Boxing is often guilty of manufacturing rivalries in order to promote a fight, but you don't have to worry about that being the case with Zab Judah and Danny Garcia.
These two guys simply hate each other.
Judah and Garcia were set to face off in February, but Garcia had to bow out because of a rib injury. They didn't like one another then, and they haven't managed to become friends over the last few months. In fact, pushing the date of the fight back to Saturday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Center has only allowed the feud to grow stronger.
Just take what happened at a Modell's Sporting Goods store recently when Garcia was doing some promotional work with the fans (h/t Michael Woods of ESPNNewYork.com):
Judah on Tuesday night crashed the party at Modell's and riled up Angel Garcia, the trainer-father of junior welter titleholder Danny; this was a virtual repeat of their clash during a December presser to hype the fight, which was originally set for Feb. 27 but was postponed after Garcia injured a rib in training. This scrum actually lasted a bit longer, spilling out into the parking lot. Garcia the elder told NYFightblog that Judah spit at the car he and Danny were in, and slammed his fist on the hood after the two teams butted heads inside. "He's lucky I wasn't driving," the dad told me. "I would have run the car in reverse."
In the weeks and months leading up to a fight, you want to see some drama. More importantly, you want that drama to be genuine.
It's easy to see when promoters are trying too hard to get fighters to feud. The fighters lob soft insults. That's followed up by a faux skirmish at a press conference that looks straight out of an elementary school play.
The altercation between Judah and Garcia is the kind of stuff you don't generally see before fights anymore. The promoters were so scared of something happening at the press conference they took the step of just having separate press conferences for each fighter (h/t Tim Smith of the New York Daily News).
Either Judah and Garcia absolutely loathe one another, or they're extremely good actors. Their drama is bound to rub off on their fight.
Judah is 10 years Garcia's elder. On paper, this fight would look to be very one-sided.
Considering Judah is the underdog, getting under Garcia's skin is the best plan of attack going into the bout, which airs at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. He needs to find some sort of X-factor to cover up for what looks to be the gap in quality between him and Garcia.
If Garcia lets his emotions get the better of him, he'll be more prone to make a mistake. Then Judah would be able to pounce. Judah won't want this turning into a brawl, but he'd much rather have Garcia blinded by his desire to pummel Judah.
On the other hand, Garcia could come into the fight very focused. He could break down Judah and land that one punch that ends the fight early.
No matter what the outcome, at the very least, it's easy to become interested in seeing what the outcome will be.