By: Hans Themistode
It was the worst kept secret in boxing, but undefeated Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia will make a huge step up in class as he takes on former three division champion Jorge Linares. In terms of who broke the news, it was none other than Ryan Garcia himself.
“Jorge Linares is my next fight on July 11 at the Staples Center,” said Ryan Garcia on social media in announcing his next fight. “Share it with your friends. Support me on my journey and quest to shock the world.”
Although Garcia is correct in terms of who his next opponent will be, the actual fight will more than likely fall on another date as the Staples is currently completely booked on July 11th.
As previously mentioned, Linares will represent the best opponent that Garcia has ever stepped inside of the ring with. The now 21 year old Garcia has been progressing through his career at a slow but consistent rate. Facing slightly better opposition each and every time he has stepped foot inside of the ring.
Since joining trainer Eddy Reynoso, who is best known for his work with pound-for-pound star Canelo Alvarez, Garcia has looked like an entirely different fighter. The pair have strung together four straight knockout wins. Including the last two coming in the very first round.
Garcia (21-0, 17 KOs) has been very good throughout his career, but the now 34 year old Jorge Linares has been great.
It wasn’t that long ago that the former three division world champion went undefeated for six straight years. During that run, he defeated a long list of contenders including Kevin Mitchell and Luke Campbell while also defeating former champion Anthony Crolla.
For all the skills that Linares has put on display throughout his career, he has always been viewed as a bit of an underachiever. Yet, his 2018 contest against Vasiliy Lomachenko, the man many believe is the best fighter in the world, put an end to that storyline.
Linares gave Lomachenko what many believe was the toughest fight of his career. He may have come out on the losing end of it, but his stock soared.
After a failed jump up to the Super Lightweight division, Linares has picked up two quality wins and now looks to add Garcia to his potential hall of fame resume.
Many would consider this a difficult fight for both men. And since Linares is 34 and seemingly out of his prime, all signs point to Garcia pulling off the victory. Well, after the statement that Linares made just a few months ago, you might want to rethink that.
“This time how many round you can do?” Said Linares on his social media account a few months ago. “Because I remember that you could only do some round when we sparred. And can you win 3 world belts? You have to stop talking so much and fight.”
It seems as though Garcia has decided to take the advice of Linares to stop talking and simply fight.
By: Hans Themistode
Ryan Garcia has seemingly gone from prospect to contender.
This past weekend, Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) showed the world that he might be ready for another step forward in his career. His contest against Francisco Fonseca was supposed to end in a victory, but not in the way that it actually happened.
Garcia blew his man away with the very first punch that he landed. It was in many ways reminiscent of his performance against Romero Duno.
Garcia seems to be finally living up to the hype that has been surrounding his career since he first stepped on the scene four years ago. Everyone, including his promoter Oscar De La Hoya and good friend and superstar boxer, Canelo Alvarez, believe that Ryan Garcia is ready for the next step.
So let’s take a look at the next best opponents for Garcia to face next.
In the landscape of the Lightweight division, former Featherweight champion Lee Selby seems to be the forgotten man. Since losing his world titles to Josh Warrington back in 2015, he hasn’t been seen much.
You know the saying right? Out of sight, out of mind.
Well, since Selby has been out of sight from the public, he has also been erased from their minds as well.
Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) isn’t exactly the biggest name in the division but he certainly is one of the most skillful.
At this point, Selby must be chomping at the bit for a big fight. Needless to say, so is Ryan Garcia. Selby was last seen in the ring scraping by former champion Ricky Burns. That win did nothing for his profile. It might be unlikely, but if Selby can position himself for a contest against Garcia, the fans could see their favorite young star pushed to the edge.
Many of you were probably expecting to see former WBC Lightweight champion Devin Haney in this spot. The fact of the matter is, it is far too early in both fighters’ careers for it to take place now.
Garcia more than likely isn’t going to be matched up against Haney just yet. But he can still look towards a fight with another former world champion. Richard Commey. The former IBF belt holder needs a win.
Commey’s last ring appearance was one he would soon like to forget. It took just two rounds before he was seen laying flat on the canvas. He is a much better fighter than what he showed against Teofimo Lopez. Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) needs redemption, and Garcia needs a big name win on his resume. So in essence, they both need each other.
The sport of boxing isn’t just about matching up the best against the best. Often times there is a storyline underneath. In the case of former multiple division world champion Jorge Linares and his young counterpart Ryan Garcia, these two are on a collision course.
There’s a reason why both men fought on the same card this past weekend.
The reason? That’s an easy one.
To draw interest for a potential showdown between them.
With each fighter not only winning but doing so in spectacular fashion, it made this contest all but next for both men.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya also seems to have a target date in mind as well.
“I believe that if Linares wins tonight and Garcia wins tonight then it is a clash of titans,” said De La Hoya before Linares and Garcia entered the ring on Friday night. “I have already reserved the Staples Center for July so let’s see what happens.”
Well, with Linares and Garcia doing exactly what De La Hoya was hoping for, it seems like this one could and should be next.
By: Sean Crose
The DAZN streaming service presented a live night of Golden Boy Boxing from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California Friday featuring rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia.
A power punching 19-0 fighter with a reported five million person Instagram following, Garcia was the man to watch walking in. Meanwhile the 25-2-2 Francisco Fonseca stood in the 21 year old Garcia’s way on the path to big time success. In fact, it was worth noting that Foncesca’s only losses came to top names Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer. It was not as if the up and coming Garcia was being handed a soft touch.
