By Press Release | December 04, 2023

Warning: This ain’t your typical fight report. If you want the run-of-the-mill recap of a fight you’ve probably seen already, there are several dozen boxing writing drones pumping out that kind of stuff. 

Ryan Garcia and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya both have that "I don't really believe what I'm saying...Is everyone picking up on that? Please help me" look in their eyes when they talk. 

I wouldn’t trust either to even dog sit for me. Ryan, because he’d never stop over to feed my dogs, but he’d swear to high heaven that he did, even as I found them starved to death. Oscar would kill my dogs via accidental poisoning of something left on the floor or they’d be run over on the street after they escaped from a front door he left open during some weirdo party.

That’s just my take on two men who’ve left enough of a breadcrumb trail regarding their particular personality issues to make an educated guess on who they “really” are as men. 

Past-tense Oscar and present-tense Ryan are similar in a lot of ways-- both good-looking Mexican-American fighters with immense talent and marketable charisma, put into positions of success that they really weren’t ready for. 

The big difference between the two, though, is that Oscar, inside the ring and in the gym, had a compulsion to succeed. Because of that drive, he was able to put on the blinders and tune out the noise in his head and the distractions swirling around. 

Garcia, on the other hand, has not been able to do that. He hasn’t HAD to because, unlike Oscar, he was a star before he became a boxing star and, also unlike Oscar, fighting is really not central to his success as a brand. He’s also had the real-life blessing of an apparently decent familial support system that hasn’t mind fucked him into believing that his only path to validation as a human being was through boxing success. 

Ryan Garcia has fought just like one would expect from a young man with options in life and no true psychological urgency to fight. 

He’s lazy and unmotivated in the way any 25-year-old millionaire would be when facing the tortuous discipline needed to succeed as a high-end professional fighter. The Victorville, California native likes the idea of being an elite-level fighter and may truly love the sport, but he’s never really showed himself to have the wherewithal to put all the pieces together and become what his genetics suggest he could be.

You can almost feel the frustration from De La Hoya, the fighter-turned-promoter, as he sees a fireless version of himself in Garcia. And, conversely, you can see Garcia’s resentment from a perceived lack of support from a vexed De La Hoya.

These differences have led to major public beef between the two personalities over the years as well as a standing lawsuit as Garcia attempts to get out of his contract with De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.

In Thursday’s final press conference before Saturday’s bout with Oscar Duarte, Garcia took aim at De La Hoya and Golden Boy executive Bernard Hopkins, who both (in)famously no-showed Garcia’s post-fight press conference following his high-profile loss to Gervonta “Tank” Davis in April,  for dismissive comments made about him and his future. 

Hopkins would kick off the presser with a not-so-indirect shot at his company’s star fighter that set the contentious tone for the afternoon. 

“I put 28 years in this business of boxing, in the ring...I believe I've got some credibility,” the former two-division world champ told media. “One thing about boxing, and I close with this [turning to look directly at Garcia], it will call your bluff.”

A seething Garcia took the podium moments later and laid into his promoters in a much-quoted counter, with a visibly uncomfortable De La Hoya standing right behind him. 

"One thing that's been on my heart is the statements that Bernard made where he'll decide if I'm going to finish or if I should continue boxing after this fight," Garcia said. "He don't decide that. My coach does, my team does. Everybody that grinds with me, day in and day out, that's who decides.

"Nobody was telling him when to stop boxing. He stopped boxing at what, 45 [actually, 51] so kudos to him...Another thing I want to touch on is Oscar saying that we misinterpret what they say. It's plain English. I didn't hear anybody speaking any language I don't know...

"[Hopkins] also said that he calls out all the bullshit, the lies. The last time I checked, he said he'd never lose to a white boy, and then Joe Smith Jr. knocked him out of the ring. The last time I checked, Joe Smith Jr. was white. So, they be lying."

De La Hoya would slam his fighter to reporters after the press conference.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all, because he has a child’s mentality,” the Golden Boy founder said, responding to the question of whether he was surprised at Garcia’s statements. “What happens when you take a child’s toy away? They start to cry.” 

He’d also hit back at Garcia in a since-deleted Tweet.

“I have to say that I'm really concerned about Ryan Garcia's state of mind,” De La Hoya wrote. “Considering his history of mental instability (which he's documented himself) his current erratic behavior shows he's clearly not focused on Saturdays fight. You won't take my calls, Ryan I hope you're OK.”

Heading into Saturday’s fight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Ryan vs. De La Hoya/Hopkins was a bigger story than Ryan vs. Duarte.

In his first ring appearance since taking a 10-count in the blockbuster clash with Davis in April, Garcia felt his way through nearly eight full rounds before stopping Mexico’s tough, but limited Duarte with seconds left in the eighth. 

“King Ry” fought exactly like who he is. 

It was an uneven effort from the young boxer/influencer. A jab-focused approach earned him an early lead on the scorecards, but a shift towards an awkward Mayweather-esque shoulder roll style allowed Duarte back into the fight. Ultimately, new trainer Derrick James’ suggestion to ditch the Mayweather routine and get back to using his feet opened up the opportunity to close the show with a big left hand that dazed and dropped Duarte. The Chihuahua native, who had blasted Garcia for quitting against Davis, did the whole “I’m up at the 10.01 count, I want to continue” face-save routine just as referee James Green was waving off the fight. 

Garcia showed his true self throughout fight week and up through the end of his catchweight 143 lb. contest. Perhaps lacking in mental maturity and discipline, his raw ability is enough to get him past all but the most elite fighters in his weight range. He remains the rarest of all stars in the niche sport of boxing-- one with the promise of true mainstream crossover appeal. But until/unless some sort of workman epiphany hits him, he’ll continue to be perpetually on the precipice of a spectacular fall.

De La Hoya, who also showed his true troubled self all throughout fight week, continues to be tasked with a balancing act well beyond his own level of maturity. He has to find a way to hold on to Garcia, making big events and beefing up a Golden Boy stable in need of star power, while, somehow, keeping his flawed and exceedingly vulnerable top earner matched impeccably.  

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