Ryan Garcia is demanding that his return to the ring be against Isaac Cruz, the lightweight contender who gave Gervonta Davis all the Balitmore-bred boxer could handle in their December Showtime pay per view fight.
“Come [on] Isaac Cruz,” Garcia wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “You said I have a glass chin, that all I focus is on Instagram. You’ll find out what I’m made of once you sign that contract. Tired of reading your interviews when you have a contract waiting for you.”
On December 31, Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) tweeted at Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) “Happy New Year. Sign the contract” in response to Cruz’s recent comments.
"Ryan hasn't been a fighter that's caused any big danger in the division, he's more focused on making videos and having followers on Instagram. But if he wants to fight, let him come at me,” Cruz told DAZN in late December.
According to Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez, Garcia is nearing a spring return. If it were up to Gomez, Garcia would not be pitted against the 23-year-old Mexican fighter with the moniker of “The Pitbull.”
“[Garcia has] been out for over a year. He actually wants to fight Isaac Cruz,” Gomez told Chris Mannix on the reporter’s most recently published podcast.
Mannix then asked Gomez: “Do you think that's a good idea for a guy with a broken hand to [fight against] a guy [like Cruz] with a head made out of steel?”
Gomez replied: “No … I don't think so. But there’s something that I've also learned that sometimes fighters see something we don't. But for whatever reason, he's just champing at the bit, and he wants to fight that guy. I'd rather do a softer fight. So right now we are going to him and talking to him about potential opponents, but he'll be back in either March or April."
In a Jan. 3 tweet written in Spanish, Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya congratulated Cruz for his fight against Davis and said they were ready to make a great offer.
Garcia remains adamant on challenging himself against Cruz, a fighter Davis struggled to stop – albeit with a hand he admitted was injured after the fight.
“I’m feeling so sharp and strong, actually faster than I was before,” said Garcia. “It’s kinda crazy – can’t wait! Kinda feels like I was in the hyperbolic chamber from Dragon Ball Z.
“[I’m] putting my head down and getting the job done in 2022. I’m ready to push forward. Silence the noise and be who I am. 25-0 that’s the goal. The first step – get Isaac Cruz to fight and to stop wasting time. Coming from a guy that says he’ll fight me in my patio, he sure takes long.”
The 23-year-old Garcia had an uneven 2021. After starting the year with a resounding body shot knockout against 2016 Olympics gold medalist Luke Campbell, Garcia pulled out of an announced fight against Javier Fortuna citing mental health issues. Before that, after pounding the table for a Davis fight, he instead switched gears and his attention on an exhibition against Manny Pacquiao that never came to fruition. After inching closer to a potential showdown with Joseph Diaz, Garcia suffered a right wrist injury that resulted in surgery in October.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com