his son will have to outperform their first fight to make a statement in the rematch, which was the last time Morales had been in the ring.
“We gotta pick it up a little more. We gotta fight him like a 24-year-old pace, we can’t fight him at a 36-year-old pace; this time we’re not going to do that.”
Danny Garcia, who calmly sipped coffee to warm his throat during the outdoor promotional exhibition in the cool autumn air, was more subdued than his father. He says that the extensive promotional schedule which precedes the first world title fights in Brooklyn since 1931 comes with the territory, but says he has found ample time to prepare for the fight.
“I’m definitely still hungry,” said Danny Garcia. “I got the belt now and I know everybody wants it. Now I know what it takes to train hard for 12 rounds.”
Morales, known for his thrilling trilogies with Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao, has won titles in four weight classes but took time off in 2007 after losing four straight fights. After a lengthy rest period, Morales returned in 2010 and has lost just twice since, with the only other defeat coming to Marcos Maidana. A loss on Saturday could very well spell the end for “El Terrible”.
Garcia-Morales II will headline the event, which will also feature the WBA welterweight title fight between beltholder Paul Malignaggi and Pablo Cesar Cano, PeterQuillin’s challenge to WBO middleweight titleholder Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, and IBF welterweight titleholder Randall Bailey vs. Devon Alexander.
Showtime will televise the event, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.