Perhaps no boxer in the sport has more masterfully utilized social media than Ryan Garcia.
The unbeaten lightweight contender has 6.6 million followers on Instagram and more than 415,000 followers on Twitter. The 21-year-old Garcia uses those powerful platforms regularly to generate interest in him and his future fights, and has made himself more marketable.
Luke Campbell is well aware of Garcia’s success on those platforms, but the British southpaw is concerned only about how well Garcia can fight.
“He has a hell of a following,” Campbell told Sky Sports, “but they won’t help him in the ring.”
Campbell just hopes their mandated match materializes now that the WBC has ordered them to fight for its interim lightweight title.
Eddie Hearn, Campbell’s promoter, announced the WBC’s ruling Wednesday through his social media accounts. Hearn’s company, Matchroom Boxing, and Golden Boy Promotions, Garcia’s promoter, both have exclusive deals with DAZN, which should make putting their fight together easier.
The 32-year-old Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, still isn’t convinced Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) will take the fight.
“I know he has mentioned my name in the past, but what he says and what he does are two completely different things,” Campbell said. “I’m well up for this fight. He is a big name. He draws a lot of attention. He looks like he carries power and he has speed. We’ll soon find out, won’t we?”
The winner of a proposed Garcia-Campbell bout would become the mandatory challenger for Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), the WBC lightweight champion. Garcia and the 21-year-old Haney have built up their own fight through the media, and on Instagram and Twitter.
Campbell isn’t sure what to make of either of those two talented lightweights just yet because neither of them has fought a top opponent.
Garcia gained momentum by recording back-to-back, first-round knockouts of Romero Duno (22-2, 17 KOs) and Francisco Fonseca (25-3-2, 19 KOs) in his past two fights. Haney became a champion at just 20 years old, but he won an interim belt when he defeated unknown Russian Zaur Abdullaev (11-1, 7 KOs) by technical knockout last September 13 in New York and was eventually elevated to the status of world champion.
Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) became the WBC’s true champion at 135 pounds after defeating Campbell by unanimous decision 10 months ago at O2 Arena in London. The WBC later made Lomachenko its franchise champion at lightweight, which afforded Haney his chance to become its world champion.
“It’s hard to see what they are about until they have been in the ring with someone of quality who has a good [resume],” Campbell said of Garcia and Haney. “By the amount of fights they have had, I had already beaten two former world champions [Argenis Mendez and Darleys Perez]. Neither of them have fought a former world champion yet. Time will tell.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.