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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Ryan Garcia and the lightweight division) – Boxing Sports

RYAN GARCIA COMES OF AGE

Hello Dougster Master!

I was surprised by young Ryan’s grand entrance to the ring. I was like: Really??? You kidding me? The kid has accomplished nothing just yet!

Then the fight begun. And finished. Let me share with you a couple of feelings. I’ll keep it short.

–    I thought Garcia was in danger to impersonate Amir Khan’s career when I saw his ass sweeping the canvas for the first time.

–   I was satisfied to see the kid’s reaction to the hard reality: the walks in the park are forever over, boy. He adjusted his game plan, kept going using his skill set, and showed true champion’s grit. He didn’t panic and didn’t overreact. Kudos to Reynoso, by the way. What a great trainer the dude has become.

–    The boy really trusts his power. And REALLY has self-confidence, and – I’m calculating the next statement – is NOT as arrogant as it may seem. I absolutely loved how he took being dropped for the first time in his career as a learning experience and showed some respect to his rival. He was very light-hearted about the knockdown. The guy knows how to entertain as much as he knows how to box.

I liked a lot what I saw. Boxing can definitely use a couple of players like Ryan Garcia to attract more casual fans to the game. I can’t wait to see him share the ring with the beasts of his division. – Carlos Navarro Sugich from Hermosillo, Mexico

Garcia is on his way. He’s got the talent and, obviously, the charisma, but he’s gradually adding layers to his game (as he grows into his “man strength”) under Eddy Reynoso’s instruction; and now he’s finally got the scalp of a legit lightweight contender on his resume. Beating Luke Campbell makes him Devin Haney’s WBC mandatory challenger, but also “one-ups” his amateur rival, who has yet defeat a Ring-rated lightweight. The dramatic and emphatic victory also adds real substance to a potential showdown with Gervonta Davis, which could be built into a major event. So, yeah, boxing wins with Garcia’s showing on Saturday because a 22-year-old attraction lived up to his hype and appears to want to challenge himself further. His future and the future of the lightweight division seem very bright right now.

Amir Khan faced some of the best fighters of the 140- and 147-pound divisions, such as Devon Alexander.

I thought Garcia was in danger to impersonate Amir Khan’s career when I saw his ass sweeping the canvas for the first time. Hey, come on, Carlos. The young man has a long way to go to emulating Khan’s career. Fans dump on Amir all the time, but the British-Pakastani speed demon accomplished everything a boxer could hope to achieve in boxing. He’s an Olympic medalist (won silver in the 2004 games as a teenager), a former unified 140-pound world titleholder, he headlined major events in the UK and the U.S., fought the best fighters of his era and made A LOT of money. Khan is set for life, bro. And if he never fights again, he can be proud of his career. He should be anyway. He shared the ring with two Mexican hall of famers, faced 10 Ring-rated fighters (six of which were junior welterweights in world title bouts from 2009-2012). He beat Marcos Maidana in a Fight of the Year candidate, stopped Zab Judah, and dominated top boxers like Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo, Paul Malignaggi and Andriy Kotelnik. If Ryan can have a run like that, he’ll be a freakin’ superstar.

I was satisfied to see the kid’s reaction to the hard reality: the walks in the park are forever over, boy. That the truth if he faces the best of the 135-pound division. But that’s OK. He showed poise and determination vs. Campbell. Garcia’s got character.

Kudos to Reynoso, by the way. What a great trainer the dude has become. Eddy is arguably one of the five best trainers in the game. He’s got more work to do with Garcia, but they’ve got time. Look how much Canelo has evolved since he was 22. If Garcia can add some of Canelo’s head-and-upper body movement and improve his footwork, he’ll give his peers hell.

The boy really trusts his power. He does, and that’s the mark of true puncher, which is good because punchers create the brand of excitement that attract casual fans. But he can’t rely on it. He’s got to develop into a boxer-puncher if he wants to evolve into an elite fighter like Ring champ Teofimo Lopez.

