Danny Garcia fights off suggestion Paulie Malignaggi isn't a challenge

Danny Garcia fights off suggestion Paulie Malignaggi isn't a challenge
Danny Garcia weighs in before a fight against Amir Khan in July 2012. (David Becker / Getty Images)

Danny Garcia has beaten Amir Khan and hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse, but that doesn't appease the vocal crowd that has been disappointed with the quality of his recent opponents and performances.

Saturday on ESPN (6 p.m. PDT), Philadelphia's Garcia (30-0, 17 knockouts) meets another questionable choice in veteran welterweight Paulie Malignaggi, 34, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

An occasional television fight analyst, Brooklyn's Malignaggi (33-6, seven KOs) has lost two of his last three bouts.

Before escaping with a majority decision in April over former junior-welterweight world champion Lamont Peterson, Garcia, 27, was assigned a one-sided match against Rod Salka. That ended in a second-round knockout.


And before that, Garcia claimed another majority decision over Riverside's Mauricio Herrera.

Garcia said he remains unbothered by claims that he's been too protected by his manager, Al Haymon, creator of Premier Boxing Champions.

"There's always going to be critics, but I pay attention to the positive things -- going to the gym everyday, working hard, giving the fans a great fight," Garcia said. "I'm not focused on the negativity at all.

"I've never questioned myself. I know what shape I'm in, and the guys I'm fighting are great fighters. The people who criticize me are the people who want me to lose."

Garcia said he's comfortable despite Malignaggi's hometown advantage, noting this will be his fifth fight at Barclays Center since October 2012.

Garcia, who was stripped of his 140-pound belt by the World Boxing Council earlier this summer, was noncommittal about which welterweights he'd like to fight in the future, with PBC options including Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, perhaps even another Haymon client, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"I can never overlook my opponent," he said.

The match against Malignaggi will test the sophistication of Garcia's boxing skill given his power-punching-challenged opponent's likely plan to engage in the finer points of the sweet science.

"Whatever Paulie brings to the table, I'm prepared for it," Garcia said. "No one can knock me out. I'm prepared to show my footwork, jab, head movement. We're going to be smart and make this a clean, effective victory."

The card also includes World Boxing Assn. middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (29-1, 26 KOs) versus Southland product Sergio Mora (28-3-2, nine KOs).

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire