LAS VEGAS -- Danny Garcia isn't brash. He isn't loud. But the trainer of Victor Ortiz is supremely confident.
"I won't be surprised if we knock him down in the first round -- or knock him out in the first round," he told reporters at the MGM Grand on Thursday, ahead of his fighter's Saturday clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr. "Victor has power. He can do it any time, any second. But I think that this fight is going to go from 4-5 rounds."
Garcia professes to be unimpressed with Mayweather's assertion that he will stand toe to toe with the younger, bigger, presumably stronger Ortiz.
"I think Floyd's going to run," he said. "He says he isn't going to run. He says he's going to stay in front of Victor. How is he going to stay in front of Victor without getting hurt? He's going to get hit. He's going to get nailed. He's going to feel Victor's punches, he's going to have to run. He did [stand in front of Shane] Mosley, but look at Mosley. He was done, he was tired. He didn't do anything."
It is, of course, a trainer's job to convey confidence in his fighter's abilities and chances, although one Garcia claim -- "[Mayweather is] pretty quick, but so is Victor. Victor's quick. Don't be surprised if Victor's quicker" -- caused at least one journalist's eyebrow to rise involuntarily in incredulity. Less contentious was Garcia's follow-up assertion: "One thing I know for sure, we hit a lot harder than Mayweather." The undefeated Mayweather is, Garcia admits, "hard to hit because he's a smart fighter, a defensive fighter. But when we hit him, he's going to get hurt."
That said, he takes issue with the notion that power is not only the great equalizer but Ortiz's sole weapon in this fight. Ortiz can box perfectly well, Garcia insisted, and can change tactics in the middle of a fight depending on how things are developing.
"I will be there to tell him what to do in each round," Garcia said. "If he does a different thing in each round, it's because I tell him to.
"After the Maidana fight, he fought two fights boxing, moving around. People thought he was moving around because he was scared. He's not scared. He has a bigger heart than most fighters. I told him to do that, to box.
"When he fought Nate Campbell, I told him: 'If you do it like that, we're going to beat him easy.' When he fought Antonio Diaz, right after Maidana, I said, 'Box him a little bit, box him a little bit, you're going to get him.' In the sixth round, I told him, 'He's all done. He's cut, he's done, go for it.' Remember how he came out for the sixth round?" The sixth was the final round of the fight; Diaz was unable to answer the bell for the seventh.
Even so, it seems the strategy for Ortiz is to try to, for want of a better phrase, beat Mayweather up -- to crowd him, muscle him on the inside, rough him up against the ropes. That is clearly the rationale for both accepting Joe Cortez as the referee and then making a lot of noise that Cortez should allow the fighters to work on the inside.
And Garcia admitted that, should Mayweather retreat to the ropes as he is wont to do, "that's what we want. We'll keep him at the ropes. If he goes to the ropes and we keep him right there, we can go anywhere on his body. If he turns his back, we can hit him there, because that's his fault. The ref should know that if he turns his back, the punches are coming."
Even when it is put to Garcia that most observers feel that his fighter's chances are, as Don King would put it, "slim to none, and slim just left town," he is undeterred:
"Well, that's what everybody thinks because Floyd Mayweather has been a good champion, he's been a great fighter, a smart fighter, a fast fighter, a counterpuncher and all that. I really think we're ready for that. We're going to do our best to fight him in a different way. I've seen a lot of his fights, and most of the guys fought him almost the same way -- well, not the same way, but they show him too much respect. And we're not going to respect him. We're going in there to beat his a--."