Ryan Garcia says his focus in life now is on winning his first boxing world title, and no longer things like social media appeal.
Garcia (23-1, 19 KO) will return to the ring on Dec. 2 in Texas, facing Oscar Duarte in a DAZN main event. It will be the 25-year-old star’s first fight since his loss to Gervonta Davis in a huge fight on April 22.
“Tired of the disrespect. I’m fed up and I’ve been at 50 percent for so long, it’s going to be different. I promise that to myself,” Garcia posted on social media.
“I don’t care about anything but becoming a champion. My eyes used to care about social media and what that did for my career, now I don’t care, I’m ready to WIN.”
Garcia will have his first fight with trainer Derrick James, who has replaced Joe Goossen following the loss to Davis.
Garcia has, of course, long been criticized for being a fighter whose career has been built on the fact that he has a large social media following, and did before he’d really done anything of note in the ring, and that really is just the truth of it, he built a big following and it has helped him, because he can sell tickets and draws interest to his fights.
But there is also some truth in the idea that that part of Garcia’s career has gone about as far as it’s going to go. The social media follower count is important in terms of marketing — and it’s immensely helpful to be marketable in a sport that struggles for relevance — but he’s 25 now, he’s had 24 pro fights, he’s had one massive pay-per-view event, and from here, going any further than he’s gone will be about getting it done in the ring at top level.
Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KO) doesn’t really figure to be that sort of opponent; Garcia has already handily beaten guys at this level, and Duarte doesn’t have much “name value,” though he is a good fighter. But it has to start now, Duarte is up next, so the goal should be to win impressively and move forward in 2024, and that seems to be Garcia’s target.