And REALLY has self-confidence, and – I’m calculating the next statement – is NOT as arrogant as it may seem. Ryan has always seemed down to earth when I’ve been around him in person, but time will tell if he remains that way as his celebrity soars and crosses over.

I absolutely loved how he took being dropped for the first time in his career as a learning experience and showed some respect to his rival. He was very light-hearted about the knockdown. It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Felix Trinidad was dropped like that all the time (often in the second round), he always got up and whupped ass, and the knockdowns never hurt his popularity. He’s in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, as is one of my all-time favorite “vulnerable” boxer-punchers, Terry Norris.

The guy knows how to entertain as much as he knows how to box. That’s what it’s all about.

 

STILL NOT SOLD ON GARCIA

Hi Dougie,

I’ve been a fan of the mailbag for a long time but haven’t wrote to you in a while.  I watched the Ryan Garcia fight and I applaud him for a nice come from behind victory but feel like everything I read is just flat out overboard.

I’m reading that he’s elite, he’s no longer a social media star and that he’s arrived to fight the likes of Haney and Davis. Just my two cents, but I don’t see it. He has power, but he’s flat footed, his defense is mediocre at best and his offense is inconsistent. He relies on his power way too much. I get that he wants to be like his hero Canelo, but he will never be like him.

He’s pushing De La Hoya to make these next level fights, but if he was smart he’d follow the Floyd Mayweather blueprint. Wait on these fights for as long as possible and make money.

I get he wants to be great, but I personally think Davis crushes him and Haney wins an easy decision. Lomachenko would outbox him and Teofimo would break him down. What are your thoughts? – Michael

Would Tank Davis be able to blast Ryan Garcia as he did Leo Santa Cruz? Photo from Showtime Boxing/Twitter

If they were to fight in the next six months, I would favor Lopez (probably by knockout) and Lomachenko to beat Garcia, but I think the showdowns with Haney and Davis are even money matchups. Davis has the ability to hurt and potentially stop Garcia, but Ryan’s also got the speed, leverage and power to hurt Tank, who isn’t exactly a defensive wizard. And Garcia seems to have his way with short, aggressive fighters, although it must be pointed out that he’s never faced a fireplug of Davis’ caliber. Haney has the skills and ring savvy to give Garcia problems, but I don’t know if he’s got the power to keep Ryan honest. If Garcia doesn’t respect Haney’s offense, he could walk him down and do damage with faster, heavier hands. Also, I think Garcia’s height and reach could be a factor in the Haney matchup. Juan Carlos Burgos was faded when he faced Haney, and Alfredo Santiago was totally green (and undeserving of fighting for the WBC belt), but while Haney pretty much shut both out on the scorecards, he also appeared to struggle with their height.  

I watched the Ryan Garcia fight and I applaud him for a nice come from behind victory but feel like everything I read is just flat out overboard. Maybe. I’m sure some fans and media have caught King Ry Fever, but you might be guilty of underrating his performance by not acknowledging that he beat an Olympic gold medalist, which ain’t easy to do. Just ask your boys Tank and Haney about what it was like dealing with an old, faded and gimpy Yuriorkis Gamboa. (And, by the way, just because Garcia scored an up-from-the-canvas KO doesn’t mean it was a “come-from-behind” victory… he wasn’t behind on the scorecards at the time of stoppage).

Dougie views Devin Haney as being at the same level as Ryan Garcia. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

I’m reading that he’s elite, he’s no longer a social media star and that he’s arrived to fight the likes of Haney and Davis. Just my two cents, but I don’t see it. Well, I don’t think he’s “elite” – I define elite as being pound-for-pound ranked or worthy – but I think he’s a legit lightweight contender, which is what Haney is. (I view Davis as a top junior lightweight, which doesn’t mean he can’t kick major ass at lightweight, he just hasn’t done so yet.) I’m very high on Haney, but I don’t think he’s accomplished enough to merit being a solid favorite over Garcia or any other top five lightweight. In my view, Haney is just as green as Garcia. He’s got a better foundation and smoother technique, but he’s not necessarily more effective in the ring. They have different styles and strengths. We won’t know who’s abilities and boxing IQs are superior until they share the ring or fight more legit contenders.

