In the end, Ryan Garcia got everything he wanted, including the opponent he’d targeted all along for this date.
The unbeaten lightweight prospect couldn’t have enjoyed a happier ending to a tumultuous stretch, one that left him without a fight and nearly without a promoter. A mid-week pow-wow between Garcia and the team and Golden Boy Promotions led to a lucrative long-term contract extension, beginning with a Nov. 2 showdown versus Philippines’ Romero Duno.
The bout will serve as the chief support to Garcia’s training stablemate, World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s challenge of reigning three-time light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, live on DAZN from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I’m excited. The co-main event of the biggest card, pretty much of the year,” California’s Garcia (18-0, 15KOs) stated during a press conference held Wednesday evening at Union Station in Los Angeles. “It’s a big night and I get to fight the guy I want, Romero Duno.
“They all said I was scared. Now I get to show everyone what I’m made of. You got me in the co-feature and (Canelo) to close the show.”
A Garcia-Duno pairing had been floated all summer long, only for Garcia to reject the idea of such a fight taking place as a supporting bout on a Sept. 14 show that didn’t quite carry the same profile. His contention all along was for the fight to either serve as its own headliner or to land on a far more significant card.
It resurfaced just last weekend, when Golden Boy Promotions proposed the contest as an alternative when Garcia’s originally scheduled Sept. 14 foe, Philadelphia’s Avery Sparrow was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a gun charge dating back to this past April. The offer plainly made to the 21-year old prospect was to accept Duno or not fight. The latter occurred, leaving one of boxing’s hottest prospects without a fight since this past March, although all matters were resolved between the two sides.
Now all he has to do is once again silence his critics.
“I will always have to prove myself,” noted Garcia. “They’ve been saying that since my amateur days. My talents are now reaching my work ethic and you will get to see on Nov. 2.
“It’s a big moment for me. It’s a big part of my life. It’s my chance and I won’t let this opportunity slip. Like Eminem said, you only get one shot.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox