Garcia-Judah hype is going over the top

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Danny Garcia on fighting after his rib injury: 'I'm 110 percent ready. We healed it right.'
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Danny Garcia on fighting after his rib injury: 'I'm 110 percent ready. We healed it right.'
Posted: April 26, 2013

THIS IS THE problem when prefight hype spirals too far out of control.

Philadelphia light welterweight world champion Danny Garcia and Zab Judah have both done a lot of talking since their fight was announced in December.

The situation wasn't helped by the fact that the original date of Feb. 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., was postponed because Garcia injured his ribs during training.

That left 2 extra months for the camps to fire verbal jabs at each other leading into the fight now scheduled for Saturday.

It hasn't been a good week in Brooklyn.

On Thursday, things spiraled out of control at the Barclays Center after Judah was not allowed into the final prefight news conference while Garcia was in the room.

Fight promoter Oscar De La Hoya cited "tension in the air" as the reason for the unusual decision to hold separate news conferences.

Judah, however, was not informed of the decision until he tried to enter the news conference.

Offended, the Brooklyn native went off on De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions.

"You supposed to be professional promoter," Judah, who said he waited nearly 2 hours in the basement of the Barclays Center without being provided food or water, screamed at De La Hoya. "You don't even know what's going on. Do your research, bro! Angel [Garcia, Danny's father and trainer] was the one calling me names, talking loud. Then when the real deal starts, he wants to call for 1,000 police officers."

Judah argued with De La Hoya and Golden Boy associate Bernard Hopkins for several moments at an open microphone and continued to harangue them during questions.

"This is crazy, y'all," Judah said of not being allowed in the room with Garcia "It's insane. I don't know what they are trying to make me look like - some kind of savage or something.

"I've been here since 11 a.m. in the basement. They had me locked in a little room. Why? Because of Danny Garcia and his crew and their insecurities? It's not right."

Golden Boy Promotions had reason to be concerned that putting Garcia and Judah together could produce a second ugly encounter in as many days. On Tuesday, Judah and his crew bum-rushed a Garcia autograph signing event had a Modell's store in Brooklyn. Things got really bad when Angel Garcia began trading f-bombs with members of Team Judah.

A fight nearly broke out between the crews before both sides were escorted from the store, leaving a line of fans holding unsigned pictures.

Judah said he exchanged no words with Danny Garcia and that nothing went down until Angel Garcia opened his mouth.

"Angel Garcia comes in and calls me all kinds of [racial epithets], and nobody says nothing about that," Judah said, clearly indicating he was taking more blame than Garcia, who is promoted by Golden Boy. "But when I come in to say my part, it's like I'm [damn] Obama in the damn city. It's crazy.

"I've been in boxing for 17 years. I'm far from slow. They're trying to do something to make it look like I'm the bad guy in the situation and Danny is the good guy.

"[Danny is] going to sleep. It's not a game. Welcome to Brooklyn. This is terrible right here, what they're doing. I've never had this problem."

Bad blood aside, the 25-year-old Garcia is in for another new experience as he fights for the first time after sustaining a major injury.

Despite taking the WBC, WBA and Ring magazine light welterweight titles in his earlier fight against Judah, Garcia is still young in his boxing career, with only 25 fights and 5 1/2 years of professional experience.

It will be interesting to see how he responds to an injury.

"That's behind me," Garcia said at a prefight media session. "I'm 110 percent ready. We healed it right. We started sparring again at the right time. We did a couple of treatments. We've done our physical training, and I'm just strong and I'm ready to go.

"Everything is going great, no injuries, no nothing. It's going to be a great night."

Still, you have to wonder how Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) will react to fighting for the first time after overcoming an injury.

Sparring is not the same as going full-tilt against a former world champion such as Judah (42-7, 29 KOs.)

Will he be hesitant because of the injury? Will he overcompensate to protect his ribs? Will it cause him to do anything different from what he has done to run up a perfect record?

We won't know for sure until he steps into the ring against Judah, 35, who hasn't fought since beating Vernon Paris on March 24, 2012.

The fight against Judah, who has won five world titles between the light welterweight and welterweight divisions, will be Garcia's sixth straight against either a reigning or former world champion.

Garcia is coming off devastating knockout victories over Amir Kahn and Erik Morales.

"I guess I would just say growing as a fighter and getting more confident, believing in yourself," Garcia said. "Every time I step into a ring, I don't care who it is. I always know that I'm going to win the fight no matter what, if I'm the underdog or if I'm picked to win. I go into the ring always know I'm the winner. That's what I bring to the ring every time."


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: philly.com/Smallwood

Blog: ph.ly/DNL

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