He has power, but he’s flat footed, his defense is mediocre at best and his offense is inconsistent. He relies on his power way too much. He definitely needs to learn how to relax more in the ring and not be in such a rush, but he’s 22 years old and he wasn’t an international-level amateur. He’s still learning and growing. And while the Campbell fight was his fifth with Eddy Reynoso, they had less than nine rounds of fight experience together going into his biggest test. The more quality rounds he gets, the more he will evolve. He’ll grow from the six and half rounds he went with Campbell. It takes many years for even the best talents/students to develop into complete fighters.

I get that he wants to be like his hero Canelo, but he will never be like him. Time will tell, but even if reaches 50% of what Canelo is now, he’ll be a monster.

He’s pushing De La Hoya to make these next level fights, but if he was smart he’d follow the Floyd Mayweather blueprint. Ugh. Just what we need, another Mayweather wannabe. And we wonder why retired champs in their 50s and YouTubers are getting more attention than active world-class boxers.

Wait on these fights for as long as possible and make money. Bro, are you a fan or his manager?

 

POWER

Doug –

Does Garcia hit harder than Lopez? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

Who cracks harder? Teo or Ry? Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

It’s hard to say. Both are very quick-handed with great reflexes and counterpunching accuracy, which adds to the impact of their power shots. Both have excellent timing. Lopez appears to have tighter technique. Garcia might be a little faster.

I know this sounds diplomatic, but I’d rate their power equal, Teofimo cracks harder with his right, Ryan smacks harder with his left.

 

‘KING RY’ IS A REAL FIGHTER

Hey Doug,

What a fight we got from Ryan Garcia and Luke Campbell. 2021 has early fight of the year and KO of the year candidates!

When this fight was first announced I was quite sure Luke would take it given all his experience; I figured Ryan was way too green for a guy who gave Linares and Lomanchenko plenty of trouble.  As the fight drew near this week though, I flip-flopped and decided Ryan would probably spark him with a blazing fast ball. As it turns out, we got a bit of both; for much of this fight Luke looked very much the seasoned vet in there, controlling distance, hitting Ryan’s body, and punishing him with counters when the young gun jumped in overzealously. But Ryan showed he’s not just a coddled front runner–he got right up off the canvas and went after Campbell with even more tenacity, showing a badass streak his detractors hoped he wouldn’t possess.

As for the finish, what can you say?  It was picture perfect, and Luke was in a world of pain.  I guess you don’t need to be the most consistent body puncher if you can zap the liver like that with a single shot.

Anyways, it was a great fight, and Ryan showed he’s a real fighter deep down where it counts. If we’re going to nit-pick, he could tuck his chin more and not jump into the pocket with his head straight up so often, but when you’re as fast as he is and use feints the way he does, you can probably get away with it. I think there’s a good chance Lopez or Tank would time him coming in and KO him, but Ryan’s a real KO threat too. I think I would favor Ryan to beat Haney and Shakur though. Ryan wouldn’t be in danger of getting KO’d by them and I think his power, speed, and underrated boxing skills would see him beat those guys.

Whatever happens going forward, he’s going to be fun to watch in the ring! – Jack

How “vulnerable” is Garica?

There’s no doubt about that, especially if he takes on the caliber of fighter that he called out immediately after stopping Campbell. If he doesn’t correct his technical flaws and continue to improve his defense and footwork, he’ll be a vulnerable sharpshooter – and those fighters are always must-see TV. But I think he’s got the talent and brains to continue to develop and improve. And even if he does evolve his skillset, he still might remain “vulnerable” if it turns out that he just doesn’t take a great shot. That’s something that superstars of the past, such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya, had going for them. They had very solid chins. But, hey, there have been more than few decorated champs and star-attractions who were labeled “chinny” at one time during their careers, some of them are in the hall of fame.

