Lightweight prospect and social media expert Ryan Garcia will return to the ring on Feb. 14 in Anaheim. That part was already known, but Mike Coppinger reported on Saturday night that Garcia will be facing former junior lightweight title challenger Francisco Fonseca in the main event that evening. The show will stream live on DAZN.
Garcia (19-0, 16 KO) had an eventful 2019, but the biggest stories didn’t come in the ring. The 21-year-old from Los Angeles scored wins over Jose Lopez in March and Romero Duno in November, neither fight going past the second round, but he made his biggest headlines in an ugly public spat with his promoters at Golden Boy. In the end, cooler heads prevailed and Garcia signed a new deal with the company, who see him as a future major star, and with very good reason.
Fonseca (25-2-2, 19 KO) is a 25-year-old Nicaraguan who has twice fought for the IBF title at 130. He was the man across the ring against Gervonta Davis when Davis failed to make weight in Aug. 2017, losing by eighth round knockout, and he also faced Tevin Farmer in Dec. 2018, losing a wide decision over 12 rounds.
On paper, there’s not a lot that Fonseca brings that should trouble Garcia, if Garcia is who he’s supposed to be, but Fonseca did go on the road to London on Nov. 16 and fight Alex Dilmaghani to a draw. If nothing else, he does have some higher-level experience, even if it comes with an 0-2-1 record in those outings.
The other main bout on the card is slated to feature Jorge Linares, the 34-year-old Venezuelan and former titleholder at 126, 130, and 135. The idea is for Garcia and Linares to meet later in the year if both win. Linares lost his lightweight belt to Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2018, then made an ill-advised move up to 140, where he was shocked in the first round against Pablo Cesar Cano in January of this year. He’s fought once since then, going back to Japan, where he first made his name in the pro game, to defeat club fighter Al Toyogon via wide decision over 10 rounds.
It’s not totally clear how much Linares has left in the tank, but the idea is to feed what’s left of his name value to Garcia if it all works out.