By: Hans Themistode
The next stop for Ryan Garcia appeared to be world title glory.
To kick off his 2021 campaign, Garcia waged an unforgettable war against perennial contender, Luke Campbell. With Garcia forced to peel himself up off the deck in the second round, the speedy 135-pound contender went on to punish Campbell, resulting in a second-round knockout victory.
Although the boxing world appeared to be his oyster, Garcia faded into the shadows due to a combination of mental health issues and subsequent right wrist surgery. Now, with the 23-year-old returning in full force in less than two weeks against Emmanuel Tagoe, he’s been the source of the perpetual criticism he’s endured for much of his career.
Throughout the entirety of Garcia’s time as a professional, he’s competed no higher than 135 pounds. However, for his upcoming showdown against Tagoe, the pair have agreed to square off at a catchweight of 139 pounds.
Despite the uproar, Garcia is bemused by the initial reaction. Considering that his showdown against Tagoe isn’t of significant importance, Garcia believes everyone is blowing things way out of proportion.
“I can make 135 if I want to,” said Garcia during an interview on Behind The Gloves. “Obviously he’s coming off a two-year layoff, I’m coming off a year and a half, why not do 139? It’s not for a title, there’s nothing really on the line. It’s just a fight.”
Regardless of the added weight, Garcia will waltz to the ring as a sizable favorite. Tagoe, although riding a 31 fight win streak, has failed to compete since November of 2020. In addition to his inactive schedule, Garcia will be considered the sternest test of his career.
In the end, Garcia is hoping that a victory over Tagoe will lead to bigger and better options down the line. Currently, the 135-pound division is stacked with well-known names that Garcia is clamoring to face. Amongst them, is former unified 135-pound titlist, Teofimo Lopez.
Recently though, Lopez was thrown from the 135-pound mountain top, suffering defeat at the hands of George Kambosos Jr. Since experiencing his first career blemish, Lopez has stated that his time as a 135 pounder is officially over.
As for Kambosos Jr., the rest of his 2022 could be wrapped up in back-to-back showdowns against Devin Haney. The two have verbally agreed to terms to face one another next in Melbourne Australia. Should Haney pick up the win, and become an undisputed world champion, he’ll be forced to face Kambosos Jr. again.
With those two off the table for now, Haney is turning his attention toward both Lopez and a familiar name as well.
“I don’t think Kambosos or Haney,” said Garcia when asked who he could possibly face later this year. “I don’t think you’ll see that but I think you have a better chance of seeing me fight Tank [Gervonta Davis] or Teofimo even, maybe do it at 140. Maybe those two are more likely than Haney and Kambosos because they’re going to be tied up. They have a rematch clause, they’re going to be going to Australia, you don’t know what can happen in the fight. There’s so much things that can happen.”