By: Hans Themistode
There’s always a smile plastered across the face of former two division world champion Danny Garcia. A big one at that.
His happy demeanor has always been for good reason. He spent the first ten years of his career as an undefeated fighter, and five of those years as a world champion before picking up the first loss of his career to Keith Thurman in 2017.
The man nicknamed “Swift” bounced back in a major way with a stoppage win against Brandon Rios before losing a close contest against Shawn Porter shortly after.
In 2019, Garcia was seen putting Adrian Granados on his backside en route to a stoppage win. With the victory, his trademark smile followed it shortly after.
You would be hard pressed to ever find Garcia without that aforementioned smile, but there was a storyline behind it. The smile was nothing but a lie. A mask if you will. Similar to the one he often wears on his way to the ring.
“I been boxing for 21 years since I was 10 years old,” said Garcia. “All the big fights and the pressure, sometimes you get tired of it. There’s a lot of pressure and people expect a lot out of you. Sometimes you forget what makes you happy. It becomes a business so it’s like you’re not having fun anymore.”
Garcia’s time sulking in the demands and pressures that are associated with someone in his position didn’t last long. By the time the former two division champion walks through the ring ropes against Ivan Redkach on January 25th, at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York, it will be nine full months since the boxing public has seen him.
Call it a mini vacation. A recharging period so to speak. Whatever you decide to name it, it worked. With the time spent away from the fight game, Garcia realized just how much it’s meant to him.
“I realized that this is what makes me happy. When I sit home and I’m not fighting I just don’t feel happy so I’m just counting my blessings my right now. I fell back in love with the sport of boxing again. My last camp I felt good. This camp I felt good so I just want to go out there and count my blessings and give the fans a good show.”
It’s great to see Garcia come to the realization that he loves the sport once again, but hopefully he also realizes the position he currently occupies.
This contest against Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) was never supposed to take place. Instead, a matchup against unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr (25-0, 21 KOs) was on his radar. Spence would of course go on to get involved in a horrific car accident which put that bout on hold.
So now, Garcia is in a prove it spot if you will. All eyes will be fixated on him and his performance.
Needless to say, a loss to Redkach ends any hopes he has of competing on the big stage once again. Even a struggle against Redkach could lead to Garcia being shoved to the side in favor of someone else.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an audition but it’s a really important fight for me and my future. My future starts on Saturday night for all the big fights. I’ve been in a lot of big fights in my career. I’ve fought 13 world champions and been in 10 world title fights. I know Redkach is hungry but I know what it takes to win at this level. I know what a win on Saturday night will do for me and all the big fights that are right there waiting for me but I have to focus on Redkach right now, I can’t overlook him. I have to dominate him and then the sky’s the limit after that.”
It isn’t just the sky, but the entire galaxy is at the fingertips of Garcia if he is able to pull off the victory on Saturday night. Garcia currently occupies the number one ranking in the WBO as well as the number two spots for the WBA and WBC as well. He essentially has his pick of any world champion if he manages to pick up the win.
Although many of the big names have continuously called him out, there is one fighter in particular who wants a fight with Garcia as soon as possible. One that shares a history with him as well.
“Yeah for sure, this is a business, anything can be made if it’s done right,” said Garcia when discussing the possibility of a fight with WBO belt holder Terence Crawford. “We fought for free in the amateurs so why not fight for money.”
A fight with Crawford would be a great one but not something that anyone should look forward to. Garcia might be interested in a bout with Crawford but he is even more interested in a showdown with either Errol Spence Jr or WBA titlist Manny Pacquiao.
“I like my chances against either one of those guys. It’ll be a great fight but I believe I can beat either of them but first things first, I have to take care of Redkach on Saturday night.”