Thank you very much for joining us for this call for the PBC on ESPN show on August 1 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The show will be live on primetime on ESPN on Saturday, August 1st, with coverage beginning at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT.
The main event of the evening is Danny “Swift” Garcia against Paulie Malignaggi. The opening fight is a middleweight title bout between Danny Jacobs and Sergio Mora.
August 1 is the second PBC card on ESPN and the first one is going to be Keith Thurman against Brooklyn’s Luis Collazo. That’s going to be on July 11th in Tampa, Florida.
Tickets for August 1 are priced at $250, $150, $75 and $45 and are on sale now. They’re available atwww.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. To charge by phone, you can call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or to get group tickets from Barclays Center, 800-GROUPBK.
The opening bout is a terrific fight. Danny Jacobs is an inspirational fighter but also a super talented middleweight that’s risen to championship stature and holds the belt. He’ll fight at Barclays Center for the fourth time.
Danny rise from cancer to vie over the champion has been well documented. But frankly, at this point, he’s beaten that illness and he wants to focus to be on his boxing career and on being the best he can be and he’s taking on a huge challenge on August 1 in Sergio Mora, legitimately one of the best middleweight contenders out there and known very well as the winner of NBC’s “The Contender” Series a number of years ago. Sergio is a former world champion at super welterweight, looking to add a middleweight crown to his resume.
He owns victories over Ishe Smith, Peter Manfredo Jr. and Vernon Forrest and enters this fight on a five-fight win streak. And he most recently defeated Abraham Han in February of this year on ESPN.
So first, I’ll let Sergio Mora say a few words before we go to the champion.
Hey, guys. Well, I’m excited to be fighting on my first PBC card. It’s been a long time coming. The last time I fought for a world title was seven years ago and I was able to defeat Vernon Forrest as a 4-1 underdog.
I think I’m going to be an underdog for this fight again, fighting the younger, stronger champion in his hometown. So defeating him is going to be tough with all the cards stacked against me and that’s something that I grown used to and accustomed to.
There’s nothing bad I can say about Daniel Jacobs, absolutely nothing. I look for something negative to say and I can’t. The guy has overall talent. He’s far younger, faster, stronger and hits harder than me and he has more momentum coming his way. He’s on a nine-fight win streak and he beats me in that as well. I have five-fight going for me.
But the thing that I can say is that he hasn’t faced opposition that I faced. I think he’s an emotional, athletic fighter. I’m a cerebral, intelligent, strategic fighter.
This is going to be a really exciting card because he’s in his hometown and defending the world title. I’m hungry for that world title and I know that I’m going to have to be extra sharp and do a lot more than just have a close victory in his hometown. So I’m going to have to press action and go out of my comfort zone and I think he’s going to have to go out of his comfort zone, which is going to make an interesting fight for everybody.
I’m very confident coming into this fight. I’m very happy on the team that I’m with now and this opportunity. I’ve always wanted to fight in Brooklyn. I always wanted to fight in a mega arena like Barclays Center. I’m blessed to have this opportunity and part of this PBC movement. Thank you.
Thank you, Sergio.
And now to the champion, Brooklyn’s own, Danny Jacobs.
Well, after Sergio’s intro, what more can I say? That’s pretty cool.
I’m excited to have an opportunity to be back at Barclays Center a second time around as a champion. So this will be my second title defense. It’ll be against the most experienced guy I’ve faced thus far. I’m looking forward to testing my challenge against this slick, crafty veteran in Sergio Mora.
I’ve always said that I’m just trying to get that experience most importantly. It’s important to me as a young champion, I’m not where I want to be as a fighter thus far. You’re still growing, you’re still learning. I’m looking at this as just a really starting test. I’m trying to really gain as much experience as I can in fighting such a crafty, slick veteran.
He’s been in this position before. So, he’s already accustomed to being in this position and being an underdog but I can’t take him lightly even though he will be an underdog and even though people will pick me as a favor to win. I’m looking at him as the most devastating opponent that I’ve had thus far coming up to middleweight.
So there’s not a lot of fear as far as power is concerned but where he lacks that he makes up in his craftiness and his slickness and awkwardness and sometimes he does engage in the action as well. So I’m looking forward to it. It’s really a starting test but something that I’ve been preparing for a while of any camp even though I’ve been working and doing my broadcasting which I’m very happy to announce. I’ve been keeping in the gym. I’ve been keeping fit and I’m really looking forward to this test and have it at Barclays I think there’s not a better place in the world I have. So I’m looking forward to testing my skills against a crafty veteran.
I’d like both of you to address when you receive this negative attention on Twitter and such, how do you deal with it and what’s your response to it.
Well, listen, I’ve been dealing with this negative criticism for my entire career. It’s something that followed me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a reality show winner or because people hate the way that I go in to fight and I can’t knock people out. I’m sorry I wasn’t born with power. You need to be born with power. If I have a way where I can ingest power and knock out and what people want to see into my arsenal, then I’ll do it, but I can’t. I was born the way I’m born. I got to do what I can with my abilities.
I think I’ve come a long way with all the other athletes that lack power and I think that makes me an even better fighter. It made me evolve into a different type of boxer. So these are the things that boxing needs to understand and the fight fans need to understand that, “All right, well, listen, he’s fighting a guy with a lot of power but how come the guy with no power is actually doing better than the guy with power? Because this is the sweet science and that’s how I become a champion.
So it doesn’t bother me. I just continue educating people about the sweet science and letting them know that power is not the number one aspect you need to be successful it’s your agility, techniques, your defense, body shots, the strategy, it’s following that strategy it’s hard.
So I’m happy to answer those questions for people that don’t know. But people that do know, get over it.
Danny, what about you responding to people who want you to fight Golovkin? That say he isn’t tough enough, how do you deal with that stuff?
I’ve learned since my return back. I’ve got a lot of criticism on my position – why I’ve been facing people who wanted me to step up, people who wanted me to get in position to fight who they want me to fight. I’m passed that point. Now what I care about – well, not to the extent where I don’t care about what the fans think but, if you support me, I look at it as, you understand the process, you understand that it’s not going to come when you wanted to come and if you’re a fan of the sport and if you’re a fan of myself, then you just go along with the journey.
I want to step up. I want to be able to get in there with the best of the best. But obviously, with everything going on in the sport of boxing right now, I’m not really in control of certain things, you know. I may control who I step in there with but to a certain degree. So I really don’t tend to get into things like that. I do what I do. I stay ready. As a champion, I conduct myself inside and out of the ring. Whoever I’m in there with I give my best. If you are a fan of the sport, then you’re going to like the fights regardless. It’s all about putting on a show. That’s what I’ve been doing – I felt like I’ve been put in good fights.
Is it a challenge for you that you want to take on to be the first person to stop Sergio Mora or is it pretty important for you to finally go the distance to go 12 rounds?
I’d essentially wanted to go 12-rounds with Truax. I intentionally wanted to go 12-rounds with Truax. Because I felt like I could stop him a little bit earlier, maybe like in the 6th round but it was something that I wanted to prove to myself and knowing that I can go a full strong 12 rounds is something that I’m very confident with now and I feel like I’m answering my question. So, the test with Sergio Mora is – whether that he can be stopped or whether or not I can go the distance with him, he’s never been stopped before, so it will be icing on the cake to be able to not only to defeat him but to stop him in the match.
But, he’s a crafty veteran and if I can take a win over a guy like that, a win is a win to me. But at the end of the day, what the fans want to see is knockouts. What the fans want is spectacular fights. So my thing is if we could just produce a fantastic fight and a competitive fight, I’m content with that. A knockout is just icing on the cake. But it’s something that I’m looking for but if it happens, I’m pretty sure I know how to get the job done.
What do you think about his boxing skills? How do they match up with yours especially over the course of a 12-round fight?
That was a great question you asked Danny, by the way. I think he answered perfectly. I would want to knock someone out like me, you know, because it puts something on your resume that Vernon Forrest and Sugar Shane Mosley, two Hall of Fame greats haven’t been able to do. So that was a great question.
Like I said, I think he possess everything that I don’t. But I have the experience. I think I take a better shot from experience with Danny and I think I follow my game plan more than Danny. A lot of boxers especially a lot of young athletic fighters they go out of their game plan and once they see that it’s not working. As a veteran, I know that it’s not working initially.
There’s a beginning, a midgame and an end game, kind of like in chess. But you just got to stick to what you practiced and don’t go out of your element and normally things go well for me. That’s how I’m going to continue doing.
Of course, I’ve changed some things in my strategy. I’ve changed some things in my arsenal and the way I see opponents and I go about it. But ultimately, it’s still Sergio Mora – still the guy that has that ability to upset a champion and that’s who’s going to be fighting August 1st.
Can you talk about your perspective on having it been a long time since you were at this level in terms of a belt being available to you?
Well, anyone who’s been around the game for more than ten years or not even then. Anyone who’s been around the game will know that this is a political game. And if you’re not with the right side, you’re on the wrong side. And then even if you are on the right side, there’s another side I think that are right and they’re going to be butting heads.
Very political business and I think I turned a lot of people off when I fought Shane Mosley and an uneventful fight but I took all the blame for that and then after that, I was forced to go to Texas to fight a Texan. And I came up short against Brian Vera and then that just really hurt my career.
I was getting all the bad media, I wasn’t getting the right offers and that’s a good reason why fighters retire because they don’t have the offers coming in and it can be really depleting and depressing. I decided to go back to the drawing board and start off with a new team, have a new focus and I realized the change in the boxing as well, the same people that were in charge of courts in 2010, 2012, they’re not in charge anymore. There are new players in the game, there are new dates in the game and there’s new opportunity.
So because of all this new stuff that’s been added to the world of boxing, a person like myself has been able to make the comeback and I’m in a really good place and I am appreciative.
Sergio, do you feel that you get a bit of a bad wrap?
In my head, in my stubborn, ignorant head, I’m undefeated. I thought I beat Brian Vera both of those times and I beat Vernon Forrest the first time. He beat me the second time. That’s an even draw, you know. So in a way, no one has really dominated, no one has really beat me convincingly. So in my head, I’m undefeated. There’s no rubber match to see who really has more wins over the other guy. But in reality, Vernon beat me the second time, I beat him the first time.
It’s a crazy business. People are waiting for you to just come down.
So when you take a look at Danny’s record, what is your take on what he’s accomplished or what you think of his ability?
Well, exactly what you guys thought. I think with special talent and he got a piece of a world championship and he’s recognized as a champion. So, everything that people thought of him came true. Now that he’s on top, he needs to fight top fighters. I don’t think he’s faced the opposition that I faced and other champions have faced. I think that’s the only thing that he’s limited in.
So I’m going to be the best name on his resume and we’re going to see how he’s going to be able to handle a guy as crafty like me and a former champion like myself. So it’s a bit of success for him and it’s the best for me fighting a young, hungry champ.
When you look over your resume of opponents you faced in your career so far, does he poses perhaps the most formidable test of your career given his experience and his crafty nature?
Well, absolutely, coming into this thing I even said that I mentioned that he’s the most experienced fighter that I will be stepping in the ring with. The former world champion, beating the likes of Vernon Forrest, Shane Mosley, a couple other guys. He has that experience. He knows what it is to go the distance. He knows what it is to be in a dogfight. I’m a young champion and I haven’t seen those things thus far, right, you know.
I’m content – well, not content but, I’m okay with the fact that I have fought those guys, those topnotch but that’s what I’m looking forward to is a ladder. You can’t skip the ladder. You can’t skip any steps, or you’ll fall.
So we take in a step by the time and we stepping up and every time you’re going to see great opposition. I’m just looking forward to this one. I don’t take him lightly whatsoever. I clearly mark him as one of the toughest, craftiest most experienced guy that I have faced.
Daniel, what is going to be the thing that gets you over the top and helps you win this fight?
I don’t know what will be the main thing. But I feel like I have a lot more advantages than he does in the fight. But whatever my advantages are and whatever gets me going, will be the deciding factor for me I would stick to. So if it’s my speed, then I’ll stick to using my speed. If it’s my power, backing him down, showing him what a real middleweight feels like, then that’s what I would do.
But it’s all about adjusting and getting in there because, you know, not a lot of things may work according to the game plan. So you got to go to Plan B, Plan C and so on and so forth. So I’m just looking forward to seeing what works for me, figuring it out because it is a puzzle, it is a chess game when you fight a guy like Sergio and just making it work. I think that’s what a true champion does is just adjust and get the job done.
What are you doing in training camp to get away from that label of spoiler and be directly concentrated on winning that title from Danny Jacobs?
Yes. I’ve been labeled the spoiler. I’ve been labeled a lot of names that I actually consider as a good thing, you know. You could see it as positive or negative. You come in the positive things that I’m going to go in there, I’m going to spoil Danny Jacobs’ plans and spoil his promotion plan and spoiler for the fans is the negative that I’m going to come in and win. I decided to go in there – when the fight with Mosley and Vera, I decided to change my style a bit and I actually engaged a little bit more and be a little bit more offensive and take more chances to go for the knockout. But I think I’ve done that. You know, in my last five fights, I knocked down three of my opponents. So I’ve kept my word and I got this opportunity to fight for a world title again.
