Ryan Garcia took his first career loss on Saturday, knocked out in the seventh round by Gervonta Davis, but promoter Oscar De La Hoya had some early words of encouragement about Garcia hitting the inevitable comeback trail.
“Congratulations to Gervonta for the win,” De La Hoya wrote on Instagram. “(Ryan), I couldn’t be more proud of you for going through what you have been through. You will be back stronger and better than ever.”
The knockout shot was a delayed reaction from a Davis left hand to the body, which echoed a famous loss of De La Hoya’s back in 2004, when his now-business partner at Golden Boy Bernard Hopkins drilled him with a shot to the liver that ended things in the ninth round, also in Las Vegas.
In that fight, De La Hoya was 31 and making a bold challenge against the top middleweight in the sport, a long-reigning and dominant champion, with Oscar having won his first world title as a junior lightweight in 1994.
Garcia (23-1, 19 KO) has a much different situation, really. He’s 24, and this was by far his biggest fight. De La Hoya had won belts at 130, 135, 140, 147, 154, and even 160 — albeit very controversially over Felix Sturm — when he fought Hopkins, while Garcia has yet to even fight for a world title.
But it also has to be said that Garcia is a very talented young fighter, took the biggest fight that was out there, and has a lot of talent, a lot to build on. Yes, he still has a bright future, and yes, he should be able to come back from this. If a single loss did anyone in, then De La Hoya would have been done after his controversial loss to Felix “Tito” Trinidad in 1999, and Bernard Hopkins never would have gotten out of the blocks, because he lost his pro debut in 1988.