PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - April 06, 2015                                                              
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Story & photos by John DiSanto


North Phillyís Danny Garcia, 29-0, 17 KOs, takes on DCís Lamont Peterson, 33-2-1, 17 KOs, on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, in a scheduled 12-rounder that will be broadcast live during primetime on NBC broadcast television.  The hotly anticipated bout between the two top junior welterweights is a natural match that should end any discussion (if there still is any discussion) about who the best 140-pounder is in the world today. 

However this clash of junior welterweight champions will be contested at a 143 pound catch weight with none of the belts held by either man at stake.  Garcia holds the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine championships, while Peterson still claims the IBF crown.  But no matter what happens on Saturday night, no belts will be transacted. 

With or without the belts on the line, the bout is an intriguing match worthy of both the attention and excitement the April 11th event has generated.  Still, with the two best junior welters facing off, the lack of titles involved has been a bit of a wet blanket leading up to the event.  However, Danny Garcia refuses to let this point distract him from the task at hand Ė to defeat Peterson before moving up to the welterweight class where bigger fights, bigger paydays and more glory await him. 

The big question surrounding this fights is, ĎWhy are the two best junior welterweights and the holders of most of the titles at 140 pounds fighting each other in a non-title bout?'

DANNY GARCIA:  ďIn order for this fight to be made, management, my team, his team, thatís the weight we agreed at.  It wasnít a reason for us to keep our titles just in case.  It was nothing like that.  So it was just a management decision.  It was a team decision.  In order for the fight to be made, thatís the weight we had to fight at.Ē 

So is this your last fight below 147 pounds?
  ďYeah, itís a good chance, but weíll see how I feel in the summertime. If I can make 140 in the summertime, I would love to fight one more time for the (junior welterweight) belt.  But if I canít do it, then Iíll definitely be fighting at 147 in the summertime.Ē 

So you are having trouble making 140 pounds? 

GARCIA:  ďIíve been at 140 since I was an amateur.  2006.  I put a lot of strain on my body making weight.  So it was best for me to fight at this weight.  In my last fight, I fought at a 142 catch weight.  Iím not saying that I canít make 140 again. But with the time off since August, I just donít want to cheat the fans.  I want to give them my best.  Like I said, in order for the fight to be made, this is the weight it had to be at.Ē 

Do you feel any disappointment at all that the belts arenít on the line against Peterson?

GARCIA:  ďNo.  Itís a big fight anyway.  I know a lot of the fans want it to be a unification fight.  But itís still a big fight to me, and itís the fight the fans wanted.  So Iím just happy.  The fans will get a great night of boxing on NBC.  This is still a big fight.  No matter with the belts or without the belts.  I think if the media just lets it go already and accepts that itís going to be a big fight without the belts, come April 11th I guarantee you that the media and the fans wonít even be talking about that anymore because the fight will be so good.Ē 

There are other IBF belts out there that you can win in the future, right? 

GARCIA:  ďThereís an IBF belt at 147.  I still have my whole career to fight for the IBF belt in other weight divisions, and other championship belts.Ē

Thereís a big welterweight fight happening on May 2nd, Mayweather-Pacquiao.  Do you ever think about the possibility of eventually fighting the winner in the future? 

GARCIA:  ďI would love to.  Big money!  I would love to.  Thatís what boxingís about and thatís every fighters dream.  To fight on that stage, of course for a lot of money, with all the exposure in the world.  But itís one fight at a time.  Every fighter gets their chance to eat.  Everybody canít get to the table at one time.  Iím just taking it one fight at a time.  Thatís it.  One fight at a time.  Iím focused on the task at hand.Ē 

"The task at hand is Lamont Peterson on national broadcast TV.  What does that feel like?  Is there added pressure to perform on a stage that big? 

GARCIA:  ďI got to go out there and do what I always do.  I got to go out there and dominate.  I got to win the fight.  That way, those big fights will be alive for me.  Itís very important for me to go out there and look good and win this fight. Go out there and show the world, all the new fans, who Danny Garcia is.  I think the whole point of this being on the regular networks is to broaden boxing.  To make boxing bigger.  To bring boxing back to where it used to be.  I think the first showcase on NBC peaked at like 4.6 million viewers.  So I know the second one will be even bigger.  Iím blessed and Iím happy and I canít wait to go out there are showcase my skills.Ē 

If you beat Peterson Saturday, youíll be 30-0.  Thatís a big milestone. 

GARCIA:  ďWeíre calling it ďDirty 30Ē.  Itís amazing.  I see my career one fight at a time.  I just see it.  A lot of fighters say it goes by so fast.  This is my 30th fight and I soak in every moment of it.  When I won the world title, it took a long time for it to soak in and actually feel like a world champion.  I had defended my belt a few times, but when I beat Matthysse I think thatís when I solidified myself as a true champion.  I gave the fans what they wanted.  I beat him in good fashion.  It was great.  Now itís just history in the making.  And Iím just ready to win my 30th fight.  And itís just a blessing.Ē 

Is this fight with Peterson important to your legacy? 

GARCIA:  ďI think every fight now, Iím building my legacy one fight at a time.  Iíve been a world champion for three years.  Iíve defended my title five times.  I was an underdog two times in those title defenses.  I just think that every fight now, Iím adding another fight to my legacy.  Out of the list of champions that Iíve faced before, this is even bigger for my legacy.  He is the champion.  Heís faced great opponents.  Heís faced great fighters too.  I think stylistically this is going to be a great fight.  I think itís big for my legacy.  So I got to be sure I go in there and take care of my business.Ē 

What does Peterson bring to the fight that could pose a problem for you? 

GARCIA:  ďHeís a champion.  So I got to go in there prepared.  Canít take no one light.  I never took no one light.  Iím running every day, Iím training hard.  Iím disciplined.  Iím sacrificing.  Iím doing everything I always do.  I have more experience, Iím stronger, Iím smarter, and Iím just training hard.  Iím worried about the things that Danny Garcia has to do to get better in the gym every day. Sharpening my skills and my tools and make sure on April 11th I go in there and handle business.  Every fight is a different fight.  Sometimes I go out there and chase him down.  Sometimes I have to make adjustments and box my opponents like I boxed Matthysse.  But every fight is different.  I prepare myself in the gym for the worst.  If I have to go in there and bang it out for 12 rounds, then I have to bang it out.  If I have to chase him down, then I have to chase him down.  I have to make adjustments like a true champion does.  April 11th, I canít wait.Ē 

You both fought Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse, and you definitely had better results.  How does that affect your preparation and mindset for this fight? 

GARCIA:  ďThose are common opponents that we faced.  I knocked Amir Khan out.  And I beat Matthysse, and Matthysse knocked him out.  We had a close fight.  They say styles make fights, and I say my style is to kick his butt.  My style is to kick his butt.Ē 

Is it tempting to go for the knockout, since Matthysse was able to do it to Peterson? 

GARCIA:  ďNo, Iím not going in there to try to knock his head off, all crazy.  Iím going to go in there and be Danny Garcia, and set him up.Ē 

Peterson went right to Matthysse and made it easy for him.  If he does that with you, would that be to your advantage? 

GARCIA:  ďNo doubt.  Iím ready for whatever.  If he wants to try box, then Iím just going to have to be a lion and stalk him down.  Or, if he wants to fight, then we can fight.  Everyone knows I can fight.  Thatís not hard for me.Ē 

You are going back to Brooklyn for this fight.  Is Brooklyn is like a second home to you now? 

GARCIA:  ďI love Brooklyn!  This is my 4th fight there.  Iím 3-0, 2 knockouts, and Iím looking to make it 4 and 0 on April 11th.  Itís a great atmosphere.  I love the Barclays Center.Ē 

Right now you are leading the pack of Philly fighters, but donít you think that this is a very good time for boxers from Philadelphia? 

GARCIA:  ďPeople are starting to notice now that this is a boxing market.  We have great fighters in Philadelphia.  Iím happy for Bryant Jennings, Jesse Hart, Gabriel Rosado, and all the young fighters doing their thing on TV.  Iím just happy for them.  Philadelphia is just a boxing city and itís amazing.  It feels great.  It feels like itís taking pressure off of me now!  It was usually just me or Bernard.  No one else was stepping up at that time.  It was just me that had the title.  And Iím just happy for everyone from Philadelphia.  Like I said, itís taking some pressure off me.Ē 

But you still must feel a lot of pressure to bring home this win and keep everything moving forward, right? 

GARCIA:  ďI got to go in there and be smart, land my big punches, and get the ďWĒ.  This is a great matchup.  Iíve faced a lot of great fighters in my career. Come April 11th, youíre going to see Danny Garcia at his best.  Every fight Iíve fought in my career was for a reason, and all I can say is itís going to be a tremendous fight.Ē 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - April 06, 2015