PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Angel Garcia knows his son Danny better than anyone.
The two have been everywhere together, crisscrossing the country during Danny’s amateur days to today, where THE RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion sits among the young stars at boxing’s pinnacle.
Danny also knows Angel. It’s why you’ll often see him in the background laughing when his dad goes off. And it doesn’t take much to trigger Angel, Danny’s trainer. A comment, a passing glance may be enough to inflame him.
Danny, that’s a different story. You have to literally punch him to anger him.
But Angel knows when his son is mad. He can see it in his son’s eyes. The eyes tell him that someone is going to pay.
That someone is Zab Judah. Garcia (25-0, 16 knockouts) says Judah will be in for a hard night when the 35-year-old veteran challenges him this Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Showtime’s Championship Boxing.
Judah (42-7, 29 KOs) has done a good job of agitating the 25-year-old champ. That’s not such an easy thing – and a punch hasn’t even been thrown yet.
Judah struck a nerve when he insinuated Garcia conjured up the rib injury that postponed their originally scheduled fight on Feb. 9 to avoid him.
“Everything has gone great in this training camp, my running, sparring, everything is getting stronger, and I really want to punish this guy,” Garcia said. “To me, he’s just another guy in my way, and I know I keep saying that, but he is.
“I know Judah was saying that I made the injury up. It was the first time I was ever hurt. I’m the champion. He’s the challenger. Why should I back out of a championship fight?
“I don’t have to explain myself to anybody. I know what happened in camp. Me and my camp made the right decision. I’m in great shape and 100-percent. Why would I be fighting Judah at all if I wanted to back out of the fight? That makes no sense. He says I made up the injury. I know I didn’t. The guy is going to pay. You know it’s the same old stuff. I’m hungrier more now than ever.”
Garcia says he has no concerns about anything Judah brings to the ring. Not his southpaw style. Not his vast experience.
“Experience doesn’t mean anything when you get hit, and I plan on hitting him – a lot,” he said. “It’s how you can take a hit – and I can. I know he can’t. Look at his past fights, look at the [Kostya] Tszyu fight, he couldn’t take a shot. I have to keep proving myself and keep taking the best fights. He brought up some junk in L.A. I wasn’t even aware about. He said I was going to call the cops on him. I’m not scared of him. He should be scared of me.”
Garcia said he’s back on schedule. He took about four weeks off and wanted to come back eight weeks before the fight. As soon as he got into the gym, the biggest priority was to take some body shots.
“I was telling my dad to hit me hard to the body, but I’m good now, I feel 100-percent, and it’s something I wasn’t about to take a chance with before,” Garcia said. “You know, if I’m 100-percent ready, when I’m on my A-game, no one in the world can beat at 140. Judah has been here before, and always a challenge when you’re in a world championship fight. I promise I’m going to put on a great performance.”
Garcia’s fanbase has been growing. He feels he’s going to get great support at Barclays, even though Brooklyn is Judah’s hometown.
“People were coming up to me in Brooklyn saying that they can’t wait for me to knock [Judah] out, because he’s burned a lot of bridges in Brooklyn; it’s like he’s turned his back on them,” Garcia said. “I think the crowd is really going to support me, and I have a lot of people from Philly coming up to support me. I know the crowd is going to be there for me in Judah’s hometown. I’m going to shut him down, and punch him in the mouth in front of his people.”
And though Garcia is able to mask his anger – and it’s there – it doesn’t take much to cause his father to boil.
Garcia has been a professional for six years now and many in the sport still don’t fully understand Angel.
He’s far more intelligent than people, especially boxing media, give him credit for. He is calculating and in most situations plays the role of the lightning rod better than anyone in boxing today.
He also has no filter. Whatever is on his mind comes out. And in most cases, he’s right.
“Judah still has no chin – I don’t care who he trains with or what he says, ‘he’s older and wiser,’ he still has no chin,” Angel said. “You can’t build this [Angel said, tapping his jaw]. You can chew a lot of bubblegum. That’s about it. But that hasn’t worked for him, either. He’s doomed. A man has to be aware. The truth hurts. Zab had his day. His day is done. Danny is the champ and the champ is going to step on him.”
Lately, Angel has been pretty good at predicting his son’s future. Some critics have taken shots at Garcia, saying he’s fought past-their-prime opponents to maintain his status, but Amir Khan wasn’t past his prime when Garcia stopped him four rounds back on July 14, 2012, to send a shockwave through the boxing world.
“Khan wasn’t an old fighter, he’s 25,” Angel said. “(Khan) has the body of an old man, unless he’s lying about his age, because they do that, you know. China, Russia, Cuba, they all lie about their ages.
“Every time Danny beats somebody, there is always an excuse. When he beats Zab, what’s going to be the excuse? Zab was washed up. You’ll see. That’s what they’re going to say. We know, though. We’re happy and Danny is happy. That’s all I care about. Danny is going to kick his ass. When Danny tells me something, and his green eyes and turn blue – something is going on. He’s angry.”
Photos / Jeff Gross-Golden Boy