The soap opera between Ryan Garcia and his promoters took center stage again Thursday afternoon in Houston.
The 25-year-old star suggested during a press conference that his handlers at Golden Boy Promotions are rooting for him to lose Saturday night to Mexican underdog Oscar Duarte. Oscar De La Hoya’s company also represents Duarte, who will challenge Garcia in a 12-round junior welterweight bout at Toyota Center (DAZN; 8 p.m. ET).
Garcia initially took aim at Golden Boy partner Bernard Hopkins, who apparently angered Garcia with comments he made to Fight Hub TV recently (https://www.boxingscene.com/bernard-hopkins-on-ryan-garcia-were-not-business-kissing-fighters-ass--179648). The 140-pound contender then turned his attention to the entire Golden Boy team, with which he has been at odds at times during their promotional partnership.
“And another thing I wanna touch on is, you know, Oscar saying that, you know, we misinterpret what they say,” Garcia said. “It’s plain English. I didn’t hear anybody speaking any language I don’t know. So, you know, it’s very clear to me that, you know, they’re backing this guy to beat me, just like they thought [Romero] Duno was gonna beat me. He was the next Filipino star. They say he’s the next Mexican star.
“You know what? I put everything into this fight. You know, for the first time I’m extremely committed, in a long time. You know, 2021 was one of the times it kinda broke me, 2022, you know, changed me, 2023 opened my eyes. I’m about to come back, come back for everything. You know, I’m just lasered in. I’m laser-focused, and that’s where my confidence comes from.”
De La Hoya, who stood behind Garcia as he spoke, visibly reacted to Garcia’s comments. The retired six-division champion did not comment, however, once Garcia was finished speaking.
The Golden Boy Promotions founder simply stated, “All right, this concludes the press conference for Saturday’s fight, Ryan Garcia versus Oscar Duarte. We will now pose the fighters for pictures. Thank you very much.”
De La Hoya and Hopkins then posed for photos with Garcia and Duarte, but Garcia didn’t interact with either co-promoter before he left the stage.
Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs), of Victorville, California, will fight for the first time Saturday night since Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) knocked him out in the seventh round of their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The former WBC interim lightweight champion is consistently listed as a 4-1 favorite to defeat Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs), who has moved up from lightweight to junior welterweight for the biggest fight of his career.
This will also mark Garcia’s first fight since Golden Boy filed a lawsuit against him and Lupe Valencia, Garcia’s attorney and adviser, on June 16 in the United States District Court of Nevada to enforce its “valid promotional agreement” with him. Garcia filed a motion two months later to dismiss Golden Boy’s complaint against him.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.