Convinced that he no longer possesses the same power at 140 pounds, junior welterweight champion Danny "Swift" Garcia is ready to step up in weight.
Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs), whose last two fights were at catchweights, returns on Aug. 1 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, to face former two-division titlist Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions series card on ESPN.
No longer forced to cut down to 140 pounds, Garcia, 27, said he's excited to showcase the power that was on display before his controversial split-decision win over Mauricio Herrera in 2014. In April, Garcia scored another majority decision, this time over Lamont Peterson at the Barclays Center.
"Aug. 1 will be another great night for me," said Garcia, who is trained by his father, Angel Garcia. "It'll be my fifth fight at the Barclays Center and will also be my first fight at 147 pounds.
"That day I'll be ready to seek recognition in a different division. I didn't feel as powerful as I used to at 140 pounds, but now I feel like I'm back."
Malignaggi, a Brooklyn native who won world titles at 140 and 147 pounds, is past his prime as a boxer and hasn't fought since being stopped by Shawn Porter in April 2014. At 34, Malignaggi possesses few of the tricks that led him to him being known as the Magic Man.
"I didn't choose to fight Paulie," said Garcia. "It was my manager, Al Haymon, who set up the fight and asked if I would face him. It was Al who chose him. All I know right now is that I have a tough test ahead of me and I have to prepare myself and do my job so I can see who comes next.
"My job is to train and fight. I feel stronger at 147 pounds, with more speed in my legs and hands. I'll prove that I can be a champion in the welterweight division too."
Malignaggi, meanwhile, believes he can still box with the best of them, even though his last performance proved otherwise.
"I've been inactive for just over a year, but I've kept working in the gym," said Maliggnagi. "I think Danny is a tremendous boxer who I've followed since he was a prospect. He's a good kid, he's tough and I've got a lot of respect for him. But moving up from 140 to 147 isn't easy. He made his decision and even though I don't believe there's a marked physical difference, my experience is my only advantage."
Malignaggi added that Garcia's last fight against Peterson will help dictate his plan for Aug. 1. But he didn't disclose any details.
"I think he had issues with Lamont in the early rounds," Malignaggi said. "Although I don't think Danny will make the same mistakes this time, we've watched that last fight carefully. We're working on the plan. I'm 34 years old and I'm at a point where I've got no time to lose."