LONDON (March 12) - Unified light-welterweight world champion Danny Garcia is unfazed at being overlooked as Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent.
The undefeated 25-year-old knows that victory this Saturday night against Mauricio Herrera, live and exclusive on BoxNation, will herald further calls for him to be the next man to face pound-for-pound king Mayweather.
Having blitzed his way past a host of top names in the 140-pound division, Garcia has emerged as one of boxing’s leading lights and returns to action in Puerto Rico this weekend following his momentous victory over Lucas Matthysse last September.
That time he was fighting on the undercard of Mayweather’s record breaking showdown with Canelo Alvarez, with his highly impressive victory over the feared Argentine Matthysse leading to calls for him to be next to challenge the man headlining the bill.
However, Garcia was overlooked as Mayweather’s May opponent at the expense of the hard-hitting Marcos Maidana, though he is unperturbed by this, despite many believing he should have been in the big money sweepstakes.
“I'm a boxer, at the end of the day I like to fight the best, so you know that's what my manager wanted, and that's what my team wanted, and that's what I want,” Garcia said, speaking on fighting Mayweather.
“Destiny is destiny. I'm okay with whatever happens. I don't question my manager's job, I never did, and I think that's why we're in the position today where people think I should be fighting him [Mayweather] and people think I deserve to fight because my manager and my promoter did a great job so far.
“We weren't really pressing for the fight, we just let Golden Boy do their job and I let Al Haymon [manager] do his job. So, I think they're doing a great job and I'm doing my job, and hopefully the fight might happen one day,” said Garcia.
The WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine light-welterweight world champion is well aware that should he continue to impress up against the skilled Mexican-American Herrera he will be one of the leading candidates to fight Mayweather in the near future.
Philadelphia born Garcia goes in against Herrera in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where he will be returning to the birth place of his parents and fulfilling a lifetime ambition of fighting on the mountainous island which has produced a host of world champions including Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto.
“It's always been a dream of mine to fight in Puerto Rico, just to reach out to my fans in Puerto Rico, because I am Puerto Rican and they don't have a champion right now. So I think this gave me the perfect time for me to go over there and show the Puerto Rican fans that they have a true champion,” he said.
“It's very exciting, because this is where my family's from, this is where my roots are and it's something I always asked Richard [Schaefer].
“I think this is very special to me because this is one of my dreams that I always dreamed of, and to go over there and fight in front of all the Puerto Rican fans that are going to be there is amazing. I've never fought in an arena where every single fan was mine, and it's going to be very special to me and I'm going to deliver,” said Garcia.
Despite going in as the favourite to win the fight, and with apparent big fish to fry, Garcia is adamant that he won’t be underestimating Herrera, the last man to beat the highly touted WBO light welterweight world champion Ruslan Provodnikov.
“He's a good, tough fighter. I know he wants to be world champion and I know he's going to come to fight, but I fought many amateur fights, I fought the best pros in the world, and I don't think there's anything he can show me differently than I already do,” Garcia said.
“So, I'm going to go in there and do what I do best, and that's go in there, make adjustments, and get the crowd excited,” he added.
The 33-year-old Herrera is used to going against the grain having turned professional fairly late at 27, beating the tough Provodnikov and taking Mike Alvarado the distance in a closely contested decision.
Herrera is under no illusions that he will enter the ring as the underdog when he steps in against Garcia, though, this is nothing new to the man they call ‘El Maestro’.
“I'm feeling like I'm being overlooked,” said Herrera. “And maybe part of that is because I'm not really known, nobody really knows me. I mean, the same way with Provodnikov when he went up against [Tim] Bradley, I mean, I've seen comments and hear people say, who's this guy? Who's this ESPN guy? He isn't going to do anything. What is Bradley fighting this guy for? And as you see what happened, you know, it was a different story,” he said.
“But I feel the same way, I mean, when people don't know who you are and they see you have some losses, they don't know your whole story and your whole background, and they see a knockout percentage and they go by that too.
“But all that doesn't matter, with boxing anything can happen. And they're going to see that I'm at that level, and that I will rise to the occasion,” Herrera said.