Q&A: Danny Garcia Talks Connection With Hip-Hop, Boxing Prep
With Floyd Mayweather retired and Manny Pacquiao nearing the end of his career, boxing fans have questioned whether the sport has any stars to carry the torch. Danny Garcia could very well be that man.
The 28-year-old is undefeated at 32-0 and holds the WBC welterweight belt, with more gold in his sights. While he has the skill, its still unclear if he can carry the sport, as Mayweather and Pacquiao have done in recent years. For now, his immediate future includes a fight against Samuel Vargas on Nov. 12 in his hometown of Philadelphia, followed by Keith Thurman for the WBA belt next spring.
With fight night looming, we visited Garcia at his Philly gym, where we talked to him about his love for hip-hop, being friends with Jadakiss, what it's like being a champion, and Floyd Mayweather... among other things.
Explain Philadelphia to people that aren’t from here.
I am born and raised in North Philadelphia, so it doesn’t get more Philly than me. I’m from the Juniata section and Philly is a tough city. Everybody has that tough attitude... that hard attitude. We have a lot of talent and a lot of competition here. The bad part is everybody wants to be No. 1.
And, you are number 1...
Yea, so that’s where the hate comes from. I never put myself in a bad situation where I have to worry about a hater or who's trying to take my spot. I created my own lane, so I just focus on what I’m doing. The good thing is we have a lot of motivation and I love to touch the streets of Philadelphia.
You do a lot in the city. Can you talk about about your charity drive with Philabundance?
It’s important when you have status to give back and that’s what we are doing with this fight. We are giving back to people in need, because $10 from each ticket for my next fight (November 12th vs. Samuel Vargas at the Liacorus Center on Temple’s campus) will go to Philadbundence. We also have a canned food drop off as well, and it's great for the city. I know we are going to make a big difference in Philadelphia.
You're a huge hip-hop fan. Who are some of your favorite rappers?
Meek Mill and French Montana are my favorites.
Don’t you rap or have a record label?
I can wrap Christmas presents (laughs). Nah, I have my little sisters, the Siangie Twins, who have like almost a million followers on Instagram. I’m more focused on pushing my little sisters than anything else.
Who do you listen to when you’re training?
I listen to everybody -- Meek, French [Montana], and Jadakiss, who's one of my favorite rappers and one of my friends too.
Jadakiss is your friend?
Yea and French and Meek. Fabolous too.
What’s it like being friends with Jadakiss?
Man, Jada is awesome. He’s a real cool guy. He’s such an OG, so he knows the game and treats everyone equally. He’s the guy you listen to because he knows the game and he always drops knowledge.
So, you meet your favorite rappers and then find out they are fans of yours as well?
Yea, for sure. The first time I saw Jadakiss was at Powerhouse, and he was like, "Oh Danny Garcia! Let me see those arms, you got the golden arms. Those things be killing people." I was like, "I don’t know. My mom is left handed. Maybe, she gave me the crazy arm." (laughs)
Haven’t some of these rappers dropped your name in a song?
Jadakiss, Fat Joe, French Montana... [Fat Joe] said something like, "Brain shockers, we read ya'll, chopped 100 racks on Danny Garcia". It’s on the song called "Madison Squares." French Montana just put me on his new song with P. Diddy, so that’s what’s up. The hip-hop community loves me and they saying good things, thankfully.
Being that you are undefeated, does it make you nervous going into each fight? Because, you have so much more on the line?
Nah, I don’t even think about that. I go in there, and as long as I know I'm 110% prepared, that I am good... the sky is the limit. I’ve been the underdog before, so I don’t even worry about defeat. I just go out there and fight my heart out.
You are a legit world champion and not many people can claim that. What is the day in the life of a world champion right now?
Wake up, run, eat a little bit, sleep, come to the gym, work out and then do conditioning. Then, I go home eat, go to sleep and wake up the next morning and do the same thing over again. I’ve been doing it two months straight and I love it. I get a chance to showcase my skills to the world through competition. I love the competition and the love and hate from the fans.
What is it like to be a world champion?
It’s great (laughs), it’s a great feeling. I didn’t realize I was the champion for a long time. I became a world champion in 2012 and for three or four fights in a row, I forgot I was a champion. Sometimes I think about a globe and realize I am a champion of that (laughs). It’s a great feeling.
I think you still come off pretty humble, but when you can back it up, it is what it is.
People express confidence in different ways. I’m not the biggest talker, but I express myself in different ways. Like the clothes I wear or the clothes I wear in the ring, I try to stand out with things like that and express myself more in fashion than me talking.
Do you think boxing is more mental or physical?
It’s both, because you have to be in great shape physically for 12 rounds, but more than that, you have to believe. You have to believe that you are the best and no one can beat you. I would have to say it’s both because you can be ready in one way and not the other.
So your next fight is November 12th: Danny Garcia (38-0) vs. Samuel Vargas (25-2-1) at the Liacouras Center on Temple’s campus. What is your strategy going into this fight?
I just have to be me and not try anything spectacular. Once I get in there and stay composed and do what I do, I should have a great night.
A lot of people wanted me to ask you about the possibility of fighting Floyd Mayweather one day. Do you think you will ever fight him?
I will fight anyone in boxing, but right now, I am booked for the next year. If he ever does come back I’m the man he’ll have to see (laughs). Right now, I have to focus on Samuel Vargas and Keith Thurman in March.
Danny Garcia's fight against Samuel Vargas will air live on Saturday night (Nov. 12) on Spike TV's Premier Boxing Champions at 9pm ET. For more info, visit PremierBoxingChampions.com.