Garcia returns ‘home’ to defend title

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iol spt mar14 Danny Garcia AFP Undefeated Danny Garcia defends his two light welterweight world titles against fellow American Mauricio Herrera in a return to his family's homeland of Puerto Rico. Photo by: AFP

BAYAMõN, Puerto Rico – Undefeated Danny Garcia defends his two light welterweight world titles against fellow American Mauricio Herrera in a return to his family's homeland of Puerto Rico.

Garcia risks the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council crowns against a 33-year-old Californian in his first world title bout.

“I'm not coming here to lose my title,” Garcia said. “I'm going to come and defend like always. I'm going to win for my people in Puerto Rico.

“It has always been a dream of mine to fight in Puerto Rico. I'm excited about it. They don't have a champion right now.”

Garcia, 27-0 with 16 knockouts, comes off a unanimous decision triumph over Argentina's Lucas Matthysse last September.

Fighting Herrera, 20-7 with seven knockouts, will be Garcia's fifth defense of the WBC crown he won by taking a unanimous decision over Mexico's Erik Morales in 2012.

It will also be the fourth defense of the WBA title Garcia took from England's Amir Khan with a fourth-round stoppage in 2012.

The homecoming aspects have been played up for Garcia, whose father and trainer Angel Garcia is excited to have his son fight in Puerto Rico for the first time.

“It's a great honor for me to bring my son, the world champion, in front of our own people where I was born and grew up,” the elder Garcia said.

“We trained hard and we didn't change anything. The same winning combination and we don't expect any different results. It's going to be a win.

“This is a dream that I had when Danny was a child. Dreams aren't meant to be broken – not this one anyway.”

Herrera, who gives away eight years to his rival, is hoping to spoil the storybook ending Garcia has in mind.

“I trained very well. Fighting Danny is not something to take lightly. But I've fought guys tougher than him for peanuts,” Herrera said.

“I started boxing with my two brothers when I was 13 with no gear, bare hands. My biggest purse before this fight was $30,000. I've worked in construction and other handy jobs. This is my opportunity. This is my chance and I'm not about to let it pass me by.”

Garcia's long-term goal is a big-money showdown with another unbeaten US fighter, welterweight king Floyd Mayweather, who fights Marcos Maidana in May.

“At the end of the day I like to fight the best,” Garcia said. “Destiny is destiny. I'm OK with whatever happens. I don't question my manager's job and I think that's why we're in the position where people think I should be fighting him and people think I deserve to fight him. Hopefully the fight might happen one day.” – Sapa-AFP

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