Danny Garcia and the future of Barclays Center boxing face a truly defining moment on Saturday, Jan. 25 on Showtime.
Danny Garcia has been in this prior position of regaining a piece of the welterweight title. The two-division champion from Philadelphia has also been in the ring seven times at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“This is my eighth fight at Barclays Center and I’m excited to be back,” he said Wednesday afternoon at the venue.
Garcia will oppose hard-hitting Ivan Redkach in a WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator, headlining action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, Jan. 25 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
And, yes this is a favorite venue for Garcia, a former WBC welterweight champion. He has the following here and fans don’t travel far up the Turnpike to see him.
The Barclays Center is currently in a crossroads at hosting boxing events, due mostly to a lack of drawing significant crowds. There have been discussions surrounding the idea the venue will no longer host major fights that have been televised on Showtime and FX1, in conjunction with Premier Boxing Champions.
Garcia and his latest fight in Brooklyn, as significant as it is, could alter the opinions of those in charge.
“I’ve fought in a quarter of the events here at Barclays Center, so you could say this is my house,” Garcia said. “I’ve had some historic fights here. I love walking in the tunnels and seeing my pictures next to Jay-Z, DMX and Rihanna.”
One of those pictures is Garcia walking from that tunnel to the ring.
He wasn’t looking for that photo Wednesday. It was one of two losses at Barclays Center that Garcia has on his record. He failed to retain the WBC title to Shawn Porter last September via unanimous decision
The other was to Keith Thurman two years ago. Then, the WBA title was at stake and Garcia lost that unanimous split decision that was controversial.
And this is a fight that will determine a lot for Danny Garcia. Many say this is a must-win over a relatively unknown opponent, a 24-4-1 tough southpaw from Ukraine.
He needs to win in order to get back in the mix. Porter is looking to regain the title he lost to Errol Spence Jr. in September. Manny Pacquiao, the WBA champion, who took the title from Thurman this year, was not available until April because the Senator from the Philippines could not break from political responsibilities.
So, Garcia knows what this all means next month in Brooklyn. The opponent is an underdog, unknown, and that is never to be taken as a walkover.
“I know Ivan is coming to fight,” Garcia said. “We’ve followed each other’s careers. I know he’s hungry and he wants to show the fans that he belongs on this level.’
The Barclays Center is expected to be lively with plenty of fans in the seats. Garcia has been a draw there and that will help a cause to keep boxing strong in Brooklyn.
SHOWTIME also sees 31-year-old Garcia as a commodity. He fights on the network and the ratings are respectable.
Next week, the network will begin a run of eight live boxing events in 10 weeks featuring many of the biggest stars in the sport. In Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 28, Gervonta Davis, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Badou Jack and Jean Pascal will compete in two world title fights.
On Jan. 10, Claressa Shields, the No. 1 star in women’s boxing, faces Christina Habazin for a unified 154-pound world title. Rising star Jaron “Boots” Ennis will also be on that card.
And, of course, on Jan. 25, two of the biggest stars in the sport, Danny Garcia and Jarrett Hurd, both former unified world champions, fighting in important, must-win fights to begin a new chapter in their careers.
“I just think the culture here in Brooklyn is great and I fit right in with it,” said Garcia. “Lots of hip-hop and Puerto Ricans. It’s the perfect market and we just go together.”
Yes, the culture does help and this fight for Garcia, let’s say is not expected to go to the decision. Fans in Brooklyn, they love the knockout and Danny Garcia has one of the better left-hooks in this competitive division at 147.
Garcia said, “If the top welterweights want to fight me, I’ll be ready whenever. Redkach makes a lot of sense because he’s a southpaw and that would have me ready for Errol Spence Jr. or Manny Pacquiao.”
But looking ahead, again, that has to wait. This bout is that must-win before talking about Pacquiao, And Spence, recovering from career-threatening injuries due to a car accident, as of now is not in the picture.
A fight with Manny Pacquiao… yes, that is a matchup. Danny Garcia has always looked forward to the career-defining fight against a legend and eight-division world champion.
“I always feel like I’m the best,” Garcia said. “They need me, I don’t need them. I’m one of the best fighters in the world and I’m going to be here for a while.”
And a win next month will guarantee Danny Garcia is in for more. Will there be more fights for him at the Barclays Center? That is something also to still be determined.