BROOKLYN– With Saturday night’s Showtime-televised fourth-round stoppage of four-division titleholder Erik Morales at Barclays Center, 24-year-old Danny Garcia continued what was referred to as a “legendary” rise by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
Garcia (25-0, 16 knockouts) defended his RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight belts with his second consecutive knockout against the 36-year-old Morales (52-9, 36 KOs), whom he had dropped in the 11th-round of a unanimous decision victory in March that earned the WBC strap.
The head-swiveling left hand caused Morales to nearly pivot full circle and almost sent him through the ropes as he fell, and the knockout followed his fourth-round stoppage Amir Khan in July, which added the RING and WBA belts to his repertoire.
“I think that he showed some patience as well tonight, and I think that he came in highly motivated,” said Schaefer. “Danny is the real deal. He really is. We haven’t seen power like this in Brooklyn since the Mike Tyson days, and he comes on strong. I don’t know who can beat him.”
Morales represented Garcia’s fifth consecutive triumph over a current or former world titleholder following consecutive decisions over ex-beltholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in April and October of last year, respectively.
“The stars fight at Golden Boy. It’s amazing. I’m very proud of Danny,” said Schaefer. “I think that he retired Erik Morales tonight. He was unstoppable. He is just soaring. Nobody was going to stop him tonight. His power is becoming legendary, so we’ll see.”
IS ZAB JUDAH NEXT FOR GARCIA?
Next up for Garcia could be ex-titleholder, Zab Judah (42-7, 29 KOs), a southpaw from Brooklyn who turns 35 on Oct. 27. Judah once held the WBA, WBC and IBF welterweight belts as well as the WBO junior welterweight crown.
Judah was last in the ring in March, when he destroyed previously undefeated Vernon Paris during a ninth-round stoppage. Judah was at ringside for Garcia-Morales II.
“Zab Judah has mentioned his name, so let’s see if he still mentions it,” said Schaefer. “If he does, then that would be an attraction that would sell out Brooklyn right here.”
Judah first became a titleholder at the age of 22, when he stopped Jan Piet Bergman in February of 2000 for the the vacant IBF 140-pound belt.
Judah defended that title five times with four knockouts before losing it via second-round stoppage to Kostya Tszyu in November of 2001.
Judah regained the IBF junior welterweight belt with a seventh-round stoppage of Kaizer Mabuza in March of last year, but lost it to Khan by fifth-round knockout in July. Judah also owns a unanimous decision over then-unbeaten Lucas Matthysse in November of 2010.
Judah’s past also includes a loss to Floyd Mayweather by unanimous decision, an 11th-round knockout loss to Miguel Cotto, and setbacks against former titleholders Cory Spinks, Carlos Baldomir and Joshua Clottey, all of which occurred in the welterweight division.
One of Judah’s career highlights was a ninth-round knockout of Spinks in February of 2005, which avenged his loss from April of 2004 and earned Judah the WBA, WBC and IBF 147-pound belts.
During Saturday night’s post-fight presss conference, Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza said he would be interested in Garcia-Judah.
“I think that’s an amazing fight. Somebody already asked me about it,” said Espinoza, Showtime’s executive vice president and general manager. “I spoke to Zab, and Zab’s motivated. That would be a great fight.”
GARCIA GIVES SCHAEFER HIS ROBE
Garcia began the post-fight press conference by giving Schaefer his tiger-print robe. The move was similar to that made by former undisputed middleweight champion and current Golden Boy Promotions executive Bernard Hopkins after he vanquished then-unbeaten undisputed middleweight titleholder, Kelly Pavlik, nearly four years ago to the day in October of 2008.
“It’s a present for Richard for fighting the legendary Erik Morales, on a big card, my first big fight on the East Coast in Brooklyn,” said Garcia. “I want to give him my robe, with my autograph. It’s a historic night for me.”
Schaefer said he will display Garcia’s robe alongside Hopkins’ in his Los Angeles office.
“That’s only the second time that a fighter has given me his outfit from the fight,” said Schaefer. “The last time was actually Bernard Hopkins, when he demolished Kelly Pavlik. You guys are both from Philly. Bernard’s is proudly on display in my office, and so will this one here be.”
GARCIA: MOMMA SAID KNOCK MORALES OUT
Whether Garcia would or would not fight Morales was in doubt until Saturday morning. The boxer’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, had threatened to pull out of the fight following a drug testing controversy.
Morales had failed a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) pre-fight screening, and Angel Garcia was adamant that his son would not fight.
Only after a third sample returned negative from a test administered on Wednesday, and after an early morning meeting with his wife, Maritza, did Angel Garcia allow his son to enter the ring.
“Danny wasn’t supposed to fight. They had made up their minds that he wasn’t going to fight. But in the morning, I started thinking,” said Maritza Garcia.
“If he is on steroids, because the tests came back positive, then he must have been on steroids the last time, because he wasn’t tested back then. So, if you beat him last time, what makes you think that you can’t beat him this time, so fight him, even if he is on steroids. You’re fighting him.”
Danny Garcia was awakened by the news.
“When I woke up in the morning, my mom told my dad that I should fight him, because she had a gut feeling that I was going to win,” said Garcia. “So I went on with my mom’s decision to allow me to fight.”
As a southpaw, Maritza Garcia said her son’s left hook is hereditary.
“I’m a left-hander, but all of my children are right-handed,” Maritza Garcia. “But Danny can use both hands. What he can do with his right hand, he can do with his left.”
GARCIA COULD FIGHT ON A HOPKINS’ UNDERCARD IN PHILLY
Being that he is a Philadelphia resident, and Hopkins is a native of Philly, there’s a chance that Garcia might fight on a Hopkins undercard in the future.
“That’s like LeBron James playing under Michael Jordan,” said Hopkins. “Trust me. We’re going to have a blockbuster. I can’t really go into it now. But it’s been mentioned. You know that’s going to jump off.”
Garcia welcomes the opportunity.
“I would love to fight on his card,” said Danny Garcia. “That would be an honor to fight on his card.”
Angel Garcia agrees.
“I want my son to be a legend like Bernard Hopkins,” said Angel Garcia. “Bernard is always cool. He’s my people. Bernard understands that.”
MORALES COULD MAKE ONE LAST APPEARANCE
Saying he might fight once more in his native Mexico before retiring, Morales had become his country’s first fighter to win four belts over as many different weight classes with last September’s 10th-round TKO over the previously unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano.
Pacquiao was the last man to stop Morales, doing so in the 10th and third rounds in January and November of 2006, respectively, after having lost to Morales by unanimous decision in March of 2005.
Photos by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com