By Jim Calfa: Ryan Garcia says he’s “resuming” his career on April 2nd against an opponent that is soon to take place in most likely Las Vegas. The unbeaten lightweight contender King Ry Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) has been out of the ring since last January after his win over Luke Campbell.
Ryan says he chose to take a “mental health break” after the Campbell fight, but the injury that he suffered prevented him from returning to the ring in December against Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr.
The fight against Jojo Diaz is rumored to be on tap for April 2nd for the 23-year-old Ryan, but it still must be announced.
Boxing fans were hoping to see Ryan face the popular Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz next, but Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya claims that the “lucrative offer” he gave to the Mexican warrior was turned down. Fans think that Golden Boy was afraid to let Ryan fight Pitbull Cruz.
As a result, Ryan will be fighting someone else on April 2nd, and hopefully, it’s someone popular enough to help him win back the fans that abandoned him after his woes in 2021.
The downside of Ryan fighting Jojo Diaz Jr. is that the 29-year-old former IBF super featherweight champion is coming off a loss to WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney on December 4th.
While Jojo was a good fighter when he campaigned at 126 and 130, at 135, he looks slow, sluggish, and doesn’t throw enough punches.
He looks like he’s not suited for the lightweight division, which is good for Ryan Garcia because he must keep winning. But for Ryan to win back his fans, he needs a higher-level fighter than Joseph Diaz Jr.
You can understand why Golden Boy would be apprehensive about putting Ryan in with a talented lightweight like Pitbull Cruz, though, because the chances of something going wrong for King Ry would be high.
Ryan Garcia fighting on April 2nd
“The pros [of being a hugely successful social media star] is it’s given me freedom so that I don’t have to be desperate for fights, and I don’t have to be desperate for the promoters or anybody really because I make enough money outside of the ring,” said Ryan Garcia to Noah Beck on his popularity with social media AND boxing.
“The thing with 2022, though, is I have to be focused on getting at least three fights done this year,” said Ryan Garcia. “I can’t be worried about if I’m making money on social media and all that stuff because if I’m a great boxer, the money is going to come in. Do you know what I mean?
“I’m willing to die in there, go out on my shield. He will not beat me, or if he does beat me, I gave it every ounce I could have. I got to go in the mode where I’m ready to die. ‘Let’s go.’ I’m not worried about anything else but destroying him. In every aspect in every way, he’s going down.
“If he hits me with a hard shot, I don’t care. So, I need to be right with God; I need to be right with everything. The resumed of my career starts April 2nd,” said Ryan Garcia when his next fight will be.
“It should be in either LA or Las Vegas, most likely Vegas. So, I look forward to the announcement of the fight, of my opponent, and whatnot,” said King Ry.
Ryan doesn’t like the idea of calling his return to the ring a ‘comeback,’ but it seems that way in the eyes of boxing fans due to his problems with mental health last year.
If it were just a 15-month layoff that Ryan was dealing with, people wouldn’t view it as a comeback, but we’re talking mental health here, and that’s a problem that sometimes can destroy careers.
We can only hope that Ryan can come back from his mental problems because if he’s confused and lacks self-confidence inside the ring, he will not enjoy success.
When Golden Boy eventually throws Ryan into the deep end by matching him tough against someone like Isaac Cruz, Gervonta David, Devin Haney, or Vasily Lomachenko, he can’t be wracked by self-doubt.
King Ry wants to prove he’s #1 at lightweight
“Obviously, the cons are people not giving me credit for what I do,” said Ryan Garcia on the downside of being a popular social media celebrity. “But I feel with my amateur background, and now as a professional fighter, myself, I feel like I’ve done enough to prove to myself that I am one of the top fighters in the world and I am going to prove that I am the best fighter in my weight class.
“After my fight in January 2021 [against Luke Campbell], I decided to take a mental health break to recover,” said Ryan Garcia on why he chose to step away from the sport for the last eleven months of last year.
“I was struggling deep within myself. Anyone that knows boxing knows that if you’re not there 100% mentally, you’re not going to be there 100% physically. You could die in the ring, so I took that pretty serious, and I decided obviously to take that break.
“I feel great coming back,” Ryan continued. “Like I said, it wasn’t really a comeback for me.
“I’m resuming where I left off. I feel great. I’m going to come back just as strong, powerful, and when those knockouts come, I guarantee you that everyone is going to shut up, and it’s going to be like nothing happened,” said Garcia.
It’s a big ask for Ryan Garcia to take the #1 spot in the 135-lb division eventually. If his promoters at Golden Boy aren’t willing to put him in with risky fights, he’s going to develop.
When you look at the kind of fights that Vasily Lomachenko had in the early portion of his pro career and compare that to where Ryan is now, it’s doubtful that King Ry will be matched against the right opposition to improve him.
Two of the names mentioned as possible opponents for Ryan Garcia’s April 2nd fight are Mercito Gesta and Saul Rodriguez.
Although Ryan says it’s not true that those two are being considered for his next fight, they likely are. For Golden Boy to be looking at that level of opponents for Ryan, it suggests that there’s worry on their part about him.
Ryan reflects on being DROPPED by Campbell
“21-0 with 18 KOs,” said King Ry when asked about his ring record as a professional. My number one knockout was my last one [against Luke Campbell] I had with the body shot KO after being dropped in the second round.
“I came back and knocked out a gold medalist with a left hook to the body. He’s never been knocked out in his whole career, and I knocked him out. To me, that was the most impressive knockout. Before the fight, I was training my mind for a hard fight.
“I was training my mind for a war because I knew the fight wasn’t going to be easy. There’s no way the fight was going to be easy. This dude’s an Olympic gold medalist, he’s a very experienced pro, and he’s older.
“So, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so when I got dropped, I was more shocked because I’ve never been dropped in my life. So, it’s more like a flash of white.
“I got hit, and then I see a flash of light. I’m already standing up, so I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m already up,” It kind of registered that I got knocked down, so I looked at my coach, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to get him.’
“The first thing I thought to myself was, ‘Go right at him. Don’t make him think he’s got you.’ He even said after the fight, I couldn’t go after him at that moment because he appeared like he was OK.
“He knows my power, so he didn’t want to walk into another one. My equilibrium might have been a little off, but not too bad—kind of cleared up with 30 seconds. And then I came back to my corner and felt great. I looked at my coach and said, ‘He can’t do s*** to me.’
“Those were my exact words, but I knew I was in for a dogfight, but he couldn’t outwork me. I knew for a fact no matter what he did, I’m going to outwork him, hit him harder, and I’m going to catch him,” said Ryan Garcia.
Ryan lucked out against the 34-year-old Luke Campbell when knocked down in the second round.
If Campbell had gone after Ryan the way average fighters would have, he likely would have knocked him out after dropping him in the second.
Ryan was genuinely hurt and ready to be stopped, but Campbell’s indecisiveness resulted in King Ry recovering.