By: Hans Themistode
Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia has heard it all. The flamboyant 22-year-old has been flattered with comments surrounding his good looks and sublime boxing skills. But he’s also heard the chatter revolving around his subpar opponents and penchant for garnering more attention due to his flashy combinations on the heavy bag as opposed to the talent he has displayed in the ring.
Despite the noise, Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) has thrown his blinders on and focused solely on Luke Campbell, his opponent this coming weekend. While the 22-year-old by and large has worked diligently with trainer Eddy Reynoso, that doesn’t mean he isn’t listening and taking mental notes.
“He hears those whispers,” said promoter of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya to Fight Hub TV. “How he can’t be a world champion and how he can’t beat this guy or that guy but that’s fuel to the flame. This is the perfect fight where he can really shine and become a superstar.”
In terms of his contemporaries such as Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Devin Haney – Garcia, according to most, is viewed as inferior. Yet, when juxtaposed to his opponent this Saturday night in Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), Garcia finds himself as a heavy favorite, something De La Hoya struggles to wrap his mind around.
“A lot of people are saying that but its mind-boggling to me how spread out the favoritism is but it’s a dangerous fight. This is a very dangerous fight for Ryan Garcia. It won’t be a walk in the park but I still feel that Ryan Garcia is going to make a statement in this fight.”
Since teaming up with his newfound trainer in Eddy Reynoso roughly a year and a half ago, the pair have outdone their previous performances. In his last two showdowns, Garcia has barely broken a sweat, needing less than two minutes, to care of business.
Regardless of Campbell winning Olympic gold in 2012 and despite going the distance with some of the best fighters in the lightweight division such as Jorge Linares and the aforementioned Vasiliy Lomachenko, Garcia doesn’t expect a long night at the office.
For De La Hoya however, beating Campbell is something he’s confident that Garcia will do. Stopping him on the other hand, will take something special.
“I can see Ryan getting frustrated a bit because he doesn’t knock him out in the first few rounds but that’s where you have to expose your greatness. If you’re destined to be great then that’s when you have to show it. You have to adjust. You have to make those little adjustments to figure out your opponent. Can Ryan Garcia knockout Luke Campbell? Absolutely, if he has greatness in him so we’ll see January 2nd.”