According to Elliott Worsell, Ryan Garcia impressed in his six-round thrashing of Javier Fortuna, but he must now face one of his opponents.
Ryan Garcia did something all too typical in boxing tonight in Los Angeles, and never more so than in 2022, as well as improving his professional record to 23-0 (19).
Garcia stepped to the microphone shortly after putting the final touches on a sixth-round stoppage victory over Javier Fortuna. He then began to play a game of “And Here’s What You Could Have Won! “for the fans present and those watching at home. In other words, Garcia cynically teased the possibility of larger and better battles after defeating yet another opponent who was nothing near talented enough to share the ring with him, as he has done far too frequently in the past.
This time, he specifically said that he would fight Gervonta Davis, who had recently settled at 135 pounds, by staying at 140 pounds, the weight at which he had fought Fortuna.
“If he says, ‘See you in December,’ let’s get it on,” Garcia said. “I feel like I’m very transparent in the way I talk. I call him out not because I’m thirsty. I call him out because that’s genuinely what I want to do. We’ll figure it out with the team and we’ll make it happen. I know everybody wants this fight to happen and I’ll put in my whole heart to make this fight.”
Garcia currently gets by by accepting fights that few people are calling for but that are ostensibly crucial to his progress.
The greatest test of Garcia’s professional career so far was reportedly his most recent opponent, Fortuna, who is 10 years Garcia’s senior and 33. However, this likely says more about Garcia’s pro career thus far than it does about Fortuna’s potential threat as opponent number 23. Fortuna isn’t bad, but whenever he takes the initiative in class, he frequently fails. The southpaw from the Dominican Republic previously held the WBA super-featherweight crown, but that title victory took place at super-featherweight and happened all the way back in 2015.
There is no doubt that Luke Campbell is still Garcia’s hardest challenge to date based on their individual performances against Garcia. Garcia’s victory in January 2021 did feel like a breakthrough moment because of the way he performed, which displayed both his raw talent and his will to win. It was intended to serve as a springboard for larger and better things, an upward trajectory from that day on (Garcia was dropped, recall, in the second round).
Unfortunately, Garcia has only faced opponents twice since that January 2021 night, both of whom Garcia was widely favored to defeat, and this is through no genuine fault of his own (although a continuing global epidemic and his own mental health problems didn’t help). Not terrible fights, not bad opponents, to reiterate. However, if Garcia is constantly being compared to other, much more intriguing opponents, seeing him play around with inferior opponents could start to irritate you.
For instance, tonight, Javier Fortuna only managed to land 14 punches in the first three rounds due to Garcia’s superior quickness, both with his hands and feet. When Garcia delivered a left hook to the body to finish him off in the fourth, it was evident that Fortuna didn’t just lack the speed to match Garcia’s, but also his height and strength.
To his credit, he stood up at the count of eight, barely, and spat out his gum shield to buy himself some extra time, but Fortuna’s expression as he sat back down did not betray a guy who was eager to face Ryan Garcia’s “toughest test.”
In reality, he now had the appearance of a guy in survival mode in addition to seeming a little soft and sluggish at the weight. He avoided danger, keeping both hands by his sides, and only gave the appearance that he was interested in assaulting, generally when he was out of reach.
Garcia, though, was all work and no play. When Fortuna moved, he followed, and during Fortuna’s period of posturing, he maintained his composure. Despite his movements, Fortuna was unable to avoid his hard and rapid jab. What made matters worse for him was that Garcia would utilize being pinned on the ropes as an opening to unleash a barrage of cutting left hooks and slicing right crosses that connected to both head and body.
Garcia never shied away from a deal, and much of his success came from baiting Fortuna in front of him. This was never more evident than in the fifth round, when Garcia, who had backed Fortuna up, began exchanging blows with him and relied on his quicker hands to land the first blow with a nasty hook. Fortuna was knocked out of the fight for the second time by the perfectly timed shot.
This time, he stood up more quickly. But instead of indicating that he was less hurt than before, this was the complete reverse. In fact, the quickness with which he this time rose would show just how injured Fortuna had been by the left hook he had consumed. He made the decision to stand up out of instinct, without giving it any thought.
Fortuna bravely gave it one last shot in the fifth, even startling Garcia with a hook from the southpaw stance, but Garcia, as assured as he was swift, wouldn’t relent and kept numbing Fortuna with ramrod right crosses thrown like jabs.
In the sixth round, this specific blow broke through Fortuna’s defense and was quickly followed by a hook; the result was enough to send Fortuna to the ground a third time. On this time, Fortuna, 37-4-1 (26), continued to be on his knees for the entirety of the referee’s count despite having his gum shield again spat out.
Overall, Garcia’s victory was impressive on paper and in practice, and it netted him an estimated $2 million. It was a learning fight for Garcia and Garcia only since anyone who witnessed the Californian’s annihilation of Fortuna tonight would not have learned anything new about Garcia.
The interesting fights are still happening elsewhere. These are the conflicts Garcia brings up in order to trend on social media but hasn’t actually committed to taking. He has expressed interest in fighting Teofimo Lopez if Davis declines, as well as opponents like Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, and even Teofimo Davis. Although they are regarded as step-ups, a 23-year-old with 23 professional fights under his belt can undoubtedly handle them.
Without a doubt, this is not the 23-year-old Fernando Vargas who challenged Félix “Tito” Trinidad to a fight in December 2000. Not at all. Instead, if Garcia were to face Davis, Haney, or Lopez in the future, he would be up against a fighter who has roughly the same amount of experience as him and is virtually as unproven. Because, let’s face it, everyone of these young men is basically an unproven prospect whose ascent to “champion” or “superstar” status has been made possible by both the abundance of “world championships” on offer and the development of social media. They are superstars because they claim to be, not because of anything they have accomplished in the ring thus far.
Lopez’s dethronement of Vasyl Lomachenko was significant, of course, and Haney’s dethronement of Lopez’s opponent George Kambosos was significant as a result. However, none of these men should be mistaken for pound-for-pound superstars or even long-reigning world champions. They are, for the most part, gifted young fighters whose victories have, whether notable or not, been ephemeral and brief, and rarely justify the regard in which they hold themselves.
The concern with this current crop of lightweights and super-lightweights seems to be more akin to a dread of quiet, or good old irrelevance, as opposed to prior generations, when the contender’s worry had everything to do with getting hurt or exposed by an experienced champion. After all, as long as they stay away from one another, they may brag about how wonderful they are to you and their social media fans. And that’s preferable to the risk necessary to demonstrate excellence in the ring today, when words frequently speak louder than actions.