At 22-years-of-age Ryan ‘King Ry’ Garcia proved to the world that he is a serious threat to any lightweight on the planet with his 7th round knockout of Britain’s Luke Campbell. With the win came the WBC Interim world lightweight title and more importantly the mandatory contender position to full champion Devin Haney.
Garcia, from Los Angeles, learnt what it was like to be in with a seasoned campaigner when he was dropped by a Campbell overhand left in the second round. He admitted afterwards “I was a little dizzy with the knockdown, but I wasn’t worried.” These are the types of experiences that many felt the social media sensation lacked going into the fight. Campbell had been the distance in title fights with Venezuelan Jorge Linares and Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko as well as having won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. As good and flashy as Garcia looked in his social media videos and his previous 20 unbeaten bouts, there were still real doubts.
Now that we know that young Garcia can really fight, the lightweight landscape suddenly looks electrifying. Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Gervonta Davies could potentially all face one another in title fights in the not too distant future. Of course, Vasyl Lomachenko might also want to have a say in matters.
Not since Leonard, Hearns, Hagler, and Duran in the 80s have we seen this array on talent already to face each other while at the peak of their abilities.
Six months ago, the thought of Vasyl Lomachenko being the sideshow to the younger generation would not have seemed possible, but after Garcia’s Interim title win over Campbell and ‘Tank’ Davies spectacular knockout of four-weight world champion Leo Santa Cruz, the long-time pound-for-pound No1 is firmly on the outside looking in.
Garcia’s choice of opponent for his next fight is Gervonta Davies, he made that very clear in his post-fight interview. The two have carried on a social media spat for some time now and the newly crowned champion wants to settle matters with the Mayweather promoted WBA world lightweight titleholder as soon as possible. This would be one of the biggest fights that could be made in the sport right now so, all promotional parties and associated media outlets would need to settle their professional differences and share in the fiscal rewards such an event would produce. The Covid-19 pandemic may also need to end before this fight could take place because this is another fight that demands a live audience.
The fight that is more likely to be made next is Haney vs Garcia, simply because both fight on DAZN and Garcia vs Campbell was co-promoted between Garcia’s promoter Golden Boy and Haney’s (and Campbell’s) promoter Matchroom Boxing. The alliance is already made and both Haney and Garcia hold versions of the WBC 135lb crown.
What a match-up Haney and Garcia would be. Two unbeaten champions, both just 22-years-old and both itching to prove that they are the best in the division. Both are huge at the weight and although recent events suggest that Garcia may pack more firepower, Haney is not without power having won 15 of his 25 contests by knockout. For me, Haney has the edge in technical ability at this juncture but, Garcia is fast improving under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso.
Haney and his promoter Eddie Hearn are keen to get Devin into these big lightweight title fights as soon as possible but, is that because Haney is already struggling to get down to 135lbs? The resident of Las Vegas by way of San Francisco has looked very tight at the weight in recent outings so, Hearn and Haney probably know that time is of the essence before a move up to super-lightweight is inevitable.
As one of the people that thought that Luke Campbell might have too much experience for Ryan Garcia, I have to admit that he proved me and many others wrong, and the fact that he got up from a hard knockdown to come back and win in a manner that Loma and Linares failed to achieve, proves the point even more so.
Ryan, I am now a believer!