By: Kirk Jackson
Rising star Ryan Garcia (16-0, 13 KO’s) improved his record last weekend earning a very tough ten-round majority decision victory against contender Carlos Morales (17-3-3, 6 KO’s) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The fight headlined Golden Boy Promotions’ latest offering of Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch.
The success of the event regarding viewership exemplifies “King Ry’s” rising stock and popularity as a fighter, while displaying the potential and traits necessary to becoming a transcendent star.
As far as the actual fight, Garcia struggled albeit in a winning effort.
The hand speed was there, showcasing the ability to fight from the outside, while clinching when necessary on the inside and Garcia again showed he can go the long distance of 10 rounds.
When Garcia places his punches together, he looks exceptional and also displayed his ability to counter-punch effectively.
However there are glaring holes defensively and often times Garcia looks stiff; often squaring up with his chin high in air, leaving himself open, often leaving his left hand down and creating greater opportunities for his opponent.
Garcia has not displayed the ability to fight effectively on the inside as evidenced by his excessive holding. As the headliner, he is fortunate to not be penalized for that at this stage of his development.
As he progresses and faces tougher opposition across grander stages, some of these advantages as the headliner may dissipate along with some of the advantages he has against lower level opposition.
Observers may notice the quick, flashy hand speed, be dazzled by his charm and way with words, but hand speed can’t mask every weakness.
Speed can be negated by effective timing and as former young phenom and youngest heavyweight champion of all-time famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
The most important factor to becoming that star is the component of winning. The scorecards read as a majority decision, the overall experience served as a valuable lesson because Garcia added rounds against a tough, experienced opponent, but based on the past few appearances from Garcia, what is his ceiling?
Due to his growing popularity – maximizing the benefits of social media, overall star potential and penchant for headline grabbing quotables, Garcia’s will be psycho-analyzed from here on out.
And with this analysis and at times over-analysis comes additional pressure. Pressure can make or break a person; there’s an old saying mentioned by many an athlete, “Pressure busts pipes. But pressure can also make a diamond.”
Although Garcia wants the bigger names around his weight class – Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia and Devin Haney, Garcia like Haney, is still considered a rising prospect and rightfully so.
Just turning 20-years old last month, under the traditional sense, Garcia has ample time to develop.
But nothing about Garcia appears to follow the traditional trajectory of the development of a fighter. Garcia is still in the learning stage and his opponent selection will exemplify just as such.
The question is will his learning leash be lessened as he continues to build his profile. Detractors may grow in number and will want to see him tested.
As Garcia continues to build his buzz, more fighters will want to test him. All publicity, attention, whether it’s negative or positive is good publicity.
And speaking of drawing attention, two former fighters Garcia speaks highly of, emulates style/persona wise and wants to surpass from an overall career standpoint is that of his promoter Oscar De La Hoya and his promoter former in ring rival –turned promotional rival Floyd Mayweather.
While the aforementioned legends relied on their amateur accomplishments which included (Olympic medals), strong promotional push from Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions, King Ry is more reliant on social media to emphasis his point and add to his profile.
March 22 Espn 10 rounds Main Event at fantasy springs casino Indio ca pic.twitter.com/O6eMcaaj4u
— Ryan Garcia (@Ryankingry) January 23, 2018
Times are different in this era and Garcia has huge footsteps to follow.
At age 21, De La Hoya and Mayweather became world champions. Mentioning Mike Tyson earlier, he was the heavyweight world champion at 20-years old.
By next year it’s possible Garcia can match the same feat of attaining a world title like the fighters he admires. He has the connections to make that dream a reality.
Based on the eye test however, Mayweather, De La Hoya and Tyson obviously look more polished at the respective marks in their careers.
Are the comparisons fair? Perhaps not, but when you talk big you’re going to be compared to the great ghosts of the past.
How does Garcia compare to his contemporaries? As talented as Garcia is, there is a fresh group of extraordinary young talent – some of which may cross paths with the man claiming to be king.
Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson, Teofimo Lopez, Money Powell IV, Joey Spencer, Karlos Balderas, Ruben Villas are all young talented fighters with potential to win world titles.
Regarding Garcia’s ceiling, it’s cliché but the sky is the limit. The talent is there and the technical aspects can be worked on.
The mental aspect is the most important thing and Garcia appears to take ownership for his performances. If he can take the positives from his criticisms and constructively apply adjustments in the gym, he’ll continue to excel.
Question is will the uncrowned king claim his crown?