When this fight was first announced I was quite sure Luke would take it given all his experience; I figured Ryan was way too green for a guy who gave Linares and Lomanchenko plenty of trouble. I wonder how many fans that shared your early belief actually bet on the Englishman? The value was pretty good for Campbell if you truly felt that he would “expose” Garcia.

As the fight drew near this week though, I flip-flopped and decided Ryan would probably spark him with a blazing fast ball. That’s either a testament to Garcia’s talent or his improvement under Reynoso, or on some level most of us just assumed that Campbell, as solid and experienced as he is, is destined to be a bridesmaid.

As it turns out, we got a bit of both; for much of this fight Luke looked very much the seasoned vet in there, controlling distance, hitting Ryan’s body, and punishing him with counters when the young gun jumped in overzealously. I thought Campbell did everything right except jump on Garcia immediately after the young gun got up from the knockdown and the fight resumed.

But Ryan showed he’s not just a coddled front runner–he got right up off the canvas and went after Campbell with even more tenacity, showing a badass streak his detractors hoped he wouldn’t possess. Garcia got up from that knockdown like prime Felix Trinidad, which is the ultimate compliment on his composure and fighter’s heart. Tito was the most confident hunter-killer I’ve had the honor of covering.

As for the finish, what can you say? It was picture perfect, and Luke was in a world of pain. He might feel that punch this time next year. Body shots are like that.

I guess you don’t need to be the most consistent body puncher if you can zap the liver like that with a single shot. I expected both lightweights to sneak body shots into their arsenal and both did so with expertise, Ryan’s punches were just delivered with more power and meaner intentions.

If we’re going to nit-pick, he could tuck his chin more and not jump into the pocket with his head straight up so often, but when you’re as fast as he is and use feints the way he does, you can probably get away with it. No, he needs to fix that. He got away with it vs. Campbell because the Yorkshire man doesn’t not have world-class power. When he shares the ring with elite fighters possessing “one-hitter-quitter” power, those mistakes/flaws/holes will cost him.

I think there’s a good chance Lopez or Tank would time him coming in and KO him, but Ryan’s a real KO threat too. Indeed. They would do would need to be at their very best to avoid his power volleys.

I think I would favor Ryan to beat Haney and Shakur though. Ryan wouldn’t be in danger of getting KO’d by them and I think his power, speed, and underrated boxing skills would see him beat those guys. Garcia’s got the advantage in size and power vs. those two, but they have speed and athleticism to match his and more complete boxing foundations at this time (especially Shakur). Those matchups would be stern challenges for Garcia.

 

GARCIA-CAMPBELL

Hi Dougie,

Happy New Year mate. Hope you the family and team are keeping safe and well and had a nice break.

It was a good scrap. Just what the Doctor ordered to lift out spirits in these different times.

For me Garcia answered questions. Campbell is the real deal, Olympic gold medalist and been in there with some of the best. Garcia showed maturity and poise from being knocked down early, to staying in control of the fight and finish it in brutal fashion. Big tick in the box from me.

How did you see it? A good test or did he struggle against someone he should have “handled”?

It’s interesting, in the U.K. Amir Khan’s name was trending on Twitter after the fight? A lot of people suggesting that, like Khan, Garcia will win against world class oppression, and look good doing it, but his defence, or lack thereof, will mean he’ll come undone against elite level fighters like Tank. Interesting comparison? Too early to say?

Who would you put him in with next? I know all are shouting Tank from the roof tops but is it too early for that?

At 31 what’s next for Campbell? It’s interesting, he won gold at London 2012, the Olympics as AJ did and already he’s being called a veteran. He’s a decent fighter who has fallen short at the top, no shame in that. Move up to 140? With all due respect the opposition at 140 is not as elite as 135.

MM:

Vladimir Klitschko vs Larry Holmes

Miguel Cotto Vs ODLH

Aflec Batman vs Bale Batman

Keep up the good work and all the best for the new year. – Tabraze, London U.K.

Gotta go with Holmes and De La Hoya by close UD, and the more physical Ben Affleck Batman by come-from-behind late stoppage (but I’d favor the more cerebral Christian Bale Batman by decision in a rematch).

How did you see it? A good test or did he struggle against someone he should have “handled”? I viewed Campbell as a real test and I thought it was an even matchup. I knew Garcia would be dangerous early but I wasn’t sure how he’d fare if Campbell was able to take him into deep waters. So, I think the budding star passed a legit test, and I don’t think he struggled all that that much. Yeah, he was knocked down but he got up immediately and appeared clear-headed. And if he wasn’t clear-headed, he did a good job of hiding the cobwebs or shaky legs and dealing with the adversity. The young man has character.

It’s interesting, in the U.K. Amir Khan’s name was trending on Twitter after the fight? I get it. Khan was a speed demon with pop as you Garcia is now, and the former 140-pound titleholder had a habit of keeping his chin up and over-committing to his offense, which got him dropped and clipped more than a few times. But they’ve got different styles and different trainers, and it’s still early in Garcia’s career. We should wait before categorizing or pigeonholing him.

A lot of people suggesting that, like Khan, Garcia will win against world class oppression, and look good doing it, but his defence, or lack thereof, will mean he’ll come undone against elite level fighters like Tank. Interesting comparison? Honestly, it’s still too early to even say that Garcia can emulate with Khan did. It’s also too early to consider Tank an “elite” fighter.

Too early to say? I think so.

Who would you put him in with next? I’d roll the dice vs. Haney or Javier Fortuna. Maybe Jorge Linares (who I think is more dangerous than Haney or Fortuna in some ways). Those are all risky fights but I don’t think Garcia would be in over his head.

I know all are shouting Tank from the roof tops but is it too early for that? I don’t think it’s too early, but I also know that it will take some time for the business side of that potential matchup to be settle, and let’s face it, it can be a big event and big events take time to promote. I think it’s a bit too early for Davis to be next, but it’s not too early if we’re talking about the end of this year.

At 31 what’s next for Campbell? Good question. Maybe he should go for a rubbermatch with European rival Yvan Mendy for the WBA “gold” belt. If he wins it, perhaps he can get mandatory shots at Rolando Romero (the WBA’s interim beltholder) or even Tank (the “regular” champ).

It’s interesting, he won gold at London 2012, the Olympics as AJ did and already he’s being called a veteran. He is a veteran. Nothing wrong with being a veteran.

He’s a decent fighter who has fallen short at the top, no shame in that. None at all, and he’s still a top-10 lightweight in my opinion.

Move up to 140? I don’t think he’s got the physical strength or power to compete with the best junior welterweights.

With all due respect the opposition at 140 is not as elite as 135. I disagree. I think Josh Taylor is an elite boxer, while Jose Ramirez and Regis Prograis are world-class punishers who would brutalize Campbell and every top lightweight not named Teofimo.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR & THANK YOU

Dear Mr. Fischer,

Before we start the daily routine for 2021 tomorrow again I want to wish you and your beloved all the best for 2021. And I want to send a warm thank you over the ocean and the American continent for your mailbag. As you know I am a dedicated reader and drop in some lines every now and then. But today the only comment I have is about the top quality of your comments. It is always a pleasure to read about your professional insights. But even more to learn about your views upon not only the boxing world. I have to admit that I often try to predict your observations and evaluations because they are so unique and far from all the mainstream blah blah. I hope the boxing world can enjoy your good work in the next and the other upcoming years. Best. – Matthias, Germany

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind and encouraging words and New Year’s well wishes, Matthias. I’ll keep the mailbag going as long as there are boxing fans like you who are reading this column and sending me emails.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Dougie’s Periscope every Sunday.


– Boxing Sports

Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Ryan Garcia and the lightweight division)
https://www.ringtv.com/616089-dougies-monday-mailbag-ryan-garcia-and-the-lightweight-division/ Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Ryan Garcia and the lightweight division)

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