Confidence has brought Ryan Garcia a long way. It’s also been his downfall.
For most of his career, the 25-year-old hasn’t been pushed to his limits. Even against Luke Campbell in 2021, Garcia peeled himself up off the canvas and went on to stop his man in the seventh.
His self-belief led to a braggadocious attitude towards Gervonta Davis. With Garcia begging and pleading with his handlers to let them fight, he was introduced to the elite level, something he wasn’t quite ready for.
Following his seventh-round KO loss, Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) needed to regroup. He canned his now former trainer, Joe Goossen, and partnered up with Derrick James. The two are still getting to know one another. So, naturally, a relatively soft touch for his comeback fight would make the most sense. However, Oscar De La Hoya, his current promoter, is going in another direction.
On December 2nd, Garcia will officially return to the ring to take on Oscar Duarte. The 27-year-old is the sort of fighter De La Hoya believes Garcia needs. He isn’t exactly a title contender at 140 pounds, but according to the Hall of Fame former champion, he’s tough, rugged, durable, and hits hard as hell.
“He’s a beast,” admitted De La Hoya to FightHype.com. “It’s a tough fight for Ryan coming off a knockout loss to Tank.”
Matching up Garcia with Duarte, in the opinion of some, isn’t showing discernment. Since losing a split decision to Adrian Estrella, Duarte has stopped 11 opponents in a row, including two this year.
To a certain extent, throwing Garcia in the fire with a hard hitter like Duarte wasn’t entirely De La Hoya’s decision. More than anything, the longtime promoter believes that if Garcia wanted, he could have opted to take on an opponent with little to no chance. That would have given him the opportunity to shine and raise his stock. With that said, De La Hoya revealed that it was Garcia who wanted no part in your typical run-of-the-mill tune-up for his return.
“Fighters don’t necessarily have to take tough fights after a knockout loss but Ryan wants to prove that he has what it takes against a tough guy like Duarte.”