The insulting onslaught trainer Angel Garcia unleashed at the January 18 press conference announcing the welterweight showdown between his son Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman on March 4 is still echoing.
His outburst has done more than stir up pre fight buzz- it has prompted the New York State Athletic Commission to take a hard look at his actions, and a decision on what punishment Garcia will receive should be known by fight week. Will Garcia be suspended from the fight? Will he receive a stern warning…or be banned from the media? Suspension from the fight carries a threat of Danny refusing to fight without his father, which could jeopardize the entire card, inincluding valuable prime time CBS programming. In any event, Garcia who is never known for his reticence, has really put his foot in his mouth this time, and has everybody talking. Weighing in on Angel’s tirade is boxing historian, trainer, and former title challenger “Iceman” John Scully.
There is no question these histrionics are beyond the normal realm of pre fight trash talk, but in Scully’s opinion, Angel Garcia should not be suspended. “Absolutely not,” he said. “I mean, I certainly understand the reasons for NOT approving of his actions, because they are completely unprofessional, but at the same time, it is a unique situation.” That situation being, Scully explained, Angel is a very integral part of his son’s team. “There are essentially only two members of the team on fight night who matter, that being the boxer and his head trainer. In a high profile fight such as this one you are seriously crippling one of the participants by removing his trainer. It is essentially reducing his preparedness to come into the ring at his best, which is what fans pay to see.”
Regardless of Angel’s importance to Danny’s team, Scully believes, in this instance he has definitely, even for boxing, crossed the bad taste line. “Oh, definitely,” he said. “It has gotten to the point where it is beyond ignorant what he does, and something needs to be done about it.” Scully doesn’t think such a drastic measure as suspending Angel is necessary, but some action should be taken. “I’m definitely not a fan of altering the potential outcome by removing him from the corner so close to fight night, but something needs to happen,” he continued. Even professional athletes should conduct themselves in a professional manner Scully insisted. “There is an at least perceived code of conduct in professional sports and no matter what line we draw, he’s clearly crossed it. It’s not funny or entertaining at all in my opinion,” he stated and summed up Angel’s behavior. “ It’s just sheer ignorance. Now, granted, there is no rule that says you must be in possession of a reasonably acceptable I.Q. to be involved in the game but there should be some sort of retribution in place for people who step over the line like this. If they don’t know where the line is then someone needs to show it to them.”
Keith Thurman showed no signs of being disturbed at Angel’s words during the press conference and they will likely have zero effect on him fight night but Danny Garcia could feel the sting of his father’s rant for a long time, Scully said.
“I don’t think Angel’s outbursts effect Keith at all. But Danny? I mean, Danny is a grown man and a professional world champion and a role model to many kids. Sitting there with a sheepish grin on your face isn’t cutting it anymore,” he insisted, and pointed out the difference. “That’s not your father in those instances. That’s your trainer and, in effect, the face of you AND your brand. You can’t just sit there and say “Ahhh, that’s just my dad.” It is most definitely not a positive reflection on your career to have this man linked to you in this way. He is representing you and it doesn’t take a genius to know that it isn’t a good look”. Were he in Danny’s shoes, Scully would definitely bring order to the team. “If I was the kid I would stand up and have a talk with my father because the father is messing with his son’s image and reflection and earning power. I mean, I am pretty sure Madison Avenue will not be calling any time soon after seeing these types of outbursts related to the kid.”
Fight fans are long used to trash talk to create interest in fights, but the kind of insults Angel Garcia was slinging make Mike Tyson sound like he was spitting nursery school rhymes. Scully doubts the newer fans of boxing from the recent prime time exposure those fans will appreciate his hateful rhetoric.
“This has turned into something much worse than simple trash-talk,” he stated. “It’s evolved into sheer ignorance. This guy might think he is selling the fight but in reality I think it has turned a lot of people off to him and by association, his son and the sport of boxing in general. I mean, think of a brand new fan tuning in to this and that is what he sees.” Scully said, and further illustrated his point. “The father’s ignorance is their first introduction to the game. I can’t see how anyone in their right mind would want to be associated with it afterwards. It’s not like he can just turn around after the fight and say “oh, I was just doing it to sell the fight. That’s not really me.” To Scully, a newcomer or casual fan won’t fall for that explanation and won’t appreciate such a display of poor sportsmanship.
Having witnessed Angel’s antics first hand, and now with this latest incident, Scully feels its time Angel Garcia and his behavior is dealt with.
“It isn’t just Angel saying his son is going to win big, or that he is going to smash Keith,” he said. “He’s taken it to a whole different place that is ugly and classless. He’s done it before. I’ve been there in person to see it from him more than once. How can it be the last time if someone with the power to do so doesn’t make it the last time?”
Saturday March 4 Keith “One Time” Thurman and Danny “Swift” Garcia will clash for the WBA welterweight title at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.