By Keith Idec
Ryan Garcia has roughly 857,000 followers on Instagram and 61,000 Twitter followers.
His fight Friday night, the biggest test of Garcia’s fast-developing career, also drew an announced crowd of 6,625 to StubHub Center in Carson, California. Garcia still has some work to do in terms of becoming a television draw, though.
The Golden Boy Promotions doubleheader that featured the 19-year-old Garcia’s unanimous-decision victory over Jayson Velez was watched by an average audience of 281,000, according to ratings released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. The Garcia-Velez card was televised live by ESPN2, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT on Friday night.
Garcia (15-0, 13 KOs) – a talented 130-pound prospect from Victorville, California – went beyond eight rounds for the first time since he turned pro in June 2016. He beat Velez (26-5-1, 18 KOs), a durable veteran from Puerto Rico who has never been knocked out, by the same big margin on all three scorecards (99-91).
The show started Friday night with Irish middleweight contender Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) scoring a technical knockout of overmatched welterweight Berlin Abreu (14-2, 11 KOs) after the third round of a scheduled 10-round bout.
The Garcia-Velez doubleheader produced slightly lower ratings than Golden Boy’s previous live broadcast on ESPN2.
That telecast, which featured former super featherweight champ Francisco Vargas’ stoppage of Rod Salka on April 12, attracted an averaged audience of 296,000. The Vargas-Salka card began airing at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on a Thursday night.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions cohorts consider Garcia the company’s next star. Garcia has called out top 130-pound fighters on social media, including WBA “super” champion Gervonta Davis (20-0, 19 KOs), but Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz admitted following his win against Velez that Garcia isn’t ready for a title shot just yet.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.