An intriguing lightweight bout between Ryan Garcia and Isaac Cruz for the first quarter of 2021 is apparently off the table, on the assumption it was ever a realistic possibility.

According to Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes the popular Garcia, he sent a “lucrative” offer to Cruz to fight his charge, but it was ultimately rejected by Cruz’s handlers. Cruz is aligned with Premier Boxing Champions and his main handler is Sean Gibbons, but De La Hoya did not specify to whom, among Cruz’s representatives, he offered the deal. 

De La Hoya announced the development on his Twitter account Thursday afternoon.

“It is very unfortunate @IsaacPitbull98 team turned down a very lucrative offer, more than he made with Tank. @RyanGarcia @GoldenBoyBoxing,” De La Hoya wrote.

Moments later, Garcia chimed in with his own response on Twitter.

“Guess [Cruz] was more like a Chihuahua [than] a pitbull,” the 23-year-old Garcia cracked, referring to Cruz’s moniker.  

It did not take longer before a member of Team Cruz entered the fray. Gibbons, a longtime fixture on the boxing scene, responded directly to De La Hoya on Twitter, suggesting that the promoter was lying about the offer.

“Oscar, while I understand your desperation in showing @RyanGarcia you are doing SOMETHING on his behalf in your role as his promoter, do you think putting out a falsehood like this will impress him?” Gibbons tweeted.

Gibbons, who heads Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions and oversees a stable of 20-odd fighters, also took aim at Garcia, stating that his own promoter was lowballing him. 

“Hey @RyanGarcia,” Gibbons wrote. “While @IsaacPitbull98 may have a few concerns in his life, fighting you is not one of them. If you are serious about wanting this fight next, we are prepared to make you an offer with a purse you deserve. Please tell us to whom we should direct that offer.” 

Gibbons clarified what his team could offer in another tweet he fired off at De La Hoya. In essence, Gibbons believes a Garcia-Cruz fight belongs on pay-per-view, a type of service that DAZN, the over-the-top platform that has exclusive ties with Garcia and other De La Hoya-promoted fighters and where a Garcia-Cruz fight would theoretically land, does not currently provide; Cruz, on the other hand, is coming off a PBC/Showtime pay-per-view telecast that saw him lose a decision to Gervonta Davis on Dec. 5 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“We are very Happy to make you a real offer for more then you pay Ryan,” Gibbons raised to De La Hoya. “…Oscar, when you are ready to negotiate in good faith, we are happy to discuss giving this fight the platform it deserves — on pay-per-view — with a legitimate network. Don’t you believe @RyanGarcia is ready to become a pay-per-view[?]”

Only three days earlier, on Jan. 3, De La Hoya had reached out to Cruz directly on Twitter, saying, “congratulations on your fight with Tank Davis…we are ready to make you a great offer.”     

De La Hoya’s comments, however, contradict the statements made by Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez in a recent interview.

“No … I don't think so,” Gomez told Chris Mannix when asked if he felt that Cruz was an ideal opponent for Garcia’s comeback. “…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."

De La Hoya’s latest post caps a month-long speculation that Garcia and Cruz might meet in the ring. A Garcia-Cruz bout started to gain traction in the boxing world after Cruz’s impressive performance against the hard hitting Davis. The Baltimore-born Davis won a unanimous decision in a bout that was competitive from the opening bell; it was only the second time that Davis was taken the distance.

Shortly thereafter, Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), who has been inactive for the past year citing mental health conditions, floated the idea of facing Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) as a “tune-up” bout in his return, reportedly penciled in for the spring of 2022. Garcia was originally scheduled to fight Joseph Diaz Jr. on Nov. 27 but Garcia suffered a hand injury a month before. Thus far, talk of Garcia-Cruz has been mostly one-sided, generated mainly by Garcia and De La Hoya.

Garcia and Cruz have traded a few barbs through the media. In December, Cruz fanned the flames of their discord when he told DAZN that "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.”  

Garcia snapped back on social media, noting that his team had already sent Cruz a bout contract. “Come [on] Isaac Cruz, you said I have 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,” Garcia tweeted.