After an impressive amateur career, in which he tallied a 107-13 mark, Garcia fell short of an Olympic gold dream. So Garcia turned pro at 19 years old. Oscar De la Hoya took notice of Garcia’s talent and signed the protégé to a promotional contract.
Since making the jump to the professional ranks, the talented “Swift” Garcia has not blinked twice. The Philadelphia born pugilist, who grew up watching Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De la Hoya, is the throwback type. On October 18th, on the Hopkins/Pavlik undercard in AC, Garcia will compete in his eighth professional fight in less than a year.
So far the resume has been impressive, 7-0 with 6 knockouts. Most of his bouts have been on the undercards of high profile events, including Mayweather/Hatton, De la Hoya/Forbes, and now Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik. As long as Garcia continues to knock people out in less than two rounds, the boxing world will begin to take notice.
TSS sat down with Garcia to discuss the youngster’s rise up the boxing rankings.
RM: Tell me about how you became interested in boxing.
Danny Garcia: Well, my dad used to be a boxer. He was good but he didn’t get to fulfill his destiny. So he is kind of living his dream through me. In Philadelphia where I am from, you are not allowed to train in a boxing gym until you’re ten years old. So, when I turned ten, I got into the gym with my dad and we have been working hard ever since.
RM: Well, you had a pretty successful amateur career, and had a chance to become an alternate at the Olympics in Beijing. What is the biggest difference between the boxing at the amateur level as opposed to the professional level?
DG: I like the pros better. In the amateurs you let your hands go a lot more. In the amateurs I was not really using my power because we were so worried about throwing so many punches. But in the pros, it requires a lot more patience. I am able to sit down on my punches and use my power. That is why I like the pros.
RM: How does your success as an amateur compare to your success as a professional?
DG: I think I will be more successful as a pro. My dream as an amateur was to go to Beijing and win the gold medal. But I have more of a pro style. And I have gained success very early in my career because I could use my power and ability a lot more.
RM: Ok, I see. If you could compare your fighting style to anyone who would it be?
DG: I have been getting comparisons to Miguel Cotto. I fight like Danny Garcia. But from what I heard, people say I look like Cotto in the ring.
RM: Well since you’re still a young guy at 20 years old, so I have to ask, why did you choose boxing over all the other sports? Did you ever want to play any other sports?
DG: Actually, I played every sport. I played football, ice hockey, basketball, and everything. I was actually the starting cornerback on my football team in my sophomore year. But for some reason I got hurt in every sport I played other than boxing. For some reason I would get a sprained ankle out of nowhere. Boxing has always been my first love anyway.
RM: So with boxing you are just hurting other people. You are not hurting yourself. Is that how it works?
DG: (Garcia laughs) Yeah that is how it works. I am knocking people out in boxing.
RM: I noticed that you were signed with Golden Boy Promotions before your first fight, how did that work out?
DG: At the 2007 U.S. National Championships Barry Hunter who works with Shelly Finkel saw me fight. Then Shelly Finkel called me and he came out to one of my fights. Shelly and I have a great relationship and he helped me sign on to Golden Boy.
RM: You turned professional in November of last year. You have a record of 7-0 with 6 knockouts. On October 18th you will be fighting for the eighth time in less than a year on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City. Do you feel any pressure for being moved up so fast?
DG: Well, the better I get, I know it is going to be harder for me to get fights. I have been ending my fights fairly quickly. You know, as far as training, it does get difficult when you have to train full speed every month for a new opponent. But it keeps me focused on my goals and I want to continue doing it.
RM: So, you are kind of like a gym rat?
DG: Yeah, that is what I am, a gym rat. Well my dad is the real gym rat. I take after him.
RM: Did you end up finding an opponent for your fight on October 18th?
DG: Yes, my opponent’s name is Darelle Sukerow. His record is 14-15 with four knockouts, and he is right-handed, that is all I know about him.
RM: How does it affect you mentally when you do not know anything about the guy you are fighting?
DG: Well, that is where you amateur experience kicks in. In the amateurs, when you go into a tournament, you don’t know anything about the other guy unless you fought him before. I have been very successful just worrying about me. So the less I know about my opponent, the better I am. I am just worrying about me being prepared. When the fight comes, I am just going to be doing what I do.
RM: What is your motivation in boxing? I know you have been boxing your entire life but what drives you to go to the gym everyday?
DG: Philadelphia is a tough city. My family is what motivates me. I keep working hard to get my family out here. You know, to get them out of the ghetto, that is what motivates me. I have to continue to train hard and keep striving for the best. My family keeps me motivated. I want better for them.
RM: Did you have a tough childhood?
DG: My childhood was rough because we grew up in a rough area. But my family was strong. And I thank my parents for raising us right. I am fighting for my family. I continue to work hard everyday for my parents because they worked so hard for me.
RM: Who were some of your idols growing up?
DG: The first fight I have ever seen was a Julio Cesar Chavez fight. I liked Chavez a lot growing up. Then Oscar came around and I started following him. So it was Chavez then Oscar.
RM: Ok, well what does the future hold for Danny Garcia five years from now?
DG: Hopefully I am a two time champion by then. I want to win the junior welterweight title as soon as possible. I am hoping I will win the junior welterweight title in two years. Five years from now I am hoping to have both the junior welterweight and welterweight titles.
RM: So you think you would be ready to fight the top guys at 140 pounds in two years?
DG: I’ll fight Paulie Malignaggi, I’ll fight Ricky Hatton. I’ll fight Kendall Holt or Ricardo Torres. I’ll fight all of the top guys in my division. I mean, they are good fighters but my style matches up good with those guys. You know, I have been successful early in my career and I have a strong amateur background. I am fast and strong. So, I think I will be ready to fight any of those guys in the near future.
RM: What do you like to do for fun?
DG: I like to go to the mall and hang out with my friends, simple things like that.
RM: Do you have anything you want to tell the boxing fans out there about yourself? The floor is yours Danny.
DG: Look out for the next great Puerto Rican fighter. This is Danny Garcia from Philly. I am very excited to make a name for myself in the sport and I am here to make everybody proud.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV