Brooklyn Boro

Garcia vs. Thurman biggest Barclays brawl yet

Heated Words, Near Fracas Fuel Battle Between Unbeaten Welterweights

January 19, 2017 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Come March 4, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman will take center stage at Downtown’s home for pro boxing to decide the best welterweight in the world. Photo courtesy of Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
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Leave it to Angel Garcia to turn the biggest headline bout in Barclays Center history into an all-out war.

The trainer and father of unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia hurled an ugly series of racial slurs and expletives at WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman Wednesday afternoon at Barclays Center as the two pugilists officially kicked off the publicity cycle for their much-anticipated March 4 showdown at Downtown’s home for professional boxing.

“He’s going to f—k you up!” the elder Garcia shouted in one of his more publishable exhortations during the introductory presser before having to be physically separated from his son’s upcoming opponent.

“Don’t tell me to be quiet! I’m a grown man! I’ll jack you up!”

Fortunately, it won’t be Angel squaring off with Thurman come fight night, when the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues promise to be flooded with the biggest crowd ever to witness a bout at the arena.

Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) has been a Barclays Center staple since headlining the Opening Night card here back on Oct. 20, 2012.

The 28-year-old Philadelphia native of Puerto Rican descent boasts a 5-0 mark in our fair borough, knocking off the likes of Mexican boxing legend Erik Morales, Brooklyn’s own Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi, as well as Lamont Peterson and Rod Salka.

His at-times tempestuous father has been there for every notch on Garcia’s championship belts, oftentimes upping the ante at press events for his much more soft-spoken son.

But this time, Angel went a bit too far with his rhetoric, causing a near riot that had media members and executives on the dais scrambling for cover.

Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs), who is also 28 and unbeaten, didn’t allow his opponent’s dad to distract him from the business at hand, despite the steady — and thoroughly unnecessary — and unprovoked stream of insults.

“We can start punching people right here at the press conference, that doesn’t bother me,” noted the native of Clearwater, Florida. “But some of it is a form of ignorance and [is] unnecessary.

“I think Angel wants to stir up the opponent as much as he can and create stress within that fighter’s mind, and really just give his son every advantage in the fight.”

Danny Garcia will need that edge against Thurman, who is no stranger to the Brooklyn boxing scene.

He scored a unanimous decision victory over Jan Zaveck in his Barclays debut back on March 9, 2013, and outlasted Shawn Porter in 12 tough rounds here this past June to retain his title.

Words are words. What they do in the ring, that’s what matters,” Thurman insisted. “March 4, the first round, how [Garcia] approaches me, what kind of intensity he brings, that’s what going to be on my mind, not Angel.”

Whether Garcia’s father is on his mind or not, Thurman will have to be prepared to stave off a fighter who is very much at home in our fair borough, and also boasts a style very similar to his own.

“Danny Garcia is a very good fighter,” Thurman’s trainer, Dan Birmingham, intimated. “He’s like a mirror image of Keith Thurman. He boxes well, punches well and has good defense. But he’s facing a kind of fighter that he’s never faced before. Keith Thurman is the most talented welterweight in the world.”

Danny Garcia has always been able to live up to his father’s pre-fight rants, and March 4 will present him with another golden opportunity to do so before a national television audience as CBS has signed on to air the bout, marking just the second time in the last 40 years to network has done so.

“I just want to make sure I’m mentally and physically ready,” Garcia said. “If I’m ready, nobody can stop me. We’re going to do what we always do. Put the hard work in, talk a little trash and back it up.”

Not if Thurman has anything to say about it.

“I’m going to put his son to sleep,” Thurman shouted. “We’ll see how he talks when his son is lying on the blue mat.”

Brett Yormark, the CEO of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, is hoping the amped-up pre-fight smack talk results in an historic draw.

“Thousands of tickets have been sold for this fight and we are gaining incredible momentum,” he revealed. “I’m looking forward to a great night on March 4. Buy your tickets now. This is going to be one of those moments at Barclays Center that you need to circle on your calendar.”


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