Ryan Garcia may not be fighting Manny Pacquiao next, but it looks like it’ll still be an ultra-athletic southpaw. While Devin Haney deals with Jorge Linares, the WBC has ordered “Kingry” to defend his interim lightweight title against longtime mandatory challenger Javier Fortuna, giving the pair until April 16th to hammer things out before a purse bid gets called.
As a reminder, the WBC orders a lot of things, so there’s no guarantee this actually happens.
“El Abejon” (36-2-1, 25 KO), a former featherweight and super featherweight champion, has technically had dibs on a title shot since a November 2019 knockout of Jesus Cuellar. Then the whole Devin Haney debacle happened and planned clashes with Luke Campbell and the aforementioned Linares fell through, leaving him to demolish Antonio Lozada after 12 months on the sideline.
Garcia (21-0, 18 KO) started 2021 strong with a comeback knockout of Campbell in January, only to spend the next couple months fruitlessly chasing the aforementioned Pacquiao fight. The 22-year-old will have notable height and reach advantages in this potential matchup.
Fortuna is painfully inconsistent and has lost to worse fighters than Garcia, most notably Jason Sosa, but he’s got the speed and power to be a problem if he comes out sharp and “Kingry” doesn’t. Even if he does wind up outgunned as expected, this fight’s got the potential to be plenty fun while it lasts.
For those keeping track, the other “Four Kings’” schedules are as follows:
- Teofimo Lopez will take on mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. on a Triller PPV, presumably in summer.
- Haney will face Linares in May.
- Gervonta Davis will presumably fight Mario Barrios and/or the American legal system.