Boxing: Danny Garcia and the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Sweepstakes

By Joseph Santoliquito Aug 8, 2014
Floyd Mayweather is boxing's top prize and Danny Garcia plans to chase a marquee fight with him. | Mike Sloan/

PHILADELPHIA -- Danny Garcia cannot sit still. He has actually never been able to sit still. Even during training, the WBA and WBC junior welterweight world champion will not take a break. He has to wander over to a mirror in between sparring to throw a few more jabs, to check himself out, make sure his angles are sharp, his technique sound; and the Philadelphia-based the 26-year-old knows he has to keep moving.

That means getting by someone few have ever heard of: Rod Salka, a feather-punching lightweight making a jump to fight Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) at a catchweight of 142 pounds in a 10-rounder on Showtime on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. For Garcia, it also means moving forward to not only erase the controversial decision he won over Mauricio Herrera in March but to stay in line for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. sweepstakes in 2015.

What gnaws at Garcia in the back of his mind is the fact that he cannot just beat Salka (19-3, 3 KOs); he has to destroy him. Garcia needs to find some way to stay Mayweather-worthy while appeasing the critical boxing cognoscenti. After Herrera, he was in damage-control mode, knowing he was going to take a few more verbal and written knocks for fighting against the outclassed Salka -- a man no one thinks has a chance against the world-class Garcia. “Swift,” however, was quick to point out the times few thought he could win.

“When I was the underdog against [Amir] Khan and against [Lucas] Matthysse, I couldn’t understand it. How was I the underdog? But the media and people always want to choose the fighter with more fame and more publicity,” Garcia said. “That’s what makes the underdog when you’re fighting somebody who had probably a bigger name than you in the sport; but I never had in my mind that I was the underdog. I just trained hard, rose to the occasion and won in spectacular form.”

Though this is not a title fight, Salka could change his world with a victory over Garcia.

“I’m fighting the best fighter at 140 pounds in the world,” Salka said. “Titles are what they are, but would I rather fight some guy nobody ever heard of for a title or would I rather fight some guy everybody knows who he is for no title? Why wouldn’t I want to fight Danny Garcia. He’s the best we've got out there. It’s the biggest fight you could possibly get at 140 pounds. I really don’t care if I can put a belt on at the end of it or not. I can take my purse and go out and have a thousand of them made if I wanted, but what is that?”

The Herrera letdown also flickers in the corner of Angel Garcia’s eyes, too. Danny’s father and vocal trainer feels “Swift” will make easy work of Salka, who is a righty with flashy moves and a sly puncher. If anyone knows Garcia, it is Angel. He has nurtured his career and played the convenient role of mouthpiece the many times his son did not feel like talking.

“Danny is going to crush this guy,” Angel said. “You know it’s the same old thing with Danny. He had a tough night, an awkward night, against Herrera, but that’s behind us. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen again. Danny’s going to destroy this guy.”

Garcia, meanwhile, better watch himself. A little look too far ahead could be costly. Garcia says this is it for him at 140 pounds. He has plans to move up to 147 and aims to be Mayweather’s dance partner in May, when “Money” has the fifth fight of his six-fight Showtime deal.

“It’s my show [against Salka],” Garcia said. “I’m going to put on a great performance and give the fans a great fight. Don’t worry about it not being a title fight. It’s still a great fight.”

And then time again to get up and look forward.


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