Ryan Garcia has admitted seven months after his seventh-round knockout loss to Gervonta Davis that he entered the ring that night with a rib injury.
Davis landed a body shot to Garcia’s right side that sent Garcia to one knee in the seventh round. Garcia couldn’t answer referee Thomas Taylor’s count and lost by knockout with 1:44 to go in the seventh round April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Showtime’s microphones picked up Garcia telling former trainer Joe Goossen that Davis hit him in the same area where Garcia suffered a sparring injury two weeks before he faced Davis. Junior welterweight Tsendbaatar Erdenbat revealed on social media after Davis defeated Garcia that the two-time Olympian from Mongolia hurt Garcia with a left hand to the body during a sparring session.
Garcia confirmed to Showtime’s Brian Custer during the most recent episode of his “The Last Stand” podcast that his rib injury sent him to the hospital and limited him in training before he battled Davis in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
“I did go in the ring with a rib injury, a separated rib from sparring,” Garcia told Custer. “I was dehydrated and it was like one of the first shots of sparring. I didn’t even get hit hard. My rib just [sunk] in and I had to go to the hospital, spent there some time, and I couldn’t even run. I couldn’t do anything. It was about two weeks before the fight. There was nothing that I could do. I decided that I wasn’t gonna pull out. Too much time [had] been put into this and too much things went into making this fight happen. I wasn’t gonna pull out.”
The 25-year-old Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs), who will oppose Oscar Duarte on Saturday night in Houston, also attributed his weakened physical condition on fight night to the rehydration clause in his contract that prohibited him from weighing more than 146 pounds at a second-day weigh-in the morning of their fight. Garcia weighed 144.9 pounds the morning of April 22, slightly more than Davis, who came in at 144.1.
Garcia agreed to a catch weight of 136 pounds as well, which he believes gave Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) a significant advantage over him.
“On top of [the rib injury], I had to cut the weight, so I had everything stacked against me,” Garcia said. “But it wasn’t – I made this not about me. I made it about the sport. And people are gonna say, you know, bad things about that, but for me, I always loved the sport with all my heart. And I was bored of the sport. Don’t get me wrong, the sport was boring. Nobody was fighting each other. It was trash. There was no energy, and then I brought the energy back to life in one night. In Vegas, it finally felt like boxing was back on fire for a day, for a night, finally. Finally, we get to feel that excitement before that bell rings once again, like a Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya fight or a Mayweather-Pacquiao. That excitement, and that’s what I always wanted to bring to the sport. And I seen that was my opportunity, and I still went with it. So, again, that’s why nobody could tell me who I am, and nobody – they could bash me all they want. They wouldn’t have done that.
“And you see now in people, you know, negotiating for fights, when they bring up rehydration clause, nobody wants to do it, because they know really what it is. And if you don’t know boxing, then you don’t know actually what I did. Not only did I have to cut all that weight, and I been at 135, 132 since I was 17 years old. You know, and I’m not a small guy, so people that know boxing know the risk I took. You know, I put my health in danger. I put a lotta things in danger, but I trusted that it’s gonna better off the sport and I’m gonna be OK because, you know, things are gonna work out and I made a bunch of money. I did good there. I provided life-changing money for my family. I can’t be mad about that. But now, it’s a whole different goal. I got that out of the way. I’m a superstar. I made a bunch of money. What’s next? I wanna be one of the best in the sport. I wanna be the best in the sport and get a title. So, that’s my main goal.”
Garcia’s comeback from his first defeat will begin against the hard-hitting Duarte. The Victorville, California native is listed by most sportsbooks as at least a 4-1 favorite to defeat Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) in part because the Mexican veteran is a lightweight who moved up to the junior welterweight division for this fight and because Garcia represents a steep step up in competition for him.
DAZN will stream their 12-round fight as a main event from Toyota Center, the home arena of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. The streaming service’s undercard coverage is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.