Persistence pays off for Danny Garcia

Posted: July 17, 2012

LAS VEGAS — Danny Garcia's left hook showed up just in time Saturday night. And he used it to unlock the door that leads to superstardom.

The undefeated Philadelphia junior welterweight showed the world he's the real deal with his fourth-round stoppage of Amir Khan, taking his WBA title in the process while retaining his WBC belt at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

"This is so big for me," Garcia said after he dropped Khan with a big, looping left hook late in the third round, then used the left to knock him down twice in the fourth round. "It's going to make me very rich.

“I knew I could win. But it took putting a great fighter in front of me to show how good a fighter I truly am."

Garcia (24-0, 15 knockouts) has never been a pay-per-view attraction and he's yet to receive a seven-figure purse (he made just $520,000 for Saturday's victory). That figures to change in the wake of what he accomplished Saturday in unifying the 140-pound titles before an announced crowd of 7,061.

"Absolutely," Garcia said after the fight. "This is going to change my life. It's going to give me a chance to be on pay-per-view, fight big-name opponents and make a lot more money than I did [Saturday].

“This is why I've worked so hard over the years, just so I can get to this point. And I'm only 24. I'm going to be around for a long, long time."

Garcia has been accused of being a slow starter and Khan came out fast and tried to score an early knockout. He consistently beat Garcia to the punch in the first two rounds and opened up a cut over Garcia's right eye.

"We knew Khan was going to start fast but I also knew this was a 12-round fight," Garcia said. "I just told myself to stay patient, stay focused and wait.

“Once I was able to time him. I started to hit him and hurt him."

The fight turned with 35 seconds left in the third round. Garcia had started to land effectively but continued to absorb punishment. But then came that long, looping left hand that caught Khan flush behind the ear and sent him down and nearly out.

"I didn't think he was getting up," Garcia said on the blow that swung the fight in his favor. "I knew I hit him with a real good shot."

Khan managed to get to his feet but it was evident he wasn't the same fighter who began the round. And when Garcia tagged him again and dropped him in the opening seconds of the fourth round, it was just going to be a matter of time before Garcia would have his hand raised in victory.

One more left hook buckled an already-wounded Khan with 40 seconds left. He managed to beat referee Kenny Bayless' count but Khan was in no condition to continue and Bayless did the wise thing in stopping the fight at 2:28.

For Khan, it was his second straight defeat as his record dropped to 26-3. He said he got a little careless and it ultimately cost him.

"I had dropped my hands and Danny took advantage of it," Khan said. "I got a little complacent and he caught me."

Garcia's father Angel predicted before the fight that his son would stop Khan.

"They underestimated Danny," he said. "I knew he was going to knock [Khan] out."

Danny Garcia said the key to Saturday's victory was the training he put in at the Harrowgate Gym.

"I was in tremendous shape," he said. "I was ready to die to win this fight and nothing was going to stop me. Nothing.

“I'm a Philadelphia fighter in the truest sense. I never quit. I give blood, sweat and tears inside the ring and I'm never going to stop working. This win is for Philly and all the people back home who have supported me from the beginning."

Garcia then gave a shout-out to another Philadelphia boxing icon — trainer Naazim Richardson.

"Brother Naazim said we're not going to be shocked — we're going to be proud," Garcia said, as Richardson's main fighter, the legendary Bernard Hopkins, stood a few feet away watching with approval. "I'm a killer. I'll fight anyone, anytime, anywhere."

Angel Garcia said don't look for a rematch with Khan anytime soon.

"Why should we give him one?" he asked rhetorically. "He's like an old shoe. You know what you do with old shoes? You put them in the closet and forget about them. Why would we look at the past? We're moving forward."

Danny Garcia said he wasn't quite sure what's next for him. He will leave that to his father and new manager, Al Haymon.

"Right now, I'm going to enjoy this," he said. "I knew I was built for this. I just needed the opportunity." n

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