Ryan Garcia believes he’s ready to be tested and make the leap from a can't-miss prospect into a bonafide star.
In an interview with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) again listed a familiar trio of top 135-pound fighters of whom he’s been calling out of late as ideal opponents for the not too distant future.
“I’m trying to make a fight happen, but I’m trying to fight someone that’s really credible. I’m trying to come back with a bang against a big opponent. I want the Gervonta Davis’, the Devin Haney’s, so I’m working on those kinds of things,” said Garcia during the Instagram Live session. “If I had it my way, I would have wanted to come back against [Jorge] Linares, but it didn’t happen. So now I want Gervonta Davis. That’s who I really want, and I think everyone will go crazy for that fight.
“Whatever I do, it’s going to be big. Just know that. I expect a huge fight. If [the Davis fight is what] you want, let’s get it … Why do we have to wait? What are we waiting for? Never in my life would I duck that man. No, I’m not [afraid of Gervonta Davis]. Bring on Gervonta Davis, let’s go.”
For now, Linares seems to be the likeliest of opponents for Garcia for his first big test. The former three-weight champion and the 21-year-old were supposed to meet in an Independence Day showdown, but the deal hit a snag because Garcia was displeased with Golden Boy and DAZN, and the financial package he’d be receiving.
A fight with Davis would be a career-defining one for Garcia. A win would hush his harshest critics.
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe first told BoxingScene.com in May that Davis will next be fighting Leo Santa Cruz. Legitimate conversations for a Garcia-Davis showdown would have to take place in 2021 if the fight were to ever move past its “dream” phase.
“[Davis is] a huge fight, but we’ve got to try and make it happen,” said Garcia. “We’re working day in day out to try and get them made, but there are a few complications, but they can get made.”
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.