It’s one of the most traditional matches in boxing.
Mixing a young, still proving blue chip prospect with earning potential and against a respected, smaller veteran makes sense. It contains the physical risks of a contest while giving looks at more evolved competition.
The size difference was palpable on Saturday night but making that matter is the task. Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia accomplished it. Garcia looked more comfortable and quicker at Jr. welterweight on Saturday, dropping Javier Fortuna three times before Fortuna opted not to rise again in the sixth.
Garcia showed some growth in the contest. He still has a bad habit of pulling straight out with his chin up. His guard was there though for the sort of looping over hand shot Luke Campbell dropped Garcia with last year. There was also some head movement when Fortuna tried to land as Garcia went backwards.
Afterwards, Garcia said he’s ready for Gervonta Davis. Should anyone hold their breath that we’ll see that fight in 2022?
Futures: Stranger things have happened, but the hunch here is we aren’t getting Davis-Garcia this year.
Prior to the action this weekend, Davis handler Leonard Ellerbe tweeted about Davis’s position as the big money fight for everyone specifically at 135 lbs. Garcia said after his win over Fortuna he’s likely sticking around at Jr. welterweight. Considering his natural frame, it’s where Garcia belongs and welterweight might arrive sooner than later.
Davis has fought at Jr. welterweight before and could certainly move up again but he doesn’t have to move for anyone around his weight classes and Garcia, several years younger than Davis, hasn’t quite reached the same level of polish. Both could stand to further deepen their level of opposition and each other would answer that in big ways.
It just feels like this one is still a little farther over the horizon.
Garcia will fight again this year, and twice wouldn’t be a bad idea. He’s steadily improved as a pro and will keep getting better. He’s already selling tickets without a major title win to his credit. The kid might be the goods.
He’s making it interesting to find out.
Arnold Barboza is making steady moves at Jr. welterweight and could be ready for the title picture in a fight or two. A showdown with former titlist Jose Ramirez would be good theater…Daniel Mattellon remains a player to watch at Jr. flyweight. He needs an opportunity…Oscar Collazo beating Vic Sauldar in just his fifth fight is impressive stuff. Doing it in a fight where they traded knockdowns was fun too. Strawweight can be hard to care about, even for fans who love the lightest weight classes. Collazo could be the exception.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org