With Danny, I’m going to do the same. I’m going to try to go out there and do the same thing that got me into this position. I’m showing them that I can be and I can be crafty. I mostly want to let them know that, “Hey, listen, I got this other side to my game too that I added to that slickness and that craftiness.” Danny also mentioned, if that’s not working, then I got to go to Plan B and C. I’m going to give him different looks just like he’s going to give me. But I’m an excited former champion and waiting to be a new champion August 1st.
Talk about the kinds of sparring partners you have into camp.
Yes, I like to have heavier sparring partners, harder punching sparring partners. But it’s not about the power because me and my sparring partners aren’t going to go in there and hit me with that power. So I like hitting guys with slickness, with speed, just in case Danny comes in there and he shows me a different style, I got to be ready for that. So I got younger guys, stronger guys, powerful guys, big guys, elusive guys and I like to mix it up.
You’re a tremendous fighter, and the same time, you are great announcer, can you talk about seeing that light at the end of the tunnel and a career after boxing?
Well, thank you sir I really, really appreciate that. To answer your question, yes, that’s the game plan. To be able to talk and give my side on a national level. So one opportunity I don’t take for granted that I’m enjoying doing is giving me a different perspective on a sport that I love. And it’s something that it can set me up for the rest of my life as something to do post-boxing. But, obviously not straying away from the main task at hand, boxing obviously is what I love to do and just the forefront. So I’m 110% focused on what we’re doing actually inside the ring.
But on my spare time in between fights, it’s something that I also like to do and stay busy. But the most part is just building the brand. That’s what we’re doing. We’re building the Danny Jacobs brand and I’m having fun doing it but I’m taking it seriously because, you know, boxing is a very short road and I’m going to fall back on this as well.
So just trying to take everything serious and trying to give the best that I have and seeing that it’s been working thus far. So God has definitely blessed me and I’m just looking forward to everything in the near future. This opportunity to fight Sergio is a heck of an opportunity for me in my mind. I think it’s one heck of a step-up as well.
So I’m just looking forward to what life has in store for me and my career in the future.
We’re going to move on to the main event of the evening right now. But once again, this is Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN from Barclays Center on August 1. It’s primetime in ESPN, coverage beginning at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT. Tickets are from $250 down to $45 available at BarclaysCenter.com, Ticketmaster.com, the Box Office at Barclays or by calling Ticketmaster or calling Barclays Center.
The main event is a classic Philadelphia versus Brooklyn matchup, featuring two of boxing’s biggest stars. And it’s a must-win situation for both fighters when Danny “Swift” Garcia takes on Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi. It’s 12 rounds at welterweight at 147 pounds.
Interestingly, both of these fighters participated at Barclays Center inaugural boxing card in 2012.
Danny Garcia, the former Unified Welterweight Champion, made five defenses Junior Welterweight Champion, made five defenses of his belt. It’ll mark Danny’s official move up to welterweight and his fifth appearance at Barclays Center. On his last fight, he had a really tough win and a really hard-fought fight with Lamont Peterson.
On August 1, he has his hands full with Paulie Malignaggi, former Welterweight and Junior Welterweight World Champion, has a record of 33-6. It’s Paulie’s fourth fight at Barclays Center. He defeated Pablo Cesar Cano and Zab Judah there and he lost close split decision to Adrien Broner.
Paulie, do you want to start by saying a few words?
Thank you, Lou. Yes, I’m just really feeling blessed to have the opportunity. It was an opportunity that I didn’t see coming my way after pulling out of the O’Connor fight earlier in the summer and then now trying to back up into the fall. I’m just really trying to sit back and enjoy the summer more so than training and whatnot.
This kind of opportunity just fell into my lap. It was unexpected. But I’m all about competing against the best. As surprised that I was, it was also an opportunity I couldn’t say no to. It’s a chance to, be back in the main spotlight with that kind of a fight, be at the forefront which are the kind of fights that I crave, anyway, and the kind of fights that really get my adrenaline flowing and get me motivated.
I’m fighting one of the best fighters in the world today at any weight. Like Danny Garcia, it’s a motivation to test myself against the best. I always want to test myself against the best, and so here I am.
Thank you, Paulie. Danny “Swift” Garcia, still undefeated, 30-0 with 17 KOs. Danny?
How are you guys doing? First, I want to say good afternoon to everybody. I hope everybody is having a good day. Thanks for having me on this conference call.
August 1st this is going to be another great night at Barclays Center. It’s my fifth fight there and my first fight at 147. So I feel like this is a great matchup, stylistically, to the fans all around the world.
Come August 1st, I’m going to be ready. I’m working hard. I’m training hard. I can’t wait to get in there, showcase my skills and in the weight class.
How do you feel, Danny, now moving up to welter?
