BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The father and trainer of RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia informed RingTV.com on Saturday morning that his son will fight Erik Morales despite his threats of a pullout at Friday’s weigh-in following a drug testing controversy.
The 24-year-old Garcia and his father and trainer, Angel Garcia, told RingTV.com that they would not go through with facing Morales in tonight’s Showtime-televised bout at Barclays Center after Morales failed a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) pre-fight screening. Angel Garcia was adamant that his son would not fight if the Mexican legend’s “B” sample returned positive when they expected to receive the results on Friday evening.
Morales had tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol on random tests given by USADA taken on Oct. 3 and on Oct. 10, but tested negative on a third examination that was ordered on Wednesday, according to Angel Garcia.
The results of the third test returned on Friday afternoon. By that time, however, the 36-year-old Morales (52-8, 36 knockouts) already had been licensed by the New York State Athletic Commission, had spoken at a Thursday press conference promoting their clash and weighed in for the fight.
Neither NYSAC athletic director Melvina Lathan, nor Public Information Officer Edison Alban could be reached for comment.
“The fight is on. We came down to an agreement, and the show goes on. The last test, this week [Wednesday,] came back negative,” said Angel Garcia, whose son will earn $1 million compared to $300,000 for Morales.
“It’s not going to be a problem, mentally. Danny made the call, and we just have to do what we’ve got to do. We just have to get back into the game.”
Sources familiar with Angel Garcia’s action informed RingTV.com that part of the trainer’s decision had to do with meeting with Morales, personally, earlier Saturday morning. The conversation took place at approximately 2 a.m.
Danny Garcia’s decision also involved other members of his family, according to a source familiar with the developments.
In March, Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) dropped Morales in the 11th-round of a unanimous decision victory which earned the WBC belt. In the event that the 24-year-old Garcia loses, there is, however, a rematch clause for a return bout with Morales.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told RingTV.com that he was “informed late on Tuesday night by USADA that they found some irregularities in an A sample from Erik Morales,” adding that, “on Wednesday…the respective camps and the commission were informed accordingly by USADA.”
The “A” sample from Morales had shown up positive for small traces of Clenbuterol, a decongestant agent sometimes used to lose weight.
Morales, who missed the 140-pound limit by two pounds for the loss to Garcia, weighed 139.2 on Friday compared to 139.8 for Garcia at the weigh-in at Barclays Center, site of Saturday night’s nine-fight card.
During the post-weigh-in staredown, an incensed Danny Garcia told Morales, who is nicknamed, “El Terrible,” that “You’re a f___ing cheater, I’ma f___ you up.”
During later moments after weighing in, Morales was hustled by Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker, Eric Gomez, into a secluded area of the building.
While there, the fighter spoke to a representative of USADA, who appeared to assure him that the fight would go on, according to Morales.
“I just spoke to USADA, which is something that I don’t have to tell you guys, but I’m going to tell you this. I just got a call from USADA, and they said that I don’t have to worry and that everything is okay,” said Morales, through interpreter Ramon Gonzalez. “Everything is okay. You’re not guilty until we prove that you are guilty, and the commission already has accepted the fight, so the fight is on.”
Schaefer said Morales’ assertion was consistent with what he believed, adding that his test revealed what could be “very small traces of a certain substance which is consistent with food contamination.”
Morales has pointed to his legendary resume as proof of his innocence. A winner of one of three bouts in the separate trilogies with Marco Antonio Barrera and eight-division title-winner Manny Pacquiao, Morales became Mexico’s first four-division titleholder with last September’s 10th-round TKO over the previously unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano,
“Pacquiao, Barrera, I’ve been involved in great fights, and I’ve never failed any drug test. When have you guys ever heard me having problems? I’ve never tested dirty. Ever. I’m relaxed because I’m clean,” said Morales.
“I don’t have nothing. Never in my life have I ever done something illegal. I have 19 years in boxing and never have I put something illegal in my body. I’m very sure I’m not going to test positive.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org