By: Sean Crose
Ryan Garcia’s return to the ring Saturday night in Houston was not going as planned.
Indeed, the fans were booing. For in the second half of the fight, Garcia looked as if he might be on the road to victory merely by avoiding his opponent, Oscar Duarte, and firing the occasional shot. The 25 year old Garcia, however, turned the boos to cheers with a single left to Duarte’s head in the eighth round of their scheduled 12 round junior welterweight battle. Wobbled, Duarte tried to keep to his feet, but a Garcia combo sent the gutsy Mexican to the mat. He was subsequently counted out. Granted, Duarte may have gotten to his feet before the referee reached the count of ten, but it was hard to blame the ref for making what he felt was – and what probably was indeed – the right call.
A problem Duarte had throughout the bout was that he refused to lead with his jab while Garcia was allowed to pick his man apart coming in. Garcia rocked Duarte in 6th, but strangely enough almost turned his back numerous times throughout the fight in order to defend himself. When Duarte was able to land, he frequently attacked Garcia’s midsection, which may have led Garcia to get on his bicycle throughout the seventh and part of the eighth. This strategy led to the crowd booing, but it was clear Garcia knew what he was doing.
After the fight, Garcia gave thanks to God and expressed his desire for people to turn to Jesus. He also stated that he wanted Rolly Romero as an opponent, as well as other big names in his weight class. Interestingly enough, Garcia did not use the post fight interview to speak ill of Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, the Golden Boy Boxing honchos the popular American fighter has been feuding with quite publicly. Since being stopped by Gervonta Davis in an April superfight, there have been questions regarding how well Garcia would look upon his return to the ring. Although it wasn’t a stellar performance from Garcia Saturday night in Houston, it was most certainly an effective one.
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