21-year-old lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia made some more noise on Friday night in Anaheim, knocking out Francisco Fonseca in just 80 seconds with what is looking as though it may become the young fighter’s signature punch, the left hook.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KO) came into this fight talking about a bigger fight coming next, and so did Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya. They’ve talked it up to the point that there’s really no going back on it without some significant fan backlash, and considering Garcia’s fast-rising star has been made largely due to his incredible popularity on social media, “fan backlash” is not exactly something you want to give him right now.
That means that recent comments from trainer Eddy Reynoso may have some big consequences. Reynoso remarked that he felt Garcia needs a bit more seasoning before facing someone like Linares (47-5, 29 KO), the 34-year-old former three-division titleholder from Venezuela, who looked sharp and strong on Friday himself, knocking out Carlos Morales in the fourth round.
Reynoso also said, quite strongly, that he won’t let Garcia or Golden Boy pick fights against his wishes.
“I’m the trainer and I’m the one who accepts the fight, and if not I won’t train him,” Reynoso said. “I don’t like taking fights that my fighter picks and I don’t agree with them. So I think right now is not the time to face Jorge Linares. We need one more fight or two more fights and then we’ll see what Ryan’s people say.”
Garcia, however, seems adamant that he’s ready, and De La Hoya has been pushing Linares or another legitimate, serious step up in the build-up to this weekend’s showcase. For what it’s worth, De La Hoya and DAZN both pushed a booked July date at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, which Golden Boy has on hold for an event of this magnitude.
Another name De La Hoya has offered is Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who fights under the Mayweather Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions banners.
Davis (23-0, 22 KO) is a former two-time titleholder at 130 pounds, and moved up to lightweight in December for a 12th round stoppage over faded veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa. It wasn’t Davis’ best showing, but the 25-year-old Baltimore native is a strong, talented fighter who is a young star in the sport in his own right.
There’s also Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KO), the 21-year-old Matchroom fighter, also aligned with DAZN as Garcia is via Golden Boy, and current WBC “champion-in-recess.” Haney and Garcia have some history from the amateurs, both holding wins over the other, and they met up in-ring on Friday.
The in-ring thing saw both men proclaim they’re ready to do the fight, but Haney is recovering from shoulder surgery and is hoping to be back around June. Would he go right in with Garcia? Maybe, maybe not.
Haney has proven a shrewd boxing businessman, building his name through Showtime’s ShoBox series before moving to a deal with Matchroom and DAZN. He’s very good at keeping his name in the mix even when sidelined with injury, which is what we saw through his appearance on Friday night.
It’d be a step up for Haney as much as Garcia, perhaps. Haney hasn’t exactly been facing the cream of the crop, either, and I don’t think anyone would argue too much with the idea that Garcia would have the same record as Haney if he’d fought the same opponents to date. Haney may not have the Instagram follower count that Garcia does, but his push has been through effective marketing of himself, too.
Now a few points:
- Garcia vs Linares is an all-Golden Boy fight, so Golden Boy might well prefer that. They wouldn’t be sharing anything with another promoter for the other side of the matchup.
- Garvia vs Davis is obviously the biggest reach. Davis is with PBC and has shown no great intention of crossing lines. The two sides certainly could do business, but if the fighters aren’t actually particularly interested, that shuts things down much quicker than if promoters/managers/etc. weren’t thrilled about an idea.
- Garvia vs Haney is in theory easy enough, as Golden Boy and Matchroom work together with DAZN, but again, Haney’s coming off an injury, and a summer matchup with Garcia might be too soon.
- Yes, there’s also Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez at 135, but the Top Rank stars are looking set for a pay-per-view clash on May 30. Consider them out of the question here.
So it would appear, rationally, that Linares is the most likely fight here.
But forget that for now. What do you most WANT to see of these three matchups? We talk enough about what is most likely and what makes the most sense for various reasons, but put aside any logic and let’s just talk about what we WANT for once, at least within these three choices.
Who do you WANT to see Ryan Garcia fight next?
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