On Saturday, fight fans saw 22-year-old Ryan Garcia overcome the first real obstacle of his young career when he stopped the UK’s Luke Campbell in the seventh round, getting off the canvas after a second-round knockdown to do so. Even with this big win, Ryan Garcia’s future is still shady due to several implications.
Coming into that contest at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, it was widely acknowledged that the former Olympic gold medalist and previously unstopped southpaw, Campbell, would be the stiffest challenge of Garcia’s pro run. The assessment would prove to be right. But, really, beyond the legit knockdown, the superstar-in-the-making had relatively little trouble with “Cool Hand” Luke. More than anything, the Canelo Alvarez protégé simply proved that he was tough enough to overcome his first taste of adversity and ready enough to take on top challengers.
Ryan Garcia’s Future: Now What?
The lightweight division is currently top-heavy with young, hungry talent. Along with Garcia, there’s the 23-year-old WBA/IBF/WBO champ Teofimo Lopez, who scored the Upset of the Year and earned some Fighter of the Year honors with October’s unanimous decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko. Then there’s the 26-year-old Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who could be the all-around most explosive fighter in the sport and has garnered comparisons to fighters such as Mike Tyson.
The 22-year-old Devin Haney is the WBC titlist, as well as a uniquely skilled boxer and one of the top young fighters in the world. Then, of course, there’s still Vasiliy Lomachenko, who, before the Lopez loss, was regarded by many as THE pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and will be coming back to the ring in 2021 with a repaired shoulder.
In an ideal boxing world, this depth of high-end talent would make for some great fights and interesting times for the next few years. However, as we all know, this currently ISN’T an ideal boxing world.
Ryan Garcia’s Future: Hurdles for Next Fight
The Golden Boy-promoted, DAZN-tied Garcia will have significant hurdles to leap in trying to get a major, legacy-defining fight. Lopez and Lomachenko are promoted by Top Rank and tied to an exclusive broadcast deal with ESPN. Davis works with Premier Boxing Champions, which is tied to output deals with Fox and Showtime. None of these networks or promoters/boxing companies are all that willing to make fence-crossing deals unless there is absolutely monstrous money involved. With this, Ryan Garcia’s future fight has several hurdles to leap to have another major bout.
The reality of conflicting business deals and the nature of the present tense boxing world will make putting together all of these possible fan-friendly bouts an uphill battle. Even a matchup with Haney, who is also a contracted fighter for streaming service DAZN, will face a tough road as the management of both teams seeks to build up their star power before taking on riskier opposition.
It’s much more likely that the next year or two will be filled with fierce hyperbole and targeted promises of what may come, but marginal challenges across the board for the young lightweight class.
Ryan Garcia’s Future: Game Plan for the Young Fighter
For Garcia, specifically, this could very well be the game plan. Big talk, marginal challenges, and brand-building/star-building for a good long while. What’s likely in store for “KingRy” next is measuring stick challenges against fighters already faced by the other established top lightweights.
Can Garcia blow Richard Commey out faster than Teofimo Lopez did? Can he beat Yuriorkis Gamboa easier than Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney Did? Can he beat Jorge Linares more decisively than Vasiliy Lomachenko did?
These will probably be the questions answered while the actual BIG fights are dangled in front of fans.
Ryan Garcia’s future is bright and he is a great young prospect. Boxing, however, is not in a good place. Those two realities will clash and, most likely, the latter will win.
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