First, however, there were three fights for viewers to watch leading into the main event. The 13-0 showman Blair “The Flair” Cobbs started things off in a scheduled ten rounder against the 23-2 Samuel Kotey. Cobbs, sharp and fluid, dominated the first three rounds. The crowd may have gotten a bit restless due to Cobb’s ability to maintain distance, but the young fighter was putting on a sharp performance. Although Kotey tried to catch his man, Cobbs was able to keep his veteran foe at bay throughout the next five rounds. Cobbs lost a point for a low blow in the ninth, but performed well enough in the tenth and final chapter. Cobbs walked away with a SD win.
The next fight was a scheduled 10 round welterweight affair. Veteran Brad Solomon, 28-2, faced the 15-0 up and comer Alex Rocha. Although Rocha was viewed as the rising star, the beginning of the fight was surprisingly close. By the third it was clear Rocha was having a hard time getting to his man with any consistency. Things remained close through the halfway part of the bout. By the final rounds it looked as if it could be anyone’s fight. It was a story of punches and counter punches. Then, in the tenth round, Rocha sent his man to the canvas. Solomon got up and survived, but it seemed that Rocha had ultimately done enough to seal the deal. Rocha got quite a surprisingly wide UD win.
Former world lightweight titlist Jorge Linares was up next. At 34 years of age, the 46-5 fighter stepped into the ring to face the 19-4-4 Carlos Morales in a scheduled twelve round bout. Morales seemed to have edged the first, a round where Linares received an accidental cut. Things remained relatively close in the second. Then, in the third, Linares sent his man down to the mat. Morales got up and was able to survive the round. No matter. A thunderous shot put Morales down – and out – in the fourth. It was time for the main event.
The feature fight of the evening was a frightening affair. For, in the very first round, Garcia dropped his man. Then, after Fonseco got up, Garcia dropped him again in explosive fashion. The camera held on Fonseca, who lie there unconscious with his eyes open, as the referee stopped the match.
“There will be blood,” the LA Times quotes 19-0 Ryan Garcia as saying in the leadup to Friday’s fight against the 25-2-2 Francisco Fonseca. Garcia is clearly a fighter on the rise, one Golden Boy Promotions hopes to showcase for maximum benefit. Just 21 years old, the youthful looking Garcia takes extremely well to media attention and is gunning to be one of the next big names in boxing. His match against Fonseca will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service and will go down at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. A huge Instagram star with 5 million followers, Garcia is a fighter who can potentially bring a lot of eyeballs to the sport.
Before being coronated as the next big thing, however, the Los Angeles native will have to get past the 25 year old Fonseca, of Managua, Nicaragua. Although he doesn’t have Garcia’s high knockout ratio, Fonseca has only lost to two of the more notable names in the business – Gervonta Davis, and Tevin Farmer, respectively. Stopping Garcia dead in his tracks on the road to stardom would definitely do wonders for Fonseca’s own career, something the close to thirty fight veteran is clearly aware of.
The Garcia-Fonseca match will be for Garcia’s WBC silver world lightweight title.
Former world lightweight titlist Jorge Linares will also be featured on the card. The 46-5 Venezuelan will be facing the 19-4-4 Carlos Morales. At 34 years of age, Linares – who once dropped Vasyl Lomachneko in a match Lomachenko eventually won – clearly wants to show that he’s still a top player in the game. Should he win, a fight with Garcia might be in Linares’ future. Morales, on the other hand, is looking at the chance of a lifetime. Should he beat the well regarded Linares, the 30 year old known as “The Solution” might find himself on a career upswing after fighting Mercito Gesta to a draw last November.
Rising welterweight Alexis Rocha will appear on Friday’s card, as well. The 15-0 Irvine, California native will be facing 28-2 veteran Brad Solomon. At 36 years of age, Solomon has a chance to turn some heads if he beats the 22 year old climber Rocha. The fact that Solomon’s last fight saw him losing to Vergil Ortiz by knockout would make an upset win on Friday even more impressive. With that in mind, it’s Rocha who is currently being guided through the ranks in the hopes of the southpaw eventually reaching the pinnacle of the game.
Rocha-Solomon is scheduled for 10 rounds. Garcia-Fonseca, and Linares-Morales are scheduled for 12.
By: Hans Themistode
It feels as though Ryan Garcia has been on the boxing scene for quite some time now. The sort of buzz that he has generated in his short four year career would lead you to believe that he is a veteran in the sport, when in actuality he is only 21 years of age.
Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs) is known for several reasons. His speed, power and of course, his good looks. Ever since he turned pro in June of 2016, the women have gravitated towards him. His popularity amongst women could be one of the reasons why he is headlining the first card of his career on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.
The attention he has gained from the women who seemingly throw themselves at his feet is appreciated, but it isn’t exactly what he wants to be known for. No, Garcia is past the stage where he is just a good looking face. Instead, he wants to be known more for the skills he displays in the ring.
“It’s just an image,” said Garcia when discussing the attention he gets from women for his good looks as opposed to his fighting skills. “I’m really ready to prove it in the ring. I’ve heard it too many times about how good looking I am. I’m good looking in the ring because I punch people in the face. I’m a great fighter and I’m ready to prove that in 2020.”
