Against Khan, Garcia holds 'all the cards'

Erik Morales vs Danny GarciaWorld WBC Junior Welterweight ChampionshipMarch 24, 2012Houston.TexasPhotos By Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos
Erik Morales vs Danny GarciaWorld WBC Junior Welterweight ChampionshipMarch 24, 2012Houston.TexasPhotos By Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos
Posted: July 13, 2012

A BOXER'S NEXT fight almost always has a purpose. Sometimes it's supposed to be an easy win. Sometimes it's to prepare him for a tougher matchup down the road. And sometimes, the perfect fight falls right into his lap.

The latter is the case for North Philly's Danny "Swift" Garcia, who fights Britain's Amir Khan on Saturday night at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO). After Khan's intended opponent failed a random drug test, Garcia agreed to step in and fight the more experienced Khan on short notice.

For a boxer who is relatively unknown on the national stage, Garcia has a remarkable resume. Only 24 years old, he is 23-0 and holds the WBC light welterweight title belt. Khan, 25, easily will be Garcia's stiffest test to date, and the potential payoff was too sweet for the young Puerto Rican to pass up.

"A win on Saturday night will put me into the next level," Garcia said. "I have people question if I'm a true champion. That is why I took this fight — to show the world that I am the best fighter in my division."

The undefeated Garcia is clearly a skilled fighter, but many are questioning if it is too soon for him to go toe-to-toe with a boxer of Khan's caliber. Garcia is quick and can be powerful — two attributes that could help him get inside on Khan, where the Brit is susceptible.

Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) is currently about a 4-to-1 favorite, and some experts think that he will use this fight as a springboard to a future welterweight bout with Floyd Mayweather. But since the first day he accepted Khan's challenge, Garcia has maintained that he is the better fighter.

"I am always the underdog. I am not worried about that," Garcia said. "I'm 24, I'm strong and I'm undefeated. I'm the champion. I feel like all the cards are on my table. He is coming off a loss, trying to rebound, so he is desperate."

In addition to Garcia's WBC title, the WBA and The Ring light welterweight belts also will be on the line. Regardless of the outcome, the winner will have consolidated a trio of belts impressive enough to pursue almost anyone he wants as his next opponent.

Garcia said he hasn't altered his training regimen or changed anything in preparation for a fight that he thinks will be his coming-out party. His father and trainer, Angel Garcia, has said Khan is "nothing but a name" and repeatedly insists that Khan is overrated. Garcia isn't shy when asked if his unblemished record has inflated his confidence.

"Most definitely," he said. "I am a winner and I always take that into the ring with me. He has lost before — he doesn't have a problem with losing. Me? I'm not a loser. So my confidence is high and I am ready to go in there and dominate."

Garcia says his toughness in the ring can be attributed to growing up alongside so many good fighters in Philadelphia. It's no secret that Philly is heralded around the country as a boxing factory, yet Garcia is the only current champion who calls this town his home.

"I am the only champion coming out of Philly period, in all sports," he said. "It is motivation. It keeps me strong and excited, because I want to keep it that way."

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