Junior welterweight contender Danny Garcia is hoping to make a quick turn from prospect to titleholder when he faces the legendary Erik Morales for the WBC belt on March 24 in Houston, live on HBO, and is confident he's got the goods to pull off the win in his first major title crack, but he expects a tough fight from the gritty veteran.
"I’m definitely expecting him to bring everything he has to the table. I know it’s going to be a hard fight. He’s a tough veteran and he still has a lot left as you can see from his last couple fights" said Garcia.
"I’m not going to have a game plan, I’m just going to go in there and do what I do because it ain’t the same as looking at it on TV and actually being in the ring. So my job is to be in 110% condition, adapting to the fight, and giving the fans a great fight".
Garcia (22-0, 14 KO) landed this title shot thanks to a win on October 15 over Kendall Holt on the Hopkins vs Dawson undercard. It was a strong, assured performance from a young fighter who had previously shown a few notable flaws in fights against Ashley Theophane and Nate Campbell, though he beat Campbell by very wide scores.
Morales (52-7, 36 KO) is coming off sort of a storybook comeback year in 2011. In April, he took Marcos Maidana dead to the limit in a Fight of the Year contender, and in September he picked up the WBC title from young Pablo Cano on the Mayweather vs Ortiz show, and while it may be a paper title, I just find it difficult to call Erik Morales a paper titlist.
But even in the immediate aftermath, I wondered if it was even possible that Morales had another performance in him as good as the one he had against Maidana. We didn't see that Morales against Cano -- he was pretty good and he was entertaining as always, but he found himself in a dogfight with a kid who had never been tested.
Garcia, 23, is young, fresh, and talented. He could be an awful style matchup for Morales, but that's the life of a guy who holds a title sometimes, and since the other option would be the WBC protecting Morales endlessly (if only he'd been born a Chavez), this is definitely preferable. Garcia isn't the world's most exciting fighter, but he's done his job thus far in his career and is probably about as ready as he's going to get.
In some ways Garcia is getting a wounded old buck to pick off. Now he has to be good enough.