Former unified super lightweight world title holder Danny Garcia is delighted to have finally made the move up to 147lbs and says the switch should have been made a lot earlier.
Despite being tight at the 140lb limit for late 2013 and early 2014 defenses against Lucas Matthysse and Mauricio Herrera respectively, Garcia fought back-to-back bouts at catchweights before announcing his intention to finally become a welterweight.
On August 1 at the Barclays Center, Paulie Malignaggi becomes the benchmark for what Garcia could potentially go on to achieve at his new weight and ‘Swift’ is confident that the extra seven pounds will mean a return to his devastating form of old.
“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,” said Garcia.
“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. 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.
“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.
“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.
Asked why his team chose the seasoned Malignaggi, who isn’t known as a puncher for his welterweight debut, Garcia stated; “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.
“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.”
Talk of a world title shot is already in the air for Garcia if he comes through Malignaggi next month, although the American isn’t looking that far ahead and only has the ‘Magic Man’ on his mind right now.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Garcia added.
Tickets for August 1 are priced at $250, $150, $75 and $45 and are on sale now. They’re available at www.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.