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Making the Rounds: Ryan Garcia delaying golden opportunity; Taylor readies for Persoon rematch

·Combat columnist
·5 min read
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A weekly look at boxing's hottest topics.
A weekly look at boxing's hottest topics.

Ryan Garcia has become one of the most popular young fighters in boxing. Though he’s 20-0 with 17 KOs and may wind up fighting Luke Campbell for the top spot in the WBC lightweight rankings, he’s still most well-known for his vast social media following.

Garcia has 6.7 million followers on Instagram and 420,000 on Twitter, which gives him a certain clout in the business.

He’s using that clout now by holding out and demanding that Golden Boy Promotions pay him more than his contracted minimum. He’s had an up-and-down relationship with Golden Boy, particularly with CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

Golden Boy has been offering him his contractual minimums to fight since there are no fans attending, and Garcia has balked at that.

Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins is a partner with Golden Boy, but when he was active as a fighter he battled with his promoters much the same way Garcia is doing now.

Yahoo Sports asked Hopkins if he believes Garcia is doing the right thing for his career by holding out.

“I feel like what Ryan has done, and what he’s saying, and what he means and what he believes, I am a supporter of that,” Hopkins said. “I am a supporter of any fighter, whether they’re with Golden Boy or not, who is legitimately standing up for what they believe they are not only worth.”

But that comment comes with an asterisk. With most of boxing’s best fighters sidelined because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hopkins believes the 21-year-old Garcia is missing an opportunity to gain valuable experience that will only benefit him in the future.

Ryan Garcia hits Romero Duno in a lightweight boxing bout Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ryan Garcia hits Romero Duno in a lightweight boxing bout Nov. 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Garcia could use the time in the ring to get a leg up on a very deep and crowded lightweight field when things eventually return to normal.

“This ain’t your fault or my fault or Ryan’s fault or Golden Boy’s fault, or any other promoter or any other fighter’s [fault],” Hopkins said of the pandemic. “We’re not the only company that is letting fighters know that we have to adjust not having an audience and if you don’t have them locked in contractually, sponsors and other revenues and other resources. … No one knew this was coming. No one planned for this.

“… Ryan Garcia hasn’t blown his opportunity. I think he delayed what could have been his night, what could have been his glorified sparring session based on where we’re at in the world with sports and also in life.”

Garcia has been sharing my clips of himself training and hitting the bag while the holdout goes on. Hopkins said because he wouldn’t have faced a high-end opponent, he’s essentially put out the work on social media for free when he could have been paid to take the fight.

Given that there are also stars and potential stars in the division like Vasiliy Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, Felix Verdejo and others, there is a lot of competition for the attention of the fans.

But Garcia is banking on his ability to appeal directly to the fans through his social media channels to help him in this disagreement.

He’s one of the few fighters in the sport who has name and face recognition and can put people in the seats. But Hopkins is right when he says the experience would do him good.

Here’s hoping for a satisfactory resolution for both sides before much longer.

Taylor preparing for Persoon rematch

Katie Taylor defeated Delfine Persoon on June 1, 2019, at Madison Square Garden for all four major sanctioning body belts by majority decision in one of the year’s finest fights.

After an attempt to pit Taylor against the talented Amanda Serrano fell through, promoter Eddie Hearn announced a rematch between Taylor and Persoon that will be held Aug. 20 in the U.K. and streamed in the U.S. on DAZN.

“With Amanda Serrano not taking the fight I wanted the biggest fight possible in August and I think a second Persoon fight is one that everyone wants to see,” said Taylor, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist. “I've been looking forward to a rematch ever since the first fight and I'm delighted it's been made. It was definitely very close the first time around, but I felt I deserved the win and I intend to leave no doubts in the rematch.”

Top Rank has three shows in August

Tuesday’s card in the bubble at the MGM Grand Conference Center is the last of the Summer Series fights for “Top Rank on ESPN” for several weeks.

The series will resume on Aug. 15 with a doubleheader featuring Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan in separate bouts. Then, it will be back to the bubble in Las Vegas for shows on Aug. 22 and Aug. 29.

Joe Smith and Eleider Alvarez will headline the show on Aug. 22, while Jose Ramirez and Victor Postol will meet for the WBC/WBO super lightweight titles Aug. 29.

He said it

“Canelo’s an amazing fighter. He’s the best. He’s the pound-for-pound champ. He hits like a mule. I don’t know, Chris, you’re throwing me in the fire here. But that’s a challenge that, you know, I never back down from anybody. But we’ll have to wait and see.” — Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya, asked by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated on his podcast if he’d fight Canelo Alvarez.

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