Garcia’s opponent on the night, Francisco Fonseca (25-2-2, 19 KOs), is a rough and rugged boxer. It isn’t just that Garcia needs to pick up a win in order to prove his worth in the ring. It’s more so about how he goes about getting the job done. Fonseca’s only two blemishes on his record came at the hands of current world champion Tevin Farmer and an opponent Garcia has been wanting to get his hands on for a long time in Gervonta Davis.
Still, even with Fonseca’s shortcomings on the big stage, he isn’t someone that Garcia is taking lightly.
“He has a good boxing IQ and he doesn’t give up. Even if he’s getting hit hard he tries to win and you have to break that with either skill or power and we’re going to do that.”
This whole notion of Garcia needing to prove himself feels as though it is incorrect. In his last ring appearance, he took on the always tough Romero Duno. It was supposed to be the toughest fight in the career of Garcia, but it turned out to be anything but that. Garcia stopped Duno so quickly that many of his detractors aren’t sure what to make of it.
The naysayers wanted him to show something impressive in terms of new wrinkles to his game but with the contest not making it out of the first round, there really wasn’t too much to dissect from the performance.
“He got knocked out really quick so I didn’t get to show what I can really do. I wanna win by knockout because you don’t get paid for overtime. Plus I don’t want these guys to see how I fight or see what happens later on in fights.”
Garcia isn’t complaining about the quick win, nor should he. If he can somehow pull off the same results against another proven contender in Fonseca then that’s all he cares about.
“I’m just going to try and show my best performance out there.”
With this contest falling on Valentine’s Day, there will surely be a number of women in the crowd rooting him on.
Valentine’s Day has always been known as a day to show love, but on this night, there won’t be any of it shown in the ring.
By: Hans Themistode
The sport of boxing is somewhat like a waiting game isn’t it?
How many times have fans wanted to see certain matchups but were forced to wait? Too many times to remember.
Unlike other sports, boxing doesn’t have to capitulate to the demands of its fans. Take a sport such as basketball. The schedule dictates that everyone plays against one another. It doesn’t matter if you are ready or not. You are thrown into the fire immediately.
How about boxing’s closest sport of comparison? Mixed martial arts (MMA). For that form of combat, it doesn’t matter if a fighter is too young or too old, they will share the octagon against one another. Boxing doesn’t quite work like that.
The first event that comes to mind that resembles this issue is Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao. Fans waited over 5 years to see those them share the ring against one another. Today, we have two fighters who although are great, aren’t quite in the primes of their career just yet. Those fighters would be WBC Lightweight champion Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) and rising star Ryan Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs). Both fighters are 20 and 21 years of age respectively.
Cast aside their ages and these fighters have the look of seasoned veterans with plenty of star power.
For what it’s worth, Haney has already called for a showdown against Garcia with his promoter Eddie Hearn tabbing it as one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing.
“Ryan Garcia is a mega-fight for 2020,” said Hearn when discussing a showdown between the two.
Haney co-signed his promoters sentiments following his shutout victory over Alfredo Santiago this past Saturday night.
“That’s a fight that is being stirred up. Hopefully we can make that fight happen in 2020 or 2021. It’ll happen sooner rather than later.” Said Haney.
Sooner rather than later is an interesting choice of words. Just how soon could a contest between them make place? Haney could be spot on in his 2021 timeline.
“Realistically speaking we probably won’t fight until 2021. That’s just how the business is,” said Garcia when conversing about a contest with Haney. “They know what the big fights are. Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, GGG vs Canelo. There’s just timing and it brews over. We still need a few other fights to make it bigger.”
Garcia is right. In 2021, Garcia will be 23 while Haney on the other hand will be 22, but still, is this the right window for a contest of this magnitude to happen?
With both fighters seemingly not even scratching the surface of their potential, a contest between them seems premature.
Fans don’t want to wait for what felt like a lifetime for Mayweather vs Pacquiao, but at this point in their careers it would be much too early.
Give each fighter the opportunity to build their names and their resume. There isn’t one notable name that stands out on either one of their dockets at the moment. It’s refreshing and encouraging to see two great young fighters willing to not only face each other but anyone that is placed in front of them. However, let’s allow this fight to build. They both have plenty of time.
By: Sean Crose
He’s brash, has a huge online following and is unquestionably talented. Yet lightweight up and comer Ryan Garcia had himself a tough few days last week. First, his opponent for a bout that was scheduled for last Saturday, Avery Sparrow, was arrested before the fight. Then, to make matters worse, Garcia claimed he didn’t hear about the cancellation until at least the point where he showed up for last Friday’s weigh in. Then things became truly intense when Garcia’s promoter, Golden Boy, let the world know that team Garcia wanted nothing to do with a potential replacement for Sparrow, Romero Duno.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Account
The twenty-one year old undefeated Garcia was up in arms. Not only did he miss out on a chance to battle on the DAZN streaming service, he also missed a chance to fight in his native California, where fans were likely to come see him. To make matters worse, Golden Boy gave the impression that one of their top fighters was being kept away from one of its other rising fighters (like Garcia, Duno is a part of the Golden Boy stable). Things went from bad to worse when Garcia, of Victorville, took to social media, where he is hugely popular.