It feels great. For the first time in a long time, I could worry about training to get better and not training to lose weight. I’ve been fighting at 140 my whole career.
I just feel felt like losing the weight was affecting my performances, mostly in the later rounds of big fights because I will use a lot of my energy losing weight. I think I’m just going to – I’ve been feeling a lot stronger and a lot better at 147. I think I should have been moved up maybe after the Mattysse fight.
But I’m here now and I feel good. I feel strong. I’m training hard. And we’re working on new things just to get faster and stronger at 147.
Did the weight loss hurt you against Lamont Peterson you think?
I’m not making any excuses. He had a good game plan. I just didn’t feel strong at that weight class anymore.
Before, when I hit guys, I could feel the power going through my arms. And when I land a shot, I knew I would hurt them. I just didn’t feel strong at the weight class no more. I just felt like I was hurt myself. I just didn’t feel as strong at 140 anymore.
Paulie, just talk about getting back in the ring after the Porter fight and this opportunity for you.
I feel blessed just to get the opportunity and to get a chance to continue to test myself against one of the best fighters in the world.
You get to the point when you’re not in the ring for a while. It’s going through my mind that maybe I don’t want to fight. But as time went by and I started working out again, I started realizing that it was something I missed. It was something I was still craving. I wanted to be back in there.
This year, in particular, has been different than a lot of years. I’ve always had my fight and then I’ve gone right back into just hanging out. I’ve spent almost the entire year in the gym. And I’ve been able to balance it out with all my travel with my commentating. I was in Sadam Ali’s camp for his fight.. I went right into my own training camp for Danny O’Connor and I got cut just two weeks before that scheduled fight. Then I got a call for this fight not long after that.
I’ve spent a large chunk of the year in the gym, which is something that hasn’t happened in a long time. And I feel sharp before that. If we’re going to talk about the layoff, people are going to talk about the fact that, I haven’t fought for a long time. But in reality, I actually haven’t trained this consistently in a decade, I mean literally a decade. Since I fought Miguel Cotto, I started making pretty good money after that and I haven’t stayed all year in the gym. Before that, I was in the gym all year, you know.
I didn’t even mean to do it by design. It’s not like I said, “Oh, this year, I’m going to spend the whole year in the gym.” I didn’t – it’s not something I planned. It’s just something that ended up happening going from one camp into another camp, into another camp. And I guess it’s just an accident.
But I do feel the sharpness in a gym. I do feel the timing is really good. Obviously my weight has come down. So, that’s a good feeling knowing that I have to drop a lot of weight during the training camp just working on the sharpness and keep getting better.
Was there ever any serious consideration about retiring after the Porter fight or was that just suddenly flowing around out there?
It wasn’t even something I considered. It was just something that I felt like I was going to do, you know. I just felt like, I don’t really want to do this, in the time, the way I felt, where my mind was at. And it was just something I didn’t want to do anymore.
So I think that’s probably the best thing that happened to me in terms of thinking it like that. Not talking about the loss, but in terms of my mindset in that moment was probably the best thing because if you start to tell yourself you’re going to have a layoff and you’re going to come back, in the back of your mind, you’re never going to take that time off the right way. You’re going to be thinking about you should be back in a gym or when is the right time to get back in the gym.
But because I wasn’t thinking that, I was just thinking, “You know what, I’m done,” I gave myself plenty of time to kind of rejuvenate a little bit before I got back in the gym. And then I just decided, “Hey, you know what, I miss this. I want to get back in the gym.”
So I think the change of my mind was probably a good thing as opposed to just telling myself, “You know what, I’m going to take some time off and then come back.” I really didn’t think I was going to come back. So when I took the time off, it was really like a time that I was legitimately, in my mind, feeling rested and got myself rejuvenated without even realizing it. And then by the time I got back in the gym, it was like to try rebuilding a new me, so to speak.
Did you think that this might be too much of a stepup after you’re going to be fighting Danny O’Connor after the long layoff?
I was actually surprised. First, I didn’t realize Danny was actually going to move to welter right away. I figured like he was having trouble making the junior welterweight limit. But I had heard rumblings that he still wanted to stay a junior welter for a little longer.
I was surprised just in general that he’s moving to welterweight. And then I was surprised, coming off the layoff, I thought maybe that we’ll get somebody else, instead of me to fight Danny.
When I got the call, I was surprised. But it was almost like pleasantly surprised. And not because I don’t respect Danny because I do, I got a lot of respect for Danny and family and his father and everything, but I’m a competitor. I haven’t had a big fight in over a year. So it’s just like, man, this is an opportunity for me to kind of put myself back in the mix with one really good performance as opposed to slowly getting back in the mix over the course of three, four fights.
