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Ryan Garcia: Golden Boy just didn’t want me to be great

Garcia holds a media conference call to clarify his dispute with his promoter and why he didn’t fight Romero Duno.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Amidst all the turmoil surrounding Golden Boy prospect Ryan Garcia, and him electing not to fight over the weekend against late-replacement Romero Duno, Garcia and his team hold a conference call to make sure their side of the story is heard.

One of Garcia’s advisors, Guadalupe Valencia, started off the call with this account of how things unfolded during fight week...

“Ryan was training for this fight for eight weeks. He was supposed to fight Avery Sparrow which was a tough fight. And approximately on Tuesday [of last week] I was notified, a good source of mine told me that Avery Sparrow had an arrest warrant. And, you know, whenever I hear things like that you try to do more investigation...

“I reached out to the attorney who represents Golden Boy and had asked them if they had heard anything about this, if this was true or not. And he contacted me, he said ‘Yes, this is true, we’re working on it, we’re gonna hire a lawyer, the warrant is out of Philadelphia, we’re gonna try to clear everything up.’

“I said ‘Okay, I need to know as things are moving along because I need to make a decision if and when I tell Ryan if this doesn’t get resolved. Okay? So that’s on Tuesday. On Wednesday I again contact them and say ‘please give me a status about what’s going on with Avery,’ and he sends me a text message and says ‘!e got a lawyer in Philadelphia and it’s been resolved. The fight is gonna go forward, everything is fine.’ And I said ‘Perfect. Thank you.’

“So as of Wednesday, Golden Boy’s lawyer informed me there’s no problem, the warrant has been taken care of. So at this point there’s no reason to bother anybody in our camp about this...Friday morning comes and they inform me about 11 o’clock that Avery had been arrested...At this point I have to talk to Ryan about it...

“By this time it’s 12:30, 12:45 and Ryan’s at the weigh-in and Ryan weighed-in at 135 as he was supposed to. And when I got back to the hotel I had to inform Ryan what had happened. So when Ryan says he didn’t know anything about this he was 100% right and Golden Boy’s attorney made these representations to us and we had to reply on these representations, and this is what happened.

“During these discussions we also had a very small discussion about a replacement if this didn’t get resolved, and they asked if we’d fight [Romero] Duno. And I said yes, but for more money. We weren’t gonna fight Duno for the same amount of money. Okay, that was the only discussion before Friday about Duno.

“So Friday, now we have to find a replacement fighter and all the sudden Ryan gets online and he learns that Eric Gomez [Golden Boy president] had posted something indicating that Ryan believed that Duno was too tough and therefore we didn’t wanna fight him, which is a completely false statement...It’s completely false and it upset Ryan as it would upset any fighter. So at that point Ryan was really upset and said ‘I’ll fight Duno.’ Ryan wanted to show that he’ll fight Duno, that he’s not afraid of Duno, and we tried and tried and tried until about midnight to work out a deal. And we were not asking for a lot more, it was just a fraction more than he was making, and they just would not pay...They just refused to pay a little bit more, and he would’ve fought Duno.”

Garcia would then chime-in himself to make it clear that he was willing to fight Duno:

“I didn’t want to fight anyone else. I didn’t wanna fight Petr Petrov, I didn’t want to fight any of the names they were mentioning because I know what I came here for,” Garcia would say. “I came here to get my respect and I knew I was gonna get it if I beat Avery and I’m not gonna get it beating Petr. The only way I was gonna get it after those statements were made online was to fight Duno. But I’m also not gonna let myself be taken advantage [of] and set up into a way where I’m cornered and I have to do whatever they say and I have to fight Duno for that amount that they always wanted me to.

“I said to myself ‘this is my chance to stand my ground and get my respect no matter what.’..I’ve done this countless time before, you know, I ask for what I want and they just say no and the last minute I just say ‘okay, let’s go’ and I just do it. And I fight and I win and it’s spectacular but this time I said to myself ‘Nah, not again. I’m not gonna keep on letting myself be used like that’...It’s their mistake, not mine.

“And I just want to make it clear that it wasn’t even an outstanding [pay increase I was looking for], it wasn’t in the millions, it wasn’t even a million or even really relatively close to a million. It was a little bit extra, like chump change..I was like ‘Alright, if you could just give me a little but more, Lupe, for their mistake, I would be happy and let’s get it on.’..I was like ‘Let’s do it, it’s my chance to be great’ but they just didn’t want me to be great, you know? They just decided to stand around and that just shows that the people who are supposedly on my team, felt like they weren’t really on my team.

“And honestly, to me, Duno is not even a hard fight for me. He’s a power puncher but he gets hit a lot and I know I can land punches and I’m fast and I’m quick so to me it wasn’t gonna be tough at all...But it’s the fact that they’re gonna take my integrity away — it just doesn’t feel good.”

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