By: Sean Crose
“I know this news may be disappointing to some of my fans,” Ryan Garcia wrote on Instagram Saturday, “but I am announcing today that I am withdrawing from my July 9th fight.” This, of course, comes as something of a shock to fight fans, who have been impressed by the brash 22 year old’s climb from up and comer to rising star. “At this time,” Garcia added, “it is important to manage my health and wellbeing. I have decided to take some time off to focus on becoming a stronger version of myself.”
Needless to say, Garcia didn’t make clear any specifics as to why he’s not going through with his July 9th showdown against Javier Fortuna for the WBC Interim World Lightweight Title. Garcia did indicate, however, that he hopes to return to the ring quickly. “I hope to be back soon,” he said, “and am looking forward to stepping back into the ring when I am my healthiest self. I want to Thank God, my family, my doctors and my supporters.” Boxing is loaded with stories of fighters claiming to leave the business, only to essentially keep to the path they’ve been traveling on. Garcia’s post, however, appears to resonate with seriousness.
With a record of 21-0, there’s little doubt that Garcia has blasted his way into fan consciousness courtesy 18 knockouts, good looks, a wildly popular social media presence, and even a contract with Gatorade. There were even talks several months ago of Garcia facing off against Manny Pacquiao. In his most recent battle, the California native bested the well respected Luke Campbell via stoppage in the seventh round. As part of the currently red hot lightweight division, it’s been assumed it was only a matter of time before Garcia took on other big name lightweights.
Yet if Garcia ends up meaning what he says, things look to be on hold for his career, at least for the time being. With that in mind, there’s no doubt this is a very young man. Taking a break at 22 is not like taking a break at 34. What’s more, Garcia has already left enough of an impact on the sport that a return, should one come about, could be highly anticipated. In a sense, Garcia is currently in a position to take all the time he needs, which no one would argue isn’t for the best.