I’m 34-years-old. I’m not 24. So I don’t really have that kind of patience anymore. At the same time, when I got the call, I also realized how good I had felt in the gym sparring and how good I’ve been feeling in the gym just getting shaped or whatnot. So I felt like I could just flow right into another training camp, because I hadn’t taken that long a time off after I had been cut for the O’Connor camp. I actually still kept training.
So my weight was still good. It kind of made sense on a lot of fronts. I didn’t tell myself, “Oh, it’s a big step-up after a layoff.” I didn’t look at it like that. I looked at it from more of a positive perspective.
Are there any health concerns for you or just heading into this fight?
I don’t ever think about this stuff, man. You have to have a short memory in boxing. And that applies to both when you look good and when you look bad. So whatever has happened to you in the past, it doesn’t matter whether it was good or bad. You can’t take that in the ring with you in your next performance. You’re starting a new chapter every time you step in the ring for round one in your next fight.
So I know as far as round one, it’s a new chapter for me. And so I don’t consider, I don’t think about what’s happened to me in the past, whether it was good or bad. But it’s something that I haven’t thought about in a long time and it doesn’t go through my mind.
Danny is this an effort for you to feel what a 147-fight feels like?
This is a fight my manager wanted. He gave me the call. He made this fight. And like any other fight, he did ask me, “Hey, do you want to fight this guy?” And then we say, “Yes, we want to fight this guy.”
So I didn’t go say, “Gee, I want to fight Paulie because he’s not a big puncher,” you know, because, power is just one of the many skills you need in boxing. I don’t choose the opponent. I don’t hand choose the opponent. But I think that overall, this is going to be a great fight.
And what are you looking for this fight to do in terms of advancing your career should you win the fight? What would be next for you? What are you aiming to do in this division?
I don’t know what’s next. Obviously, one fight at a time. I got a task in front of me. I got to go in there 110% mentally and physically prepared and just get the job done. Then after that, we can see what’s next for us.
Paulie, how do you view a fighter like Danny, a former champion, coming up from 140 to 147?
Oh, I think he’s a phenomenal fighter. I even told Danny myself, early on, I wasn’t high on him. But, I know when he was in the prospect stages, he was beating some really good names and he was hitting a harder road up and a lot of prospects to do, in terms of a guy he has to fight. And he grew on me. I started realizing I’m not looking at this kid the right way. This kid is actually good on a lot of fronts, both from a physical perspective and from a mental perspective, really strong.
I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. But in terms of 140, 147, he’s no different than me. I was a junior welterweight champion; I moved into welterweight. So from that front, I don’t even look at myself as a bigger guy or anything. As a matter of fact, he moved up to welterweight at a younger age than when I moved up to welterweight, you know. So his body grew into the division a little sooner than my body grew into the division.
So I think from that point of view, we both have that in common that we’re both ex-junior welterweight. So from a physical standpoint, I’m not looking at it as having any advantages. It’s just a matter of matching of my skills to his skills.
Moving up to 147, do you really feel like you’re going to be able to put a staple on a lot of people’s mouths to shut them up about all the criticism that comes with Danny Garcia?
That’s just boxing. Because I’ve been the underdog before, I’ve been the underdog before and I won. And there was like, “Oh, he got lucky.” So it’s either I’m the favorite or the underdog. I can’t listen to none of that stuff after just going through each fight like I was, mentally prepared, physically prepared going in and get the job done.
If it’s good enough for the media and it’s good enough for the fans, I’m happy. I’m still happy because, it takes a real man to go in there and put gloves on and fight another man for 12 rounds. It takes a lot of discipline. It’s usually hard work for ten weeks straight waking up every day, doing the same thing, sweat, blood, tears, all that stuff.
So I would love for the fans and the media to love me. But, it is what it is, they’re tough on me and that’s what keeps the chip on my shoulder and that’s going to make me train hard every day.
Do you see your craftiness advantages that you may have over him that Danny may have a little bit of difficulty with skilled boxers?
I think styles make fight. From a style point of view there are things that I feel like I’ll be able to do against Danny. But I also expect Danny had made some adjustments since those fights.
When it comes to the Lamont Peterson fight, as I was watching that fight and Lamont started turning things around, I started thinking, maybe Danny, he got in his mind after the first three, four, five rounds that this was the kind of fight this is going to be all night.
And when you kind of get into that role in your mind where, hey, man, this is going to be at a slow pace fight and you’re going to go through the motions in the fourth round. And then suddenly the script gets switched on you; you weren’t ready.
