Ryan Garcia’s ceiling outside of the ring is arguably as high as the one inside of it.
SportsPro has released its rankings for “The World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes” and the 22-year-old undefeated rising star Garcia tops the list for the sport of boxing, coming in at No. 12 overall.
Powered by Nielsen’s athlete marketability assessment methodology, Garcia bested the likes of fellow pugilists Anthony Joshua, who came in at No. 31, and Tyson Fury, who came in at No. 32. The trio were the only boxers on the list.
According to the findings, Garcia had an Athlete Influencer Score of 97. He scored the following figures in the sub-categories: Reach 26, Relevance 17, Resonance 29, Return 24.
Joshua had an Athlete Influencer Score of 76, and Fury was at 75.
Much ink has been spilled on Garcia’s reach amongst the Gen Z demographic and his consistently-growing, 7.3 million Instagram following. Garcia is well aware of the value he brings to the sport amongst digital natives, and he’s clashed with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and DAZN over the last 18 months calling for better compensation to reflect his reach.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) has not even won a world title yet, but he’s already a heavyweight kingpin when it comes to brands. He’s walked the runway for Tommy Hilfiger, modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch’s ad campaign and fragrance and he’s served as one of GymShark’s biggest influencers. Garcia has also crossed over to the mainstream, receiving photo spreads in GQ Magazine and Interview Magazine and also landed sponsored content deals for the likes of Bud Light.
The top five most marketable athletes in the world were, in order: Lionel Messi (soccer), Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer), Lebron James (basketball), Virat Kohli (cricket) and Bianca Andreescu (tennis).
Undefeated UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was the highest-rated combat sports fighter at No. 7, and fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal also made the list at No. 24.
Two of boxing’s highest-earning athletes according to Forbes in Garcia stablemate Canelo Alvarez and former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder were glaring omissions from the list when it came to the sweet science.
Here is the criteria they used, as described on their site: “Designed to accurately monitor social campaign effectiveness, the framework incorporates a range of performance and sponsorship-related KPIs, such as social following, content engagement, fanbase growth over time, media value, and the performance of branded versus organic content. For this list, the Instagram accounts for over 6,000 athletes from 21 sports were tracked over the last 12 months.”
As for Garcia’s next exploits in the ring, he’s set to take a serious step up in competition when he faces 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in a WBC lightweight elimination bout.
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 and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.