Danny Garcia preparing for 'home fight' in Puerto Rico

Danny Garcia tapes his hands before a workout for his March 15 light-welterweight championship fight against Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Danny Garcia tapes his hands before a workout for his March 15 light-welterweight championship fight against Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Posted: February 28, 2014

Erik Garcia gripped the leather punching shield with two hands, and his younger brother, boxing champ Danny Garcia, whacked it with his black-and-orange mitts.

The pair worked in three-minute intervals Wednesday afternoon, slugging water each time the bell rang.

Toward the end of a round, Garcia threw a wild left hook - his signature punch - and his older brother stepped away as the punch cut the air.

No grip would be tight enough to absorb that blow.

"If I land that, I may knock myself out," said Garcia, the unified light-welterweight world champion.

The 25-year-old appears in great shape and shows no signs of rust from his longest noninjury layoff. He will defend his WBC and WBA titles on March 15 in Puerto Rico - the birthplace of his parents - against Mauricio Herrera.

"I'm Puerto Rican, I was raised in Philadelphia, so I have the best of both worlds," Garcia said. "I have the Puerto Rico power and the Philadelphia toughness and Philadelphia skills."

After Garcia (27-0, 16 knockouts) defended his titles in September, he told his promoter he wanted his next fight to be in Philadelphia or Puerto Rico. He said he deserved a "home fight" because he has spent most of his career fighting in opponents' backyards.

Garcia plans to fight three times this year and is not sure whether this will be his last light-welterweight bout. He's still a candidate to meet Floyd Mayweather in the next 15 months. But Garcia's not focused on the world's highest-grossing athlete.

"I never call anyone out," Garcia said. "I stay in my own lane. I work hard. And whoever they put in front of me, I guess that's who gets beat up that day."

But what would happen if he met Mayweather?

"The shoulder roll was created in Philly," said Garcia, referencing Mayweather's defensive technique. "I've been fighting people that roll their shoulders since I was a little kid."

Angel Garcia, wearing a pair of designer sunglasses and a sweatshirt with his son's signature on the back, arrived at the gym just after the champ finished his afternoon workout. The trainer was cool and at ease a little more than two weeks from his son's fight.

Angel Garcia said he wants to "keep it humble" and have the attention stay on the champ, instead of something said by the champ's father.

A reporter then asked for his reaction to Herrera (20-3, 7 KOs), saying that Angel Garcia was begging Puerto Rico to accept his son.

"He should be happy we're buying him a house," Angel Garcia said. "He can go to the bank on March 16 and buy a nice house in cash."

The champ's in great shape, and the champ's father still has his gab. And that combination has a perfect record.


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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