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Danny Garcia has been here before ... many times

Boxing Junkie logo Boxing Junkie 12/3/2020 Michael Rosenthal
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Danny Garcia speaks of his meeting with Errol Spence Jr. as if it’s the fight of his life. It probably is.

If he wins on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, he will have reached the peak of his 13-year career and possibly punched his ticket to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. If he loses, particularly if it’s a clear setback, he might never again receive an opportunity of this magnitude.

“We definitely know what’s at stake. We pushed ourselves to the limit every day,” Garcia said at a news conference Wednesday.

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) is a 3½-1 underdog, according to BetMGM. He definitely has his work cut out against Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), who seems on paper to have all the physical advantages.

The former two-division titleholder from Philadelphia has only one obvious edge: experience. He has fought on a big stage since the day he climbed into the ring to face Nate Campbell on the 2011 Marcos Maidana-Erik Morales card in Las Vegas.

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Danny Garcia covets the title belts held by Errol Spence Jr. Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

That fight, which Garcia won by decision, kicked off one of the most impressive runs over the past decade. He fought and beat in order immediately after Campbell: Kendall Holt, Morales, Amir Khan, Morales again, Zab Judah, Mauricio Herrera, Rod Salka, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero.

He has fought 13 current or former world titleholders, winning 11 times. And he’s 7-2 in title fights. That includes the first Morales fight in 2012, in which Garcia won the vacant WBC 140-pound title in Houston.

To say he has been there and done that is an understatement. So forgive him if he isn’t fazed by the enormous task at hand.

“This is a big stage, but I’ve been here before,” he said. “I’ve been headlining fights on the championship level for eight years. I’ve always been a top-level fighter.”

Spence seconded that notion.

“Nobody forced me to fight Danny Garcia,” he said. “But I wanted to face someone dangerous who would keep me focused and in the gym training hard. Fighting someone who’s a great fighter like Danny pushes me to another level. That’s the level I’m supposed to be at.”

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Garcia (second from right) and Spence speak at a news conference Wednesday. Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

Of course, we know that Garcia ran into trouble not long after his victory over Guerrero, in which he won the vacant WBC 147-pound title in Los Angeles.

Two fights later, in 2017, he lost a split decision and his belt to Keith Thurman and fell to Shawn Porter by a close unanimous decision for the same title he lost to Thurman, who had vacated it.

Since then, Garcia retreated into the background as rivals like Spence and Manny Pacquiao collected welterweight titles and took center stage. “Swift” has fought only twice in the past two years, stopping Adrian Granados in April of last year and outpointing Ivan Redkach in January.

People had begun to ask, “Have we already seen the best of Danny Garcia?”

Then came Saturday’s matchup. Garcia, hungry for another big opportunity, began calling out Spence about a year ago. And the unified titleholder (IBF and WBC) liked the idea.

Fans would’ve understood had Spence decided to take an easy fight after his horrific car accident in October of last year but, as he said, he wanted to face a big-name opponent to motivate himself.

What better choice than one of the most recognizable and respected fighters in the division, one determined to experience the feeling of having a championship belt wrapped around his waist one more time.

“Boxing is a sport of timing and the time is now,” Garcia said. “I feel great and had a tremendous camp. I did everything I was supposed to do. I just have to go out there Saturday night and do what I do best.

“… This is a great opportunity. There’s no feeling like winning, and winning a world title is the best feeling in the world. I’ve taken it for granted before, but in this world you learn off of your mistakes and become a better person, a better man. That’s why I’m here today.”

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