CARSON, Calif. — Danny Garcia walked into his nationally televised fight against Adrian Granados on Saturday night with a gorilla-sized chip on his shoulder. The decorated boxer with an impressive 12-year career was being underestimated.
With two blemishes on his record over his last three bouts, the Philadelphia born-and-bred fighter was no longer considered a blue-chip pugilist. Mind you, he was a couple of swing rounds away from being undefeated, but no one seemed to remember.
All of a sudden he was on the outside listening in on debates of who the best welterweight was in the star-studded division. Names like Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, and Shawn Porter — and a gantlet of matchups between them — were rattled off before Garcia even came to mind.
Such was the hand Garcia was dealt after dropping razor-thin decisions to Thurman and Porter.
Knowing very well that he had to make a big statement, Garcia fired on all cylinders and eviscerated the journeyman challenger Granados for seven straight rounds at the Dignity Health Sports Park, knocking him down three times en route to a technical knockout.
A rejuvenated Garcia climbed the ring ropes immediately after referee Thomas Taylor stopped further carnage, looked into the camera and proudly proclaimed, “I’m back!” because he reentered the running to reclaim his stake atop the supremely stacked 147-pound division.
“It just feels great to make a statement,” Garcia said in the dressing room after the fight. “We’re still here. … I felt really good. I wasn’t at my best the last couple of fights. This is the Danny Garcia that you’re going to see for the rest of my career.”
Garcia (35-2, 21 knockouts) was satisfied with his punishing performance against the game Granados (20-7-2, 14 knockouts), who was finished via knockout for the first time in his career. Garcia’s elite one-punch power — arguably one of the best in the division — was on full display as he blitzed his way back into the picture of a big-time prize fight. With the right dance partner, the former two-division champion could very well be coronated as kingpin, too.
When presented options between Pacquiao, Spence Jr. and avenging losses to Thurman and Porter, Garcia verbally courted the 40-year-old Filipino senator, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, as his prime candidate. Pacquiao said Saturday that if Garcia put on a strong showing, he’d consider him — and Thurman — as the opponent for his July return to the ring.