A mob of people gathers around the young man in the video as he stands in the sun signing autographs. This young man is kind, good-looking, and cordial, never losing patience with his supporters. Finally, a lady, most likely a public relations representative, walks up and abruptly stops the proceedings. The young man lets himself be escorted away but gives no indication that he has been saved from an irritating crowd. He seemed to relish the attention. He is nothing if not gracious. But he also has a mouth. Oh, and he’s one of the hardest striking rising stars in boxing.
If you haven’t already guessed, the young man’s name is Ryan Garcia. Spokesman for the company. Celebrity on social media. A fighter with 22 victories and 0 defeats. Eighteen of the victories were by knockout. At first sight, the 23-year-old seemed to have it all together. However, there are chinks in Garcia’s reputational armor that have nothing to do with the mental health vacation he had some time ago. To begin with, the native Californian does not have a fantastic name on his résumé. His finest victory came against the extremely skilled Luke Campbell – a really outstanding fighter, to be sure, but not among the sport’s crème de la crème.
Garcia, on the other hand, has no qualms about openly expressing his thoughts on boxers widely regarded as being at or near the pinnacle of the sport. “Congrats to Haney,” he wrote following Devin Haney’s stunning championship victory against George Kambosos in Kambosos’ home Australia, “but it’s was definitely just a bland fight, Anyways, I’ll just say, you know who I want after Fortuna!!! Let them have their rematch lol. Absolutely “nyquil” type of performance.” While Haney’s win over Kambosos wasn’t the most entertaining in the world, it was one-sided and remarkable. It was also for a world championship, which Garcia has yet to fight for. Garcia’s next opponent will be the aforementioned Javier Fortuna on the 16th of this month.
However, as Garcia hinted in his Haney tweet, he intends to go for the big fish after the Fortuna fight, if he overcomes the 37-3-1 Fortuna; a fighter no one would mistake for one of boxing’s greatest names, but a former world titlist nonetheless. Garcia, on the other hand, is heavily favored to win, and for good reason. He’s developing as a combatant as well as possessing missile-like strength. Will he be able to beat the likes of Gervonta “Tank” Davis, the legendary multi-division champion whom he plainly wants to face? The answer might be on its way. Garcia’s ambition may be as large as his mouth…or his pleasant grin.