Golden Boy head Oscar De La Hoya believes Ryan Garcia is being matched relatively tough for his next fight, his first since suffering the first loss of his career.

Tough enough, at least, to preclude his star charge from being criticized.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Garcia, 25, would be making his junior welterweight debut against career lightweight Oscar Duarte of Mexico on Dec. 2 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

It would mark Garcia’s first fight since getting stopped by Gervonta Davis in the seventh round of their high-profile 136-pound fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in April.

On X (formerly Twitter), De La Hoya lambasted detractors of Garcia’s rebound fight, saying Duarte presents a significant risk for Garcia and is far from a tune-up level opponent.

The 27-year-old Duarte is known for his offensive prowess, having stopped his last 11 opponents.

“People who do not know boxing are just plain stupid,” De La Hoya wrote. “How can you knock on Ryan when he [i]s fighting a KO artist in Oscar Duarte. When you get knocked out you choose an easy fight next, Ryan is taking big risk.”

The fight with Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) would be Garcia’s first under new trainer Derrick James, best known for his work with Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence Jr. Garcia (19-1, 23 KOs) parted ways with veteran coach Joe Goossen after the loss to Davis.

The announcement of the Duarte fight comes as Garcia and De La Hoya have butted heads in public. Their confrontation, which was sparked in the aftermath of Garcia’s loss to Davis, eventually led to De La Hoya suing Garcia for breach of contract.

De Le Hoya has feuded with his star clients in the past, most notably with Canelo Alvarez, who eventually left his longtime promoter in 2020.  

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.