Philly's Garcia unifies world light-welterweight title

Posted: July 16, 2012

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Danny Garcia needed just one punch Saturday night in Sin City to keep his undefeated record perfect, and provide himself with plenty of potentially big paydays in the future.

"When I dropped him I thought they probably would have stopped it," said the 24-year-old Philly native, who floored Amir Khan with a left hook in the third round before finishing the Brit off via a fourth-round TKO in their 140-pound World Boxing Association-World Boxing Council unification bout before 7,061 fans at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

"But it's a big fight so I knew they were just gonna cut it off. They were gonna let him fight until he couldn't fight anymore."

The end would come only minutes after the fight-altering punch, as Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) knocked Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) down twice more in the fourth and forced referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight at the 2:28 mark as Khan, despite his insistence that he was OK, could no longer physically continue.

"I rewatched some of the replays and saw that I was coming in with my hands a little low and Danny took advantage of it. I respect Danny," said the 25-year-old Khan, a 7-to-1 favorite who might have moved into a marquee matchup against Floyd Mayweather Jr. with a win, who immediately went to the hospital after the bout.

"He was countering well against me. I got complacent and he took advantage and caught me."

Had the Bolton, England native stuck to the game plan that won him the first two rounds, a slick usage of speed and combinations that kept him out of harm's way and created a cut over Garcia's right eye, things might have been different.

Instead Khan — who is of Pakistani descent — seemed intent to prove Garcia's outspoken father and trainer, Angel wrong in his prefight claim that "Pakistanis can't fight."

"He got away from the plan," said Freddie Roach, Khan's trainer. "I think Mr. Garcia got under his skin. He wanted to go out and knock this guy out. He threw combinations and pulled out and got caught on the end of a big shot. Garcia can punch, and that's how it goes."

Indeed when Khan and Garcia picked up their exchange pace to the crowd's delight in the third round, the slugfest proved costly for Khan. He missed on a combination and Garcia connected with a vicious left hook that caught Khan at the base of the neck, under his ear, immediately dropping him to the canvas. He avoided getting counted out, but his wobbly legs proved the level of danger he was in.

Garcia teed off in the fourth and floored him twice more before the contest was called.

While the crowd might have been shocked by the Garcia's turn-of-events stoppage, Angel was not.

"Danny been underestimated all his life. The thing is nobody sees the vision. Everybody is still blind. But that's OK, when you have a true champion in any sport nobody ever sees the champion. They see the one they want to make the champion," Angel said.

"If Danny was walking down the street, he looks like you could take the money out of his pocket, like he was a little kid. He looks like a kid on his way to Sunday school. They underestimate him because of the way he looks, like a baby, a little kid."

Danny thought he was proving a point over the last 15 months when he defeated veterans Erik Morales, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell. But naysayers reasoned that his aging opponents were all near the end of their careers.

"I hit him with the same punches I hit Morales with," said Garcia, who claimed the vacant WBC title with a 12-round decision over Morales in March.

"That goes to show you how great Morales was. People said he was old, but Morales took the punches all night long and Khan couldn't."

While Garcia said he doesn't have any immediate opponents in mind, the Juniata Park native said he would defend his belts as a true champion from Philadelphia would.

"I come from the streets of Philadelphia, where a lot of people don't make it out of there," Garcia said. "I bring that into my fights all the time. I say if I lose this fight I will die in the ghetto, but for me to die in the ghetto you have to kill me in the ring.

"I never fought on this level before but I knew that I was built for this and I knew I was born to be in the limelight."

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