“My promoter acted in a very unprofessional manner (pattern at this point),” he argued, “saying things that were false about me. I’m a fighter and not afraid to fight anyone!!! My team tried tirelessly to negotiate a fair purse amount to save the show but my promoter has shown little interest in my career,” For a bit it looked as if the Garcia – Golden Boy partnership was about to come crashing down. Things, however, have a way of working themselves out.
“Just signed one of the most lucrative deals for a prospect in the History of the sport,” Garcia informed social media on Wednesday. “Thank you to my team and @OscarDeLaHoya @makeawar.” In what seemed the bat of an eye, Garcia went from bitter fighter back to rising, highly promoted star. What’s more, the young man claimed to have an impressive new contract to boot. Video footage of Garcia signing the deal along with Golden Boy Honcho Oscar De La Hoya accompanied the online announcement.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Garcia said to the media. “I’m here today to show everybody that I consider Golden Boy my family and that we’re going to be in this together as I fulfill my dreams.” He then acknowledged that his promoter has what it takes to elevate his career. “Just like I have all the capabilities to become a big star, Golden Boy has all the tools to get me there. But I just want to tell all of our fans: Enjoy the ride!”
To make things all the more fulfilling, Garcia claimed that he would indeed be fighting Duno as the co-main event of the Canelo Alvarez – Sergey Kovalev mega fight this November. The exact details of Garcia’s contract haven’t been made public.
By: Sean Crose
The DAZN streaming service will host a live fight card from the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California Saturday night featuring the 33-0 WBO world junior middleweight champ, Jaime Munguia. The 40-3 Patrick Allotey will be Munguia’s opponent. Although he’s won six straight fights since 2016, Allotey, a largely unknown commodity, is being regarded as stay busy opponent for the hard hitting Munguia. While his last two fights have ended in his favor via decision, the Tijuana, Mexico native has an impressive twenty knockouts on his resume. Having won the belt by stopping Saddam Ali in 2018, Munguia has had five successful title defenses.
Despite his record being impressive, Munguia’s last opponent, Denis Hogan, gave the defending champion a very hard time when the two men met in Monterray, Mexico last April. Hogan boxed well, then engaged effectively with the defending champion. Munguia walked away with the decision win, but the victory didn’t come without a question mark. In other words, the man arguably should have lost the fight. With that being said, Munguia showed an intense level of heart during the Hogan bout. What’s more, it’s said Munguia is looking to move up to middleweight after Saturday’s match against Allotey.
The Munguia-Allotey super lightweight title matchup is scheduled for 12 rounds.
The popular Ryan Garcia will also appear on Saturday’s card. The 18-0 Californian will be stepping inside the ring to face 10-1 Philly native Avery Sparrow. Garcia is clearly being marketed as a rising superstar, yet the 21 year old won’t be facing any slouch. Sparrow has only lost one fight – and that was by disqualification seven fights and nearly four years ago. Also, despite the fact that he only has a handful of knockouts on his resume, Sparrow was able to drop the respected veteran Hank Lundy when the two battled last March in Philly.
Still, it’s worth keeping in mind when it comes to the sport of boxing that popularity can count in a big way after the final bell rings. And Garcia is nothing if not popular. He’s been groomed for success for a while now. Add that to the fact that he’s a legitimate social media star, and it’s clear that people are invested in Garcia. Having not stopped an opponent in his last six bouts, Sparrow may have quite the mountain to climb if he wants to walk away with the win on Saturday night.
Not that Sparrow only has to worry about the judges. Garcia may be well liked, but he’s also a talented rising star with very impressive power. No one, after all, has handed him the fifteen knockout wins he’s earned so far. It takes more than good looks and a huge Instagram following to truly make it in boxing, a fact Garcia is clearly aware of, as he’s taken what may be a dangerous fight for him this weekend.
The Garcia-Sparrow fight is scheduled for 12 rounds in the lightweight division.
By: Hans Themistode
Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) added more fuel to his hype train as he absolutely wiped out Jose Lopez (20-4-1, 14 KOs). The contest took place at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio California.
In total it took Garcia only two rounds to dispatch of his opponent. Lopez understood the opportunity that was in front of him and tried his best to take advantage of it but was quickly overmatched.
In round two Garcia landed a three punch combination that dropped his man. To the credit of Lopez he managed to get back to his feet but in between rounds it was determined that he could not continue.
The win was expected but something more important happened. This victory was the second under the tutelage of Eddy Renoso who also trains boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez. The aforementioned Alvarez even made an appearance to show support to his friend. Canelo also gave Garcia the biggest compliment that could be given.
“He’s the best prospect in the world today,” said Canelo.
Those are big words by the Mexican superstar but the potential of Garcia is enormous. His partnership with Renoso is paying off in a big way. Garcia gets more attention for his good looks and flamboyant style but his recent ring performances are backing up what everyone else believes which is that he could become a major star in the sport of boxing.
Garcia isn’t the only one who scored a terrific knockout tonight.
Current WBO Light Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (20-1, 20 KOs) kept his knockout streak alive as he made light work of Ganigan Lopez (35-9, 19 KOs) with an eighth round stoppage win.
Acosta is known for his ability to put his opponents to sleep but his boxing skills are vastly underrated. He had them fully on display as he spent long durations of the contest out boxing his opponent. In round two however he showed that he not only has the skills but that he still possesses the power. Two straight left hooks left Lopez on uneasy legs. Acosta showed tremendous patience but also a killer instinct. In round eight Acosta landed a combination which saw Lopez hit the deck. Lopez just couldn’t get back to his feet before the ten count ended. That now makes it 20 victories for Acosta which have all come by stoppage.
