Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya is tasked with developing and guiding the career for one the fastest rising stars in the sport in Ryan Garcia.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) is coming off back-to-back first-round knockouts of respectable contenders, and De La Hoya believes the sky's the limit for the 21-year-old.
De La Hoya and company are considering matching Garcia next with three-division world champion Jorge Linares.
The potential matchup is giving the Hall of Famer some anxiety.
“I saw Linares train the other day, he sent the video over, and he looks like a machine,” De La Hoya told Ring Magazine. “He looks incredible. So when I look at a fight between Ryan and Linares, it’s a fight that worries me. Should I put Ryan in with Linares just now or should I throw him in with the lions? … We have to do our job as promoters and make sure we match him up perfectly with guys like Linares with guys that are going to take him to the next level. and can possibly even beat him.”
Garcia and Linares have been jawing at each other on social media for months, and a meeting in the ring only feels like a matter of time.
Golden Boy had plans to stage a show between Garcia and Linares at the Staples Center in Los Angeles before the Covid-19 global pandemic. The company also attempted to showcase Garcia in its first show back on July 4, but that honor is instead going to Vergil Ortiz Jr. instead on July 24.
“Due to Team @KingRyanG decision not to accept a July 4th bout, we will now return in late July with the future of boxing, @vergilortiz,” De La Hoya tweeted earlier this month. “[M]ore exciting details to follow @GoldenBoyBoxing.”
"You do realize you’re supposed to be my promoter not hater right?" Garcia replied in a since-deleted tweet.
De La Hoya has now clarified his stance.
“We couldn’t come to terms. I’m sure his advice was obviously not a good one. It would have been a wonderful event. I was really, really looking forward to it. We’ll see when he fights again. We just don’t know at this point,” said De La Hoya. “We signed the richest deal for any type of prospect, ever, in boxing. His lawyer, Lupe [Valencia], made this deal happen, and now Lupe is not satisfied with what they negotiated? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
“Unfortunately, fighters in this game get a lot of bad advice. That’s the bottom line. Or maybe they just have a different agenda. Rumors are starting to circulate about certain people trying to take fighters away from us, which is fine, because ultimately we’re protected with contracts, so there’s no issue there. But when you have a top, top prospect like a Ryan Garcia, everyone and their mother’s going to try to take him away, because he does move the meter. But therefore we pay him accordingly."
Garcia has been calling out every name at 135 hoping one of them sticks and he can be presented a serious threat, all while being paid handsomely for it.
De La Hoya has been the subject of Garcia’s social media jabs several times in the past, and he ultimately prefers it when Garcia directs his scorn at opponents instead.
“[Garcia and Linares] are going back and forth on Twitter and Instagram, and it’s actually building up the fight,” said De La Hoya. “Once we do put that fight together, it’s going to be one of those fights that you don’t want to miss. That’s what I’m talking about with Ryan. He’s so popular. We don’t know how great he can be in the ring yet.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.