- Popular Philly prizefighter Danny Garcia returns to the ring July 30 against Jose Benavidez Jr.
- The 34-year-old throws one of the best left hooks in boxing.
- He gave Insider a brief master class in landing the left hook ahead of his PBC on Showtime bout.
Famed Philly boxer Danny Garcia returns to the ring Saturday for his debut junior middleweight fight against Jose Benavidez Jr. at the Barclays Center in New York City.
Garcia is one of boxing‘s best-known fighters, a former two-weight world champion, and a popular East Coast prizefighter that has beaten big-name opponents like Amir Khan, Erik Morales, and Zab Judah.
The 34-year-old told Insider recently that he’s “excited” to be back in combat sports, and will relish the atmosphere when he makes the walk to the Brooklyn ring ahead of his 40th pro bout.
“I want to go in there, look good, and dominate,” he said.
One of the ways Garcia looks good is when he throws, and lands, his proven finisher — the left hook.
He gave Insider a brief master class on one of boxing’s most iconic punches.
Garcia perfected the left hook through years of practice
“I’ve just been working on the left hook every day,” he told us. “I used to love Felix Trinidad as a kid, and he had a great left hook, so every day since then I’ve just been working on it,” trying to emulate the Puerto Rican icon, he said.
Garcia drilled a variety of left hooks from his formative years as a fighter with his father, Angel Garcia.
They worked on traps, how to identify what the opponent is doing, and then responding accordingly so that they could try to work toward that equalizer.
“We always work on sitting on our punches, sitting on the right hand, sitting on the left hook,” he said about his partnership with his trainer-father Angel. “As you grow in boxing and learn more, you are able to create more openings, and that’s what we do.”
It’s all about timing
The essential ingredient for a strong left hook, according to Garcia, is timing.
“It’s all about being in position and setting the punch up where you throw a jab to the body, feint to the body, and then throw a left hook upstairs,” he told us.
“Or, you can slip inside the jab and throw the left hook, like when I caught Morales.”
Watch Garcia catch Morales in a 2012 fight right here:
“There’s lots of different ways to land the left hook,” according to Garcia. “You can always double the left hook up, too,” he said.
“So we work on all these different ways to throw the left hook, and then just perfect them.”
Is the type of left hook shot determined by what the opponent is doing? “That’s exactly it,” Garcia said.
“Some fighters are different. Some fighters might lunge in after throwing a right hand after they throw the jab, so you can slip inside right then. It depends on the fighter in front of you, and how you open them up.”
Garcia listed five left hooks he admires most in boxing’s history
Here’s who Garcia singled out:
- Floyd Mayweather
- Roy Jones Jr.
- Felix Trinidad
- Oscar de la Hoya
- Joe Frazier
“Floyd and Roy Jones had a kind of left hook where they jump in with it,” said Garcia. “They leap in with it, and catch you with the left hook.
“Mine is a little different,” he said. “Mine is more like Trinidad’s, where I sit on it. He had a great left hook, and also Oscar de la Hoya had a great left hook. Those are the guys I compare my left hook to.
“Joe Frazier was more like … He’ll stalk you down and then throw that left hook. His style was so different and you really can’t train for a fighter like him.”
See Frazier’s famous left hook knockout of Muhammad Ali right here:
Garcia wants to ‘stay busy’ at junior middleweight
Garcia previously won world championships in boxing’s super lightweight and welterweight divisions.
He competes for the first time at 154 pounds this weekend, at a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Showtime Championship Boxing event.
Garcia is determined to not only win, but look good doing so. Like many fighters, he’s loathed to talk too much about the future when he has a fight scheduled in his immediate future.
“You gotta just take one fight at a time,” he said.
However, seeing as he’s in the same PBC roster of fighters as many of the elite junior middleweights on the planet, he will likely become a significant addition to what is already a hulking and competitive division.
The top guys at 154, according to Garcia, are the undisputed champion Jermell Charlo, fast-rising monster Sebastian Fundora, and gifted boxer Tony Harrison. “I would say those are the top guys,” he said.
“Obviously, Castano is still up there for sure. He just lost to Charlo, who had the better style that night and the man with the better punches.”
But first thing’s first, Garcia wants to dominate Benavidez.
“It feels like a while since I fought so I’m excited to put up a good fight,” he said.