Ryan Garcia and Angel Acosta put on dominant performances. Let’s also be honest here, they did exactly what they were supposed to do. It was a great night for both men. Now that they have gotten rid of their opposition we can fully expect them to take on tougher foes down the line. Acosta is already a proven champion who will be hard to dethrone while Garcia is looking to snag his own championship and establish himself as one of the best in the world.
By: Hans Themistode
The popular, yet polarizing Ryan Garcia (17-0, 14 KOs) makes his 2019 ring debut this Saturday night March 30th. He’ll be taking on Jose Lopez (20-3-1, 14 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio California.
We all know the main storylines here. Garcia has the good looks of a boxing star. He also has the media savvy and flashy combinations as well. At just 20 years old he truly knows how to work a room. He’s already a major attraction. Most importantly the ladies love him.
The one glaring hole in this description is the praise of his boxing ability. The jury is still out on whether or not he has what it takes to be a future super star in the sport.
Garcia has shown glimpses of what he can become. He also has mental lapses as well. With other young prospects in Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez apparently advancing ahead of him the time is now for Garcia to prove his worth.
At the tail end of 2018 he went under the tutelage of boxing star Canelo Alvarez’s head coach Eddy Reynoso. It was a move that gave immediate results as he knocked out Braulio Rodriguez in the fifth round of his last ring appearance. Garcia will be expected to have a similar performance against Jose Lopez who is coming off a loss against Jonathan Oquendo via sixth round stoppage. Lopez will be looking to grab the biggest victory of his career as a win against the highly touted Garcia would put him on the fast track to stardom. Garcia however, has no plans of being slowed down.
Lopez will undoubtedly have a tough task ahead of him but he won’t be the only one on this fight card who will be looking to upset the applecart.
Ganigan Lopez (35-8, 19 KOs) will have his hands full as he will be taking on WBO Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (19-1, 19 KOs). That task much like Jose Lopez’s will be a difficult one. Every single one of Acosta’s victory has come via stoppage. The lone blemish on the record of Acosta came at the hands of Kosei Tanaka in 2017. Acosta’s unprecedented power down plays his underrated boxing ability. His combination of power and skill make him a tough out.
Both Jose Lopez and Ganigan Lopez have monumental task ahead of them. They are taking on two fighters who have the power to end the fight at any point. As bleak as the thought of winning may seem it is something that they must achieve come Saturday night.
If both of these men can pull off victories as massive underdogs then the course of their boxing lives will be forever changed. With that being said, Ryan Garcia and Angel Acosta understand what’s at stake here so expect them to not take their opposition lightly.
By: Jesse Donathan
There wasn’t a chance I would miss Fedor Emelianenko’s Bellator Heavyweight Grand-Prix tournament final fight against Ryan “Darth” Bader. It was quite possibly one Emelianenko’s last fights and it was for a major mixed martial arts title at the tail end of a storied career for “The Last Emperor” (38-6), who is without question one of the greatest mixed martial art fighters to ever live. The final fight of the night kicked off with the national anthems of both Russia and the United States honored, with an exceptional performance of The Star-Spangled Banner delivered before a ruckus patriotic crowd not shy about showing their support for the American Ryan Bader (27-5). For a brief moment in time, a very real Rocky IV Russia vs the United States atmosphere was captured in a quite honestly top-notch performance from the Bellator production crew and fortunately for everyone but the 42-year-old Emelianenko’s camp the following action inside the cage would not disappoint either.
The fight was violent and over fast, 35 seconds fast, and unfortunately for the legendary Russian Fedor Emelianenko it was not meant to be Saturday night as Ryan Bader cleaned “The Last Emperors” clock with a savage left hook that dropped the Russian where he stood in his tracks. Hurt badly, Emelianenko was quickly swarmed by “Darth” Bader before referee Mike Beltran rushed in to save the legendary Russian heavyweight from any further punishment. Emelianenko appeared busted up in his corner, having been caught flush by Bader who claimed the vacant Bellator heavyweight title by TKO and who is now the Bellator heavyweight Grand-Prix tournament finals champion.
Bader is now the first Bellator two division champion, simultaneously holding both the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles and cementing himself as among the most elite fighters in the sport today. Bader was a class act during his post-fight speech, praising the Russian legend and paying respects to one of the great champions of our time. It’s hard not to recognize just what kind of exceptional performance Bader has put on not just throughout his Bellator tenure, but really throughout his entire career. Bader has an incredible record, having lost only to the most elite fighters in the sport today. A victory over Emelianenko perhaps the greatest triumph in a storied, elite mixed martial arts career in his own right.
