Puerto Rico has no reigning boxing world titleholders but RING junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia has declared himself "a proud Puerto Rican" in advance of his March 15 defense against Mauricio Herrera.
Angel Garcia, the fighter's father and trainer, adamantly emphasized his child's sentiment during an open workout on Wednesday in Garcia's native Philadelphia. The statements were provided by Golden Boy Promotions.
"Puerto Rico does have a champion. Danny Garcia is right there, he is the champion," said Angel Garcia, a native Puerto Rican whose son will fight Herrera on Showtime at the historic Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
"I have to let people know that Danny is 100 percent Puerto Rican. I'm trying to keep the attention on Danny so everyone knows he is Puerto Rican. I want people to understand that Danny is Puerto Rican the same way I am."
The 25-year-old Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 knockouts) is an overwhelming favorite to defeat will Herrera (20-3, 7 KOs), 33, a winner of two straight fights who owns a unanimous decision victory over current WBO 140-pound belt holder Ruslan Provodnikov from January of 2011.
"When I heard who I was going to fight, I already knew a lot about him. I'm a boxing fan. I knew who he fought, who he beat, what trunks he was wearing. He's a tough fighter, not a big puncher, but he tries to outwork you. At the end of the day, it's a different story when you're fighting a guy like me," said Garcia.
"It's an exciting feeling going to Puerto Rico. To go back where my dad was born, my bloodline, it means a lot to me to reach out to my fans in Puerto Rico. I just want to go out there and win on March 15. The Puerto Rican fans have supported me and it means a lot. I'm a Puerto Rican just like they are. It's amazing to be a Puerto Rican fighter, we have a great history of fighters. I say this all the time, 'I'm Puerto Rican, raised in Philadelphia so I got the best of both worlds. I got the Puerto Rican power and the Philly toughness."
The Garcia-Herrera card also boasts a WBC heavyweight eliminator between Deontay Wilder and Malike Scott, the winner of which will be the mandatory challenger to the winner of the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola fight, which is for the title vacated by Vitali Klitschko. Stiverne-Arreola is being planned for April
Also, on the Showtime Extreme telecast preceding the Garcia-Herrera, Wilder-Scott doubleheader, there will be a 130-pound rematch between Puerto Rico's Juan Manuel Lopez and fellow two-division titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon.
In June of 2008, Ponce de Leon was stopped in the first round by Lopez, who took his WBO junior featherweight title.