Excuse WBC welterweight titleholder Danny Garcia if he feels like he’s the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing.
Despite being a two-division titleholder, THE RING magazine junior welterweight champion for three years and sporting an undefeated record, many hardcore boxing fans feel that Garcia is more hype than substance heading into his March 4th world title unification showdown with WBA belt holder Keith Thurman.
However, Garcia casually brushes off the notion that he hasn’t done enough to deserve being on such a big stage (Saturday’s fight will be televised during prime-time on CBS) while keeping his focus on the task at hand.
“A lot people are going to feel the way they feel no matter what I do, and it’s something I have gotten used to and it doesn’t bother me because I will continue getting my hand raised on March 4th,” a confident Garcia told The Shadow League. “At the end of the day it is what it is and I always think it’s going to be that way.”
If one looks closely at their records, Garcia has a better resume than Thurman.
Garcia has the edge in former world titleholders defeated, having beaten 11 to Thurman’s eight. From March 2012 to September 2013, the Philadelphia native beat former world champion Erik Morales twice, knocked out Amir Khan to become WBC/WBA unified and RING champion at 140 pounds, outpointed former champ Zab Judah and then closed out his 16-month hot streak by out-boxing and out-slugging Lucas Matthysse, then-viewed as the Boogeyman of the division.
Those big wins may not mean much now, but despite criticism for taking on overmatched opposition such as Rod Salka, Garcia is battled tested and ready to participate in a high-profile event.
“I definitely would say this is the biggest stage I’ve been on, but I also know I’m ready for this stage because I beat people like Lamont Peterson right here at Barclays Center and we did a big gate and I expect to do the same thing this time as well,” he said. “All the title fights I’ve been in have been big fights in my opinion. I just think this is just the most hyped up one.”
Garcia is aware he needs to beat Thurman to not only prove that he belongs among the top welterweights in the sport, but also to secure his legacy.
Thurman and Garcia are only the third set of undefeated welterweights in boxing history to unify the titles. The other two: On Dec. 6, 1985, Donald Curry (23-0) KO’d Milton McCrory (27-0-1) in the second round to unify the WBA and IBF titles, and on Sept. 18, 1999, Felix Trinidad (35-0) narrowly outpointed Oscar De La Hoya (31-0) by majority decision to unify the WBC and IBF titles.
“This fight is something I definitely need for my legacy as I already have a huge one at 140 and establishing one in a division as historic as welterweight will only take me to a higher level,” Garcia said. “Being a Puerto Rican kid from Philly, I know what’s at stake and I know how a win against Keith will have my name up there with the [Miguel] Cotto’s of the world.
“That’s why Danny Garcia will prove he’s the better fighter and more battled tested fighter and come March 4th, his ass is going to show it.”