In other action Saturday night, heartbreak came to Aaron Pico (4-2) at Bellator 214, where the young mixed martial arts sensation was upset by the surging veteran Henry “OK” Corrales (17-3) who has now rattled off five straight victories and whom is now calling for an opportunity to rematch Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for the 145-pound Bellator featherweight title. Corrales was in trouble early, blasted by Pico with an upper cut in an absolute shootout but the veteran mixed martial artist would not be denied and fought back from adversity to separate the young 22-year-old Bellator prospect from consciousness in what is perhaps the biggest victory of the 32-year-old MMA Lab veterans’ career. Prior to Saturday night’s loss, Pico had rattled off four straight victories by knockout or technical knockout, relying on his boxing background to bring the fight to his opponents in violent, fisticuff fashion despite being an elite wrestler who tried out unsuccessfully for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
Pico may have gone out on his shield Saturday night, but when a fighter chooses to go to war and bring the violence as Pico does, he cements a reputation for himself as a striker to be feared and respected in the cage. In a sport where fighters have a lot of tools and options at their disposal, choosing to actively engage in a blitzkrieg like fashion guarantee’s he is a fan favorite and sure to be invited back to the big stage to compete again. Even in defeat, Pico makes my all-violence first team for being a game fighter willing to give the promotion and fans what they want to see. With legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach in his corner Saturday night, Pico is in good hands and is sure to bounce back from Saturday nights disappointing loss to continue down the road of professional mixed martial arts prize fighting where anything can and often does happen.
In other news Saturday night, former WWE wrestling champion Jack Hager (Jack Swagger) took home his first professional mixed martial arts victory against the 41-year-old J.W. Kiser (0-2), winning by arm triangle choke submission in the first round at The Forum in Inglewood, California. A smaller heavyweight at 6’0, 220 pounds Kiser displayed good footwork in the cage and sprang like a Jack in the box in an attempt to flatten the larger Hager (1-0), but in the process allowed the former WWE star to cut off the cage. This tactical mistake turned out to be a very bad idea against an opponent with legitimate amateur wrestling credentials in Hager who was a two-sport athlete at the University of Oklahoma in both football and wrestling. Inevitably, Kiser was taken down and hit with some massive elbows which opened up the finishing arm triangle choke submission.
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night two of Britain’s best take to the ring for the World Boxing Super Series as 140lb number two, seed Josh Taylor of Scotland, fights undefeated American, Ryan Martin; while WBA bantamweight champion, Ryan Burnett of Belfast, steps in with future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire. Watch the fight on DAZN.
Whether watching at home or inside the arena you’re sure to remember at least one thing from Josh Taylor’s World Boxing Super Series quarter-final vs. Ryan Martin, and that’s noise. When the ‘Tartan Tornado’ appears to the crowd for the first time on Saturday, the Scottish crowd will erupt. Covering Martin, in a cacophony of sound he’s never felt before as a boxer.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Taylor’s professional-breakout fight was in his five-round dismantling of super-lightweight gatekeeper, Dave Ryan at Meadowbank Sports Arena, in 2016 and since then, five out of Taylor’s six fights have taken place either in Glasgow or his home city of Edinburgh. The fan-base has grown and with it, the anticipation of what the Scottish fans will bring.
Saturday nights venue, SSE Hydro was the base for the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, where Taylor won gold, so it stands to reason that he’ll be forever linked with the venue,
‘‘The Hydro is now my home. Every time I fight there I’m getting stronger and stronger and the fans are getting bigger and noisier.’’
The ‘Tartan Tornado’s’ last two fight have taken place at the SSE. Five months ago, the Scottish southpaw went head to head with former world champion, Viktor Postol in his most important professional fight to date.
His performance matched the event, as Taylor, now 13-0 (11KOs) battled through 12 exhausting rounds, dropping the Ukrainian in the 11th, to add another notch to his record and emerge as arguably, the biggest threat outside of the current 140lb world champions,
‘‘My style is based on hand speed and timing. I can punch hard as well…I know if I’m hitting you, I’m putting you down or hurting you. I don’t think there’s anybody that boxes the way I box.’’
‘‘I’ve seen every type of style, every type of fighting you can imagine… My ambition is to move forward, win this tournament and become world champion.’’
Before entering the WBSS, Taylor was making his way through the WBC rankings to eventually face one of the organisation’s belt holders, Jose Ramirez or already confirmed semi-finalist, Regis Prograis. If he wins on Saturday though, he’ll instead face the recently crowned IBF champion, Ivan Baranchyk for that title and a place in the final to fight either Kiryl Relikh or Prograis.
Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin has fluctuated between lightweight and super-lightweight throughout his pro career. Currently 22-0 (12KOs) and training out of Big Bear under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez, Martin has won minor lightweight titles as an amateur and as a professional.
Towards the end of last year, he picked up the 135lb WBA Inter-Continental strap with a split decision victory over Francisco Rojo; as well as already being the owner of the WBC ‘Americas’ lightweight belt. However, his two fights this year came at the weight class above including a shut-out points victory over Briedis Prescott in May.
Though 22 bouts in, his professional record has been steady in its progress; Martin’s not the type of man who takes any opponent lightly,
‘‘I know Josh Taylor’s a very good boxer, I’m the most athletic, I have the most speed and that’s gonna make the most difference throughout the tournament.’’
‘‘I’ve heard the crowd in Scotland is gonna be a very different atmosphere than I’ve ever been in but I’m gonna soak it all in.’’
Although ‘Blue Chip’ won’t have fought in an atmosphere as raucous as Saturday’s is expected to be, he’s no stranger to performing on the big stage having already performed at venues such as, the StubHub Center in LA, Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena and, probably the most famous boxing venue of all, Madison Square Garden,
‘‘I’m a boxer-puncher. I love to entertain, I love to excite people…Nobody wants to see a boring fighter.’’