I felt like Lamont almost caught Danny in a sleep. And so from there, I don’t know that Danny would make a mistake again. The pace was so slow early on. I felt like I put myself in Danny’s shoes and I said, “You know what, if I was Danny, I would probably be thinking two, three, four rounds. That’s it. This is the kind of fight we’re going to fight for 12 rounds. So I wouldn’t be ready when suddenly he got turned off. Because if in your mind you put in – if you put in your mindset that’s how the fight is going to be and then things switched, then you kind of get caught sleeping.
So I felt like maybe it was a learning experience for Danny. But as far as from the stylistic point of view, yes I like the way my boxing skills match up to his. I’m sure there’s things he feels he can do to me as well. And that’s kind of why we get in the ring, we compete with each other and you match up skills. But I’m sure both of us have certain advantages over the other that we’re both going to try to apply once the bell rings on August 1st.
Do you see that as a must-win situation for you especially coming off the loss with Shawn Porter?
I think it’s more must-win for me as far as my own boxing career is concerned. I think there’s no question that from my professional boxing career, not my commentating career; take everything else aside. For the life of my professional boxing career to continue, I feel like this is a must win for sure. I don’t think that there’s much of a must-win for Danny as it is for me.
At this level, they’re all – you always feel like it’s must win because you’re always in the mix for a bigger fight if you can win. So it’s always must win. But in reality, I feel like the burden falls on me more than Danny for it to be that kind of must-win.
But it’s also nothing new to me. I’ve been written off before. My career was supposed to end in 2009 when I went to Houston, Texas. I just came off the Ricky Hatton loss and I went to Houston to fight Juan Diaz. And no matter what I said in the press conferences, no matter what I’ve said in interviews, I remember just within one year they just kind of felt like this was going to be the end of my career. And so I had to go in there and prove it myself that it wasn’t yet, you know.
So I had everybody – if I allowed myself to listen to what everybody says, I would have long gone a long time ago because you figure, you teach everybody their lessons and then it happened again in 2012. I got sent to Ukraine. I hadn’t really had a big fight in a couple of years and people just thought I was again sent to Ukraine as a fight just to make a little bit of money and be done. I was surprised that everybody was thinking about me like that again. I was like, “Wow. These people really don’t learn their lesson, you know.”
And so I went to Ukraine and I’d come back with the WBA Welterweight title at that time. And I was able to turn things around again from – in my career. And those are really two key situations because losses in those two fights would really have erased me from the sport.
So I found myself again in this kind of situation. I’m not travelling to anybody’s hometown this time. I’m fighting in my own hometown. But it’s the same situation. It’s kind of the same thing. No matter what I say going into this fight, people are still going to look at it the same way that I’m the opponent and I’m the guy that Danny beats and this is my last fight and I’m just taking this for a payday and all this stuff.
So if I hadn’t already been through this, maybe I would worry about it. I remember in 2009, going to Houston, being kind of worried about it, complaining about all kinds of stuff and just not really knowing what I was walking into. I was walking into a dark room. But I’m not walking into a dark room on August 1st. I know exactly what’s going on. I know exactly what the rumblings are in the boxing world. And I know exactly what everybody is saying about the fight.
Regardless, it doesn’t matter. None of it matters. I go in the gym; I do my work every day. I know my mindset. It’s focused. It’s ready. And I know I’m going there to do work on August 1st. And nobody’s opinion is going to matter when the bell rings. But you can’t take people’s opinions in the ring with you, again, whether they’d be good or whether they’d be bad. Nobody’s opinion comes in the ring with you. It has absolutely no bearing on who wins each and every single round.
Danny, what things have you been able to do this time around doing training that you could not do in the past because you had to make 140?
We added things to our workout now. We added a lot of explosive workouts, a lot of agility, a lot of footwork, a lot of things to making you more explosive, things I couldn’t do at 140 because I didn’t have the energy for it. But now the extra weight is really helping me. I’m eating – I’m adding more meals to my base to make me stronger, like before I had to skip meals. I was always weak.
When we’re thinking about this, your training in the gym, do you 100% know how good you’re going to be as far as the sharpness and what you have left at 34? Or does it remain to be seen, you’ll only know on fight night?
Fight night you can feel any which way. You can have a good camp but sometimes have a bad night. You can have a bad camp and have a good night. You don’t know how you’re going to be on fight night until you wake up the morning of the fight.
