SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 24, 2020 – Boxing fans don’t agree on much, but they all agree the welterweight division is among the most talent heavy in boxing. Two division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia can stake a claim among those, even if he’s not sitting in the top tier.
So why is Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) fighting Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach of Los Angeles via Ukraine (23-4-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday in Brooklyn? Sometimes the best choice in boxing is the only available choice. It’s the Showtime Championship Boxing event at the Barclays Center airing at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
With Errol Spence Jr. still rehabbing from his auto accident, Senator Manny Pacquiao currently tied up with his political duties, and Terence Crawford cooling his heels across the promoter street, Garcia decided he’d rather be in action than on the sidelines waiting for a dance partner who’s not showing up.
Enter Redkach, a serviceable opponent, but hardly a threat to Garcia. His losses were to Tevin Farmer, Dejan Zlaticanin, Argenis Mendez, and John Molina Jr. Redkach has reset his path with two good knockout wins, including his win last June over Devon Alexander.
No fighter who gives an honest effort should be disrespected. But Redkach is unlikely to pose any threat to Garcia. Garcia will stay busy and prevent any ring rust from settling on him while earning a paycheck. Let’s all remember his ill-fated matchup with one Rod Salka. Redkach is no Rod Salka. But please don’t bet the kids’ college fund on him. Both fighters made the welterweight limit with no issues on Friday.
Garcia makes his seventh appearance at Barclays Center and said his favorite fight there was against Zab Judah in 2013. “Every fight from now on is a fight for my legacy,” said Garcia. At age 31, “I’m a young veteran now. I feel great and I know that I’m one of the best fighters in the world. I’m here by popular demand. The rankings are what they are, so I just go in and do the fighting. I’m focused on showing the world that I’m a force to be reckoned with.
Garcia: Dress rehearsal for Errol Spence Jr.?
“I’m not Devon Alexander and I’m not any of the people that Redkach has knocked out.” Turning to Redkach at this week’s news conference, Garcia added, “Don’t try too hard in there because you might knock yourself out.”
Garcia says there’s no pressure on him and is fully focused on Saturday and not beyond. “I just have to go in there and get this victory. Whatever the future brings I’m ready, whether it’s Errol Spence Jr. or Manny Pacquiao. None of it happens without a win on Saturday … After that, I’m, ready for whoever wants to fight me.”
Redkach waives off thoughts of fighting as an underdog. He recognizes Garcia agreed to him as an opponent in part because he’s a southpaw, providing a dress rehearsal for an anticipated fight with southpaw Errol Spence, Jr.
“I know that he picked me because I’m a southpaw, but I’m ready to give Danny a rude wake-up,” said Redkach. “If he’s not 100 percent and focused mentally, he’s going to be in trouble when the bell rings.
“Danny García is a good fighter, but I have a game plan. That game plan is going to end with me knocking him out. You’re all going to see it on January 25. I respect Danny García and what he’s done, but what I’m bringing to the ring will be the best performance of my career.”
Redkach promised an entertaining fight for fans. “García has lost in the arena before and I’m going to make it happen again. This is going to be a very interesting fight.”
Every man in the ring has a puncher’s chance, but Garcia is not going to risk a shot at the big names and the big paychecks that come with them against someone especially risky. Fighting a southpaw is a good exercise for Garcia, and that’s mainly what it will be.
Undercard action: Jarrett Hurd returns to the ring
The co-main event is the card’s most interesting matchup. After last weekend’s surprising loss by Julian “JRock” Williams, the man he defeated to become a champion has even greater motivation to get back into the mix in the shifting super welterweight division. Former unified champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd of Maryland (23-1, 16 KOs) and Francisco “Chia” Santana of Santa Barbara, California (25-8-1, 12 KOs) are scheduled for 10 rounds in the super welterweight division.
“Julian Williams losing didn’t affect my motivation,” claims Hurd. “I still have that same motivation no matter what. I’m focused on this fight, and I wasn’t worrying about Julian’s fight. I’m sure he’ll bounce back again. We still have this task on Saturday and we haven’t thought about anything past it.
“I definitely want to get hit less, that’s first and foremost. I’m in a lot of Fight of the Year candidates, but I don’t want more of those back and forth fights. I want to control the fight and give a dominant performance Saturday and for the rest of my career,” said Hurd.
Santana said he knows no one gives him a shot to beat Hurd. “I was checking the betting spread and I’m a big underdog. They think I should just stay home, but everybody knows I come to fight. Regardless of whether I’m the underdog or not, I’m going to bring it. I love to fight. That’s what I come to do,” said Santana.
The 154-pound division continues to sort itself out, and fans will know more about Hurd’s ability to shuffle the standings after this bout.
Test of unbeaten super bantamweights: Fulton vs Khegai
Also on the televised undercard, two unbeaten super bantamweights compete for a minor title in a 12 round eliminator. “Cool Boy Steph” Stephen Fulton Jr. of Philadelphia (17-0, 8 KOs) and fellow unbeaten Arnold Khegai of Ukraine (16-0-1, 10 KOs) both say they’re ready to step up to top competition and will use this fight to prove it.
“We will see what happens Saturday night. He can talk about his style and his competition, but none of it matters when we’re standing across from each other,” said Khegai.
“Like he’s said, we’ll see it all in the ring on Saturday. We’re just talking now, but I can’t wait to get in there on this big stage and continue to make a name for myself,” replied Fulton.
Also appearing on the undercard is one of our Rising Stars for 2020, Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson of Baltimore (6-0, 4 KOs) in a six-round middleweight bout. His opponent is 2 and 10, enough said.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Instagram and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2020 by Falcon Valley Group