‘‘As fighter’s every time we step in the ring we’re risking something so why not risk it on the big stage.
As mentioned earlier, the man to emerge victorious this weekend will go on to face Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-finals, who last week scored a 7th round stoppage victory over Anthony Yigit.
Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire
The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final sees WBA ‘Super’ champion, Ryan Burnett step into the ring with ‘The Filipino Flash’, Nonito Donaire. The winner will progress to the semis to fight WBO champion, Zolani Tete.
No one can say the 26-year-old Ryan Burnett hasn’t earned his place at the top table of 118lb boxers. The Belfast man has, on numerous occasions, been given reasons to quit boxing, his story, which he outlines in another brilliantly put together Super Series documentary here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu4AaO7UGlc isn’t your regular hard knocks tale.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
He’s overcome neurological issues that he was told were career-ending and been homeless; all before even catching his break in the sport.
‘‘I’ve got a hunger that I know no one in there has.’’
‘‘For a year and a half, we learnt how the brain worked and we started pursuing it to prove that my health wasn’t in any danger…I just always had that mad belief that I am meant to be a world champion.’’
Since around 2014, Burnett has been trained by Adam Booth and since then, established a record of 19-0 (9KOs) which, most significantly, includes becoming a world champion in 2017, for the first time via a completely dominant decision victory over Lee Haskins, and then immediately unifying the WBA and IBF championships with a tough but unanimous points win over Zhanat Zhakiyanov.
Before the WBSS second season fighters was announced, Burnett decided to drop the IBF strap, therefore avoiding a fight with WBSS semi-finalist, and now IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez. Instead, Ryan’s one bout so far in 2018 was a fairly routine victory over Venezuelan, Yonfrez Parejo on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker.
Like all of the top seeds across the Super Series, Burnett recognises the pressure on his shoulders, especially when he’s going up against the power that his Filipino foe is known for,
‘‘I don’t need to be nasty to people, I’m able to switch it like a light switch and I turn into a different person…I picked Nonito because, the better the fighter, the better I become.’’
‘‘We all dream of these moments of fighting the best and becoming the best in the world and the World Boxing Super Series are making that come true.’’
Currently 38-5 (24KOs), Nonito Donaire’s, last fight was also his latest defeat as ‘The Filipino Flash’ was beaten by Burnett’s fellow Northern Irishman, Carl Frampton.
Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, the four-weight world champion was asked about any similarities between the two men,
‘‘They (Frampton & Burnett) are similar because they’ve both got big balls. They’re there to fight and that’s something that I like… I’m just grateful to be in the ring with a great man.’’
Nonito hasn’t fought at bantamweight since 2011 when he scored a unanimous decision over, a then 35-0-2, Omar Narvaez. That night in New York he became a two-weight world champion, picking up the WBC & WBO straps as well as improving his own record to 27-1.
He then shifted his sights to super-bantam and eventually the featherweight division where he accomplished world honours in both, but by his own admission, he didn’t feel all together comfortable fighting at the 126lb limit, and the tournament has given him the opportunity to add one more achievement to his already impressive accolades.
‘‘I’ve always come to fight the best out there…I’ve achieved pretty much everything in boxing…The only thing I haven’t done in boxing is become the undisputed champion, and that’s the one thing that’s given me this fire.’’
It’s beneficial for both sides as well though as Donaire’s legendary status adds an extra bit of flavour to an already appetising class of fighters that has been whittled down to Naoya Inoue, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Zolani Tete.
‘‘This is a moment for me to rise. When one is driven to a point, there’s only one way to go and that’s going up and that’s rising beyond what I’m capable of.’’
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By Jake Donovan
Never one to settle for what he’s accomplished as the best he can do, Ryan Garcia continues to prove wise well beyond his youthful existence.
The unbeaten 20-year old super featherweight from Los Angeles—already earning Prospect of the Year honors by several major outlets in 2017—has always made sure to surround himself with the right people in his career. Another strong entity has been added to the team, as Garcia announced that he will begin working with famed trainer Eddy Reynoso.
“Big announcement,” Garcia (16-0, 13KOs) alerted his massive social media following, including well beyond one million followers on his verified Instagram account. “I am now (training) with Eddy Reynoso (as) well as my dad.”
Reynoso is best known for his career-long work with boxing superstar and reigning World middleweight king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. It’s been quite an amazing second half to 2018 for the A-list trainer from Mexico, who this past summer has begun working with unbeaten featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez.
“I’ve seen him throughout his career,” Reynoso told BoxingInsider.com via translator. “I know how he is. We are going to work on his defense, on his counter punching and on other things to (complement) his natural abilities.”
The two will begin working together immediately, a move that is as necessary as it is convenient. The other major development this week in Garcia’s career came in his being informed of his next fight date.
“I will be fighting December 15th at Madison Square Garden,” Garcia announced on Tuesday. “I’m honored to fight at such a legendary venue. I’m coming to New York. So all my fans from out there will finally get to see me.”
The bout—versus a yet-to-be-determined opponent—will come on the undercard of Alvarez’ challenge of secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding.
Both Alvarez and Garcia will make their respective MSG debuts, neither having ever previously fought in New York or anywhere in the U.S. east of Texas.
