Garcia: 'I am young, fast and strong'
Aside from watching two in-their-prime fighters duke it out, there is nothing in boxing quite as intriguing as a crossroads fight between a young contender and a veteran former champ. That's what we'll get Saturday when rising junior welterweight star Danny "Swift" Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs) meets Kendall "Rated R" Holt for the vacant NABO junior welterweight title on the televised pay-per-view undercard of Bernard Hopkins' title defense against Chad Dawson. Against Holt (27-4, 15 KOs), Garcia will take a big step up in competition to face a still-hungry former champ angling to get back in the mix for big fights in a talent-rich division. Taking a few minutes out of training for Saturday's fight to speak to ESPN.com Deportes, Garcia had this to say about Holt, the 140-pound division and his immediate plans:
How was your training for this fight?
I trained in Philadelphia. We did 10 weeks of camp, trained really hard, me and my dad and the whole Garcia camp. We got great sparring, great conditioning, we are 110 percent ready to roll.
What is your take on Holt?
He is a good fighter, but we trained hard and we're so well prepared that I am not worried about him. We're going to get in there, we're going to stick to the game plan, we're going to make adjustments, we're going to adapt and we're going to come out victorious.
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Do you believe you have a better chance by outboxing him or outslugging him?
I can adjust to any type of fight, but yeah, I can definitely outbox him. I have the youth, I have the better legs, I can definitely outbox him. But I can outbang him, too. But whatever happens in the fight, we're just going to adjust to it.
The junior welterweight picture is pretty crowded right now. What would it take for you to get into the mix with the top guys?
First of all, on [Saturday] I need to get Kendall Holt out of the way. But I feel that I can fit perfectly in that picture. There is a lot of talent and there are a lot of young guys like me, and it's a good division.
Who do you consider to be the guy to beat at 140 pounds in order to get recognized as the best?
There are a lot of good fighters, but right now I am not even looking at that because I have a task in front of me on [Saturday], so I can't look past anybody. Right now, I am so focused on my opponent that I am just ready to rock and roll.
You recently said you don't want to rush things, but you're facing a dangerous former champ in your 22nd fight. How soon will you be ready for the best fighters in the division?
I feel like I am ready. I am 21-0, I have a great amateur background, I am young, I am fast, I am strong. I just feel like those guys can't do anything that I can't do. I feel like I am better and I think I am ready to take the next step up.
How important is it for you to make a great impression in this fight?
I think it's very important that I look good and sharp because there's going to be a lot of people watching. The first impression is always a big impression. But I am not going to go out there and try too hard and then get out of my fight game. I am just going to be me and be relaxed, and I am going to look great.
Are you planning a long stay at junior welterweight, or would you consider a jump to 147 anytime soon?
I can make this weight for a long time, but my ultimate goal is to win big at 140 and then move on to 147 and win there, too.
Win or lose, what's the plan after this fight?
There are no plans right now. We're not looking past anybody, and [I'm] definitely training hard for [Saturday]. I am 110 percent ready for my opponent, and we're going to get in there and destroy him.
How do you expect the fight to develop, round by round?
I see myself breaking him down and stopping him. I don't have a prediction. Whatever happens, happens. But I know it's going to be a great performance.
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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