But I will say this, I’m having a good camp. And it mainly has to do with the fact that I’ve flown from one camp to another to another and I’ve been able to keep working on my skills and keep working on my sharpness. My weight has stayed low because of the fact that I have consistent training, consistent sparring.
I really like the way I’m feeling right now. I like the rhythm that I’m in when I’m in the gym. I like the flow. We’re just going to try to bring this sharp camp into the fight.
Do you believe that you got the fight because they believed that you were a faded fighter?
I didn’t go that deep into thinking. When I got the call, I was just surprised. Rhen I got the thinking, like, man, that’s a big fight. Any competitor wants big fights and wants to be in the limelight and wants to be on the big stage. I was wondering if I would ever get a chance to fight on this stage again.
I was more just surprised than anything else. I didn’t really go into thinking as to why I got the fight or why I got offered the fight or whatnot. I think that’s more your guys’ job. And I’m sure they let me know about it on Twitter and in the media why I’ve got this fight. Even if I didn’t think about it, just seeing what everybody says about it, I kind of get the gist of it.
If that’s the reason I got offered the fight, it’s the same reason I got offered the Juan Diaz fight in Houston in ’09. It’s the same reason I got the Vyacheslav Senchenko fight in Ukraine in 2012. And my confidence comes from me knowing I have the mental capacity to not let that kind of pressure bother me and have the mental capacity to just go into my zone and eliminate all the negativity from my mind.
Danny said earlier he would love the media and the fans to love him. I couldn’t care less whether anybody loves me or hates me. And I think the body of my work throughout my career or the things that I said, the things that I do, shows that I could care less whether anybody loves me or hates. I go out there to do a job. I’m a competitor. I love competing. I love the adrenaline rush of combat at the highest level and testing myself against the best fighters in the world.
That’s why I do this. I love to fight – I love to see where I’m at. And on August 1st, I’ll show myself.
Danny, where is dad, Angel Garcia?
My dad is doing well. Right now, he’s at a shop. He owns and runs a business. Angel is just being Angel right now. I won’t see him until 5 o’clock. Only the Lord knows what he’s doing right now.
I would say some of the best work that you have done in the ring is by out-foxing heavy-handed opponents. How much of the old fox are we going to see? How is he again against Danny Garcia?
I think for the most part, people know Danny’s style, people know my style. We’re going to make some adjustments to each other, both as part of the game plan and once we see each other in the ring.
I can’t really tell you exactly how I’m going to play it out until I’m in the ring myself. I plan on being the best me possible. I plan on being the sharpest me possible. And right now, in training, I feel really good. The plan is to flow this training camp into a sharp night on August 1st.
How long have you been thinking about the move up to welter?
I believe right after the Matthysse fight I wanted to move up. I felt like that was a perfect time for me to move up because I beat the best 140-pounder at that time. I had beat Khan and then I came back and beat Morales and Matthysse.
I beat two of the best 140-pounders, so I feel like it’s time for me to go up to 147. But they had different plans for me. Me and my team, we decided to stay at 140 for a little longer to see how it played out. I just wasn’t fully strong at the weight class anymore. I just wasn’t fully strong anymore. So I felt like it’s time for me to go up to 147.
How confident do you feel that you can become world champion again against the likes of Thurman, Kell Brook, perhaps a rematch against Amir Khan?
I’m very confident. I faced a lot of good fighters. I faced a lot of great fighters in my career. I have a lot of experience. I was a big 140-pound fighter. I’ve never faced a 140-pound fighter who was taller than me or who looked better than me.
I was just squeezing my body down to 140. And I feel like I’m going to be a way better fighter at 147 and be able to use my legs more. At 140, I felt like I wasn’t strong no more, so I just had to walk forward all night and knock my opponents out.
But I feel like at 147, you’re going to see a more athletic Danny Garcia and be able to use my legs more, using my jab more and see punches clearer. When you drain yourself as hard to see punches, then you get hit with a lot of dumb punches because your vision is not clear.
I feel like my vision is going to be a lot clearer and be able to move my head, see the punches better, use my feet. And I think I’m going to be a champion at 147, too. I know so.
With that, thank you, everybody, for joining us for this PBC on ESPN call.
Again, it’ll be Danny “Swift” Garcia against Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, and Danny Jacobs against Sergio Mora in the opening bout at Barclays Center, August 1, primetime on ESPN, coverage beginning at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT.
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In addition to the evening’s main event and co-main event, select undercard bouts will be carried live on ESPN3. ESPN Deportes will also televise the fight live as part of its Noche de Combates series and ESPN International will present live coverage across its networks in Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean and Pacific Rim. Live coverage will also be available through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via an affiliated video provider.
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