The show will air live on DAZN, the first show under a new pact formed between the sports streaming service and Golden Boy Promotions, who promotes both boxers. Alvarez’ own deal with the platform is the richest guaranteed contract in sports history, with the December 15 show the first of an 11-fight, $365 million agreement.
Golden Boy’s end secures fight dates for its young and growing stable, including boxers such as Garcia who is already a sizeable draw in the SoCal area and a major presence both on TV and online.
His pairing with Golden Boy was a natural fit, joining Oscar de la Hoya’s California-based outfit after his sixth pro fight. The early portion of his career took place in Mexico, fighting as a 17-year old following an incredible amateur career which boasted an eye-popping 285-15 ring record along with 15 National Gold medals.
Garcia’s first fight in the U.S. came shortly after his 18th birthday, signing with Golden Boy two months later. His rise to early fame has been well publicized, including a quick transition from new recruit to bona fide prospect in 2017.
After earning Prospect of the Year honors from several outlets including ESPN.com, Garcia and his team opted to step up the competition level in 2018. The results have been mixed, although he’s found a different way to win in each of his three ring appearances this year.
Less competitive wins over Fernando Vargas and Jayson Velez earlier this year were overshadowed by his most recent bout in September. Garcia managed to draw an audience for his Facebook Live-streamed headliner, but struggled at times in a majority decision win over durable trialhorse Carlos Morales.
By his own admission, there remain elements of Garcia’s game that require vast improvement, including stamina and defense. It’s easy enough to chalk it up to growing pains, but Garcia and his team refused to leave anything to chance.
Now, he’s prepared to leave the next step in the capable hands of one of the very best cornermen in boxing today.
“We will start (Thursday),” Reynoso informed BoxingInsider.com “We’ve had two meetings, and for me he is a very dedicated, eager and disciplined fighter. You see he likes to learn.”
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?
By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotion seven fights on facebook live from the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, California. This is a newer venture for Golden Boy as promotional outfits worldwide are increasingly turning to streaming to deliver their product.
Ryan Garcia was able to sell out the Fantasty Springs Resort and Casino for the second time.
Several undercard fights were shown, but the main event of the evening was between Ryan Garcia and Carlos Morales in the lightweight division and the co-main event of the night was between Marvin Cabrera and Neeco Macias.
Marvin Cabrera (8-0) and Neeco Macias (16-0) met in the junior middleweight division. Both boxers are undefeated, but Cabrera has been the more active fighter the past two years and had former world champion Daniel Ponce DeLeon in his corner.
Macias had a good contingent of fans in attendance, and he made it known immediately why. They both came out swinging in the opening round but Macias took the best shots of Cabrera well and continued to come forward, while smiling. Macias didn’t appear to have a whole lot of power and was taking some good left hands from Cabrera, but he threw over twice the number of punches than Cabrera. Macias threw 147 punches in the opening round while Cabrera threw 72, and it was a sign of things to come.
Macias stayed in tight during the second round and didn’t appear to land many hard punches, but he applied an incredible amount of pressure and appeared to overwhelm Cabrera. He continued that output into the third round when he threw 196 punches and appeared to be visibly wilting Cabrera.
Macias opened up the fourth round with a looping left hand went right back to work. He was swarming Cabrera and was really snapping the head of his opponent.
Cabrera’s back was stuck next to the ropes and corner often in the fourth and fifth rounds and wasn’t really able to throw much in response to the aggression of Macias. Whenever Cabrera backed away in an attempt to escape and breathe Macias would quickly close the distance and pound away at the body and head.
Cabrera looked exhausted in the sixth round and took a hard left hand in the opening seconds of the sixth. Cabrera was stuck in the corner often and was getting beat from corner to corner.
Cabrera’s corner wisely stopped the fight before the start of the seventh round. Macias wins by knockout at 3:00 of the sixth round.
The main event of the night was between Ryan Garcia (15-0) and Carlos Morales (17-2-3) in the lightweight division.
Garcia held the NABF and NABO Super Featherweight Championships while Morales held the NABA Super Featherweight Championship.
Garcia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ high ceiling prospects and is only twenty years old. Garcia looked like the bigger fighter and was able to establish himself as the boxer with the quicker hands early on. Garcia was able to land some good left hooks in the first two rounds and had a good jab working.
Garcia did trip and fall backwards in the second round but Morales was warned by the referee for pushing his opponent.
Garcia was shifty in the third round and was able to land his counter right hands. One of his punches opened up a cut on the bridge of the nose of Morales.
Morales was able to land some right hands to the body of Garcia in the fourth round, but Garcia appeared to land the better shots and even had Morales shaking his head no after landing a combination.
Garcia’s timing was on point in the fifth and sixth rounds and was able to touch Morales whenever he got into range. Both boxers were warned by the referee for wrestling during these rounds.
Morales’ corner think he hurt Garcia in the seventh round and even wobbled the legs of Garcia after landing a jab. Morales pressed the pace afterwards, but Garcia recovered quickly and lasted the round.
Morales continued to attempt apply the pressure in the eighth and ninth rounds but with the exception of a few body shots wasn’t able to hurt Garcia again. Garcia however appeared to be tiring and looked at the clock continuously.
Morales probably needed a knockout in the final round to win, but Garcia had caught his second wind by then and threw enough punches in the final round to win it.
The judges scored it 98-92, 95-95, 98-92 for Ryan Garcia by majority decision.