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Shawn Porter vs. Danny Garcia: A Family Affair

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  • Shawn Porter vs. Danny Garcia: A Family Affair

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    By The Sweet Science

    BY LUIS CORTES III -- Boxing history is littered with mixed results when one examines the relationship between fathers and sons. Recently father-son (trainer-fighter) relationships have become more prevalent in the sport. In the past, during the period known as the "Golden Age" of boxing, a father tended to surrender his sons upbringing as a fighter to a trainer that had an undeniable reputation for his knowledge of the craft, a trainer that was more of a community fixture. It allowed the father to remain out of the business and remain just that, the father.

    On Saturday night Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will battle for the vacant WBC welterweight championship. They will provide the latest chapter of the father-son, trainer-fighter dynamic that has become commonplace. What hasn't become commonplace is for this deeply personal relationship to be a successful one at the elite level, thus making this fight on the biggest of stages with what could be a career defining victory for the winner a special one.

    In New York at the kickoff press conference for the fight, Angel Garcia (father-trainer of Danny Garcia) and Kenny Porter (father-trainer of Shawn Porter) sat down and addressed their special bond with their fighters and sons. It was an interesting look at just how these two men have groomed their sons for the position that they are currently in. It also showed that although their methods and relationships may be different with their son, they are actually similar.

    One of the striking things that were discussed during the interview was their son's future and just how their careers would come to an end. Kenny Porter stated the following: "I've been working on Shawn's exit strategy since he was two years into being a pro. I have talked to him about the different levels in his career. The first stage and the second stage, so he's about five minutes from being done right now. This could be his last fight. That's when I become a father again because outside of the ring it's my job to make sure he's protected. I'm the one in control of the situation cause I'm his manager. I'm under contract as his trainer and he re-signed with me. So I'll hold him out as long as I gotta, I'll leave him on the shelf if that's what's best for his life and health."

    These comments started somewhat of a stir during the build-up of the fight. Many people offered their opinion that Kenny Porter sounded like many of the domineering father-trainers from the past, their overbearing attitude becoming the catalyst for the relationship to sour and eventually be damaged beyond repair.

    This past generation of fighters at the elite level provided two prime examples of the overbearing father figure almost stunting the growth of a future Hall-of-Fame fighter. Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. both had issues early on in their careers dealing with their fathers as trainers that were unable to separate the business from the personal emotions that one has when dealing with one’s child; that age- old feeling that father knows best. Meanwhile, duo's like Jack and Shane Mosley along with Felix Trinidad Sr. and Jr. both were able to maintain a solid relationship. At least in the public's eyes, they could keep business and family apart as they strived forward accomplishing greatness.

    In contrast to Kenny's statements, when asked the same question Angel Garcia said, "Danny's the boss, I'm just vice-president. I give him advice and he takes my advice. Danny is a smart businessman." With that, instant contrasts were made, that the relationship between the Garcia's was more akin to that of the Mosley's and the Trinidad's, while the Porter's seemed to have an impending feeling of unrest.

    One can see how these comparisons can be made from this one interview alone. However a deeper dive into their relationships allows for us to see that there are always two sides to a relationship, with the third side being the truth. Shawn Porter offered a peek into his feelings about the statements his father made.

    "Like he said in the interview, it was my decision to start boxing. Our relationship has always been the same since we started. It's always operated the same way. I'm my own man, but as life progresses things will change a little. I have a seven month old baby and I'm getting married soon, so I have my own family now. I've always allowed God to lead me in my relationship with my father. That's why deep down in my heart it's always been the feeling that I wouldn't fight without him. From a business standpoint though, hey, those might be tough conversations to have in the future. We will do what we always do, talk about it at length and make a decision."

    At the recent Danny Garcia media workout in Philadelphia, Angel continued to address his relationship with his son. "The day I was diagnosed with cancer I told Danny that if anything happened to me and I died for him to keep going with his career. He told me 'no dad', I'll retire. We have a bond. I'm in the ring with Danny spiritually. I'm his extra pair of eyes. We're not perfect, we have our issues, but we know how to talk about it and solve the issue."

    For his part, Danny Garcia views his relationship with his father in a similar fashion. "Every day is not a good day, every day isn't a bad day when it comes to father and son, but I feel like me and my dad have more of a friendship. It's always been that way with us even from the beginning. We laugh together and we cry together. It's not perfect, but like I said before, when it's time to lock in, we lock in. Like after the fight; if I eat a piece of cake he'll say, 'hey, you’re a fighter, you can't eat that.' We laugh about it and then he'll say 'enjoy it.' At the end of the day, I'm a grown man and he knows that and he believes in me."

    Whatever your opinion may be regarding the style or type of relationship the Garcia's and the Porter's share as a father-son, fighter-trainer, one thing is indeed undeniable: They are both successful. You get the sense that both fathers as the head trainers well understand at its core the ways needed to push their son's. It's a type of external motivation that another trainer wouldn't be able to inspire.

    Both Kenny and Angel made it clear during the taped interview that as fathers they are able to separate being a father from a trainer when it's time to get to work preparing for a fight, that their sense of competition kicks in when round one begins and it helps them deal with the fact that their son is getting hit by another trained athlete.

    So although the tones of the two fathers are different when they talk about working with their son, their approach to achieving success through hard work, dedication, and preparation towards the craft of boxing makes them more similar than different. After all, it’s those basic similarities that will have fight fans watching this Saturday night to see who will regain a world championship…or which style of father-son relationship will take one step closer to a unification showdown in 2019.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Given how Garcia’s career and/or opponent selection has, according to some, been controversial over the last few years; including both highly rated and perhaps questionable adversaries.

    His fight with Porter (and the predictions that go along with it) will be interesting.

    After Garcia (and Porter) closely losing to Thurman but also Danny often performing better than expected in other fights . . .

    Porter is the perfect opponent for Garcia.

    Porter would be the perfect opponent for Garcia at this stage of his career even if Shawn had not also lost to Keith.

    Porter’s highly intense physical style presents issues for most fighters to remain composed under.

    And, if Garcia can’t remain collected he will lose.

    However, that in itself is also the key to victory for Danny.

    So the question is . . .

    Can Garcia remain poised?

    And, if he can; can he maintain the composure levels required to ensure he doesn’t fall behind on points whilst Porter runs in, head butts, and throws punches?

    All the best,


    This is a tune I used to listen to when I was last in Costa Rica and Mexico . . . .



    • #3
      Good analysis, SC. As for the keys to handicapping the fight, Frank Lotierzo would agree. His article, which I've been holding since Tuesday night, will go up in a few hours (from now, which is 8:40 am Thursday my time Pacific).

      All the best. Thanks for chiming in.