In an interview with Cynthia Conte for The Ring, Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya got into the Ryan Garcia issue that he and his company are facing right now, and he sure had a lot to say.
If you’ve missed anything recently, Garcia was originally scheduled to headline a July 4 return card for Golden Boy, but wound up balking at the money offered. He and De La Hoya have had a little Twitter spat since then, but it’s been a bit quieter since.
De La Hoya talked about wanting to “create another holiday for boxing” with a July 4 card, and made quick mention that they’re “hopefully close to getting a deal done” for Canelo Alvarez to return in September, which is of note but almost a throwaway comment in the rest of this.
“I wanted to create that holiday where, look, July 4th, everyone’s going to be at home,” De La Hoya said. “Everyone’s going to be cooking their barbecues and spending time with family, and watching a great fight with Ryan Garcia, and it just never happened.
“We couldn’t come to terms. I’m sure his advice was obviously not a good one. It would have been a wonderful event. I was really, really looking forward to it. We’ll see when he fights again. We just don’t know at this point
Asked about the rumor that DAZN have been targeting a September return for the boxing schedule, but that Golden Boy asked for a limited budget to return early, which turned Garcia off, Oscar said that wasn’t the issue, and then praised Vergil Ortiz Jr, who is set to headline a July 24 Golden Boy card, and has seemingly because the new apple of the promoter’s eye.
“We do have July 24th, we’re going with Vergil Ortiz,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to it, he’s the real deal, the top guy, he’s our next world champion. I believe the world believes that, as well. He has superb skills and everyone we talk to, everyone says that this is the guy. So we’re going with Vergil July 24th, live from Fantasy Springs casino, on DAZN, obviously. We still are trying to figure out if we can have people there. It all depends on the commissions. But even if we don’t, we’ll make it work, we’ll make it happen, and we’ll put on some great fights, which we’ll announce shortly, and just make it a great event.”
As for the money, De La Hoya would also say that the offer given to Garcia was “way more” than the reported $200,000 for a July 4 fight, but wouldn’t name a specific number.
De La Hoya then went into how promoter-fighter relationships are “like a family,” saying, “We’re a family, and family always gets into fights. Family have discussions and their differences, but ultimately they’re family.”
He switched gears somewhat and blamed Garcia’s adviser, Lupe Valencia, for giving Garcia bad advice.
“We signed the richest deal for any type of prospect, ever, in boxing. His lawyer, Lupe, made this deal happen, and now Lupe is not satisfied with what they negotiated? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
He continued, adding that he’s heard rumors that business rivals may be trying to get into Garcia’s ear.
“Unfortunately, fighters in this game get a lot of bad advice. That’s the bottom line. Or maybe they just have a different agenda,” De La Hoya said. “Rumors are starting to circulate about certain people trying to take fighters away from us, which is fine, because ultimately we’re protected with contracts, so there’s no issue there. But when you have a top, top prospect like a Ryan Garcia, everyone and their mother’s going to try to take him away, because he does move the meter. But therefore we pay him accordingly.
“Fighters are making a lot of money these days because of the digital platforms. But yes, we are living in different times now. There’s no monies being generated from ticket sales, so fighters have to take that into consideration.”
Conte brought up Garcia, 21, wanting to fight on pay-per-view, and led De La Hoya into digging further into the economic issues facing Americans right now, a fair enough concern when it comes to getting anyone to pay for fights at the moment.
“That’s what fighters have to realize, we’re living in different times. There’s millions and millions of people who have no jobs, and how are they going to pay for that fight?” De La Hoya asked.
“(Garcia’s) response is, ‘I deserve it, I deserve it’ — OK, you deserve it, but we’re living in different times, and that’s the bottom line. And it’s really not Ryan, it’s his lawyer or counsel, whoever he has, just giving him bad advice. That’s the bottom line. I love Ryan dearly because he has the potential to become a great fighter.”
De La Hoya then got into Garcia’s always-noted social media following, which is massive, but says nobody is sure if that really will turn into anything that will drive money in boxing just yet.
“Yes, he does have the social media following, but how does that translate into pay-per-view buys or on DAZN, how does it translate into buys? We just don’t know yet,” he said. “It hasn’t really impacted his star power in boxing. It has in social media, but not in boxing. That’s one of our concerns, that it’s just not there yet. He’s not a world champion yet. He has the potential to become a several weight class champion, but he’s not there yet.”
Later in the interview, De La Hoya would say that Garcia is “so special to us, he’s so special to the boxing world — he means a lot because he moves the needle. There’s nobody else that moves the needle.”
Otherwise, De La Hoya talks about “the science” of promoting fighters and building them, and his worry about Garcia (20-0, 17 KO) potentially facing Jorge Linares — not that he wouldn’t do the fight, which he says he would and intended to before COVID shut the sport down, but that he sees Linares as someone that can take Garcia to the next level or maybe even beat him.
Devin Haney also came up, as did “Hank the Tank,” by which he probably meant Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
“We will absolutely make (a fight with Haney), but look, there’s a science to promoting a fighter, and that’s the reason why we’ve been able to have the biggest stars in our stable, because we know how to promote,” De La Hoya said, taking credit for the builds of Canelo Alvarez, Deontay Wilder, and one Charlo or maybe both.
“We know how to build these fighters, and that’s something we’re very, very proud of, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with Ryan. Ryan, he’s a young kid who is growing, who’s getting stronger. Look at his body now! Have you seen him train right now? He’s only getting faster and stronger,” said Oscar.
“We want to get him to that point where we can throw him in with anybody, because once you go in with a world champion, there’s no turning back. So we don’t wanna throw him in with Hank the Tank, who knows what can happen? Maybe Ryan will surprise the world and shock him and knock him out, who knows?”
As for the immediate future, De La Hoya says they’ll keep sending the offers in.
“We’re gonna continue offering him fights, and if he keeps on turning them down, then there’s nothing we can do.”
The 47-year-old De La Hoya, who hasn’t fought himself since Dec. 2008, has also recently discussed his own potential in-ring return, not going into anything specific about it other than he’d fight at 160 or maybe 154, and that he is seriously considering it.