Posted on 07/01/2022
By: Sean Crose
The young man in the video stands in the sunlight signing autographs, a crowd of people clustered before him. He is polite, this young man, polite, good looking and rather gracious, never once losing patience with his fans. Finally, a woman, likely a PR agent, steps forward and firmly puts a halt to the proceedings. The young man allows himself to be led away but gives no sense that he has been rescued from an annoying throng. Indeed, he appears to enjoy the adulation. He is nothing if not gracious. Yet he also has a mouth. Oh, and he’ one of the hardest hitting rising stars in boxing.
The young man is named – if you hadn’t already guessed – Ryan Garcia. Corporate spokesman. Social media celebrity. A fighter with 22 wins against zero losses. An impressive 18 of those wins coming by knockout. At first glance the 23-year-old has it all together. Yet there’s chinks in the reputational armor to be found that have nothing to do with the mental health break Garcia took some time ago. First and foremost, the native Californian doesn’t have a stellar name on his resume. His best win was against the very talented Luke Campbell – a legitimately excellent fighter, true, but not one who resides among the sport’s crème de la crème.
Yet Garcia has no problem voicing his opinion publicly about those fighters who are widely considered to be at or near boxing’s summit. “Congrats to Haney,” he tweeted after Devin Haney’s impressive title victory over George Kambosos in Kambosos’ native Australia, “but it’s was definitely just a bland fight, Anyways, I’ll just say, you know who I want after Fortuna!!! Let them have their rematch lol. Absolutely “nyquil” type of performance.” While Haney’s win over Kambosos wasn’t the most exciting in the world, it was one sided and impressive. It was also for a world title, something Garcia hasn’t fought for yet. Instead, Garcia will next be facing the aforementioned Javier Fortuna on the 16th of this month.
As Garcia indicated in his Haney tweet, however, he’s going to go after the big fish after the Fortuna bout – provided he defeats the 37-3-1 Fortuna; a man no one would confuse with being one of boxing’s biggest names, but a former world titlist nonetheless. Garcia, however, is favored to win and with good reason. Aside from having missile-like power, he’s also growing as a fighter. Will he be able to best the likes of say, Gervonta “Tank” Davis, the stellar multi-division titlist who he clearly wants to face? The answer may be coming. Give Garcia this – his ambition just may be as big as his mouth is…or his friendly smile