By Jake Donovan
All in the same breath, Ryan Garcia noted his plans to grow under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso while also insisting he’s already championship material.
In fairness, the adrenaline rush from his win on Saturday—a two-round wipeout of Puerto Rico’s Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez, which streamed live on DAZN in front of a sold-out crowd at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. —comes on the heels of the birth of his daughter, in addition to his rise to fame at just 20 years of age.
Just don’t expect him to tone it down anytime soon.
“My improvements are going to get better and better; my competition is going to get better and better and I will be ready for it,” Garcia (18-0, 16KOs) guaranteed after his latest victory. “I need to (raise) the competition. As I’m getting better, the competition needs to get better.”
Garcia’s opposition level has steadily increased following his first full year in the pro ranks. Still, it wasn’t until he struggled in a 10-round win over Carlos Morales when he realized that changes were needed in order to further advance his career.
It led to his enlisting the services of Eddy and Chepo Reynoso, best known for their work with reigning World middleweight king and renowned superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Garcia’s first fight under their guidance came on the undercard of Alvarez’s debut at Madison Square Garden last December, with both fighters scoring knockout wins.
Hours before Alvarez’s 3rd round stoppage of Rocky Fielding to win a secondary super middleweight title, Garcia blasted out Braulio Rodriguez in five rounds. Following his two-round destruction of Lopez, the rising prospect with a massive social media following is already calling for world-class opposition.
“They’re talking about me fighting for a title this year,” Garcia insisted. “Do I think I’m ready for a world title this year? Hell yes!”
Before anyone insists it’s just crazy talk, bear in mind he’s not the only member of his team making such claims.
“There are a lot of fans who want to see him win that world title,” Oscar de la Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions founder and Garcia’s promoter pointed out at the conclusion of Saturday’s show. “Believe me, that moment will come sooner (rather) than later.”
Garcia is clearly banking on the sooner end of the equation. One fighter who has been on his radar is unbeaten super featherweight titlist Gervonta Davis, whose most recent fight Garcia attended this past February in Carson, Calif.
Davis is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, with its namesake Floyd Mayweather teasing the 20-year young Californian through the media with the promise of a big money fight versus another one of his clients. Had Garcia accepted the challenge and prevailed, it was suggested by the former pound-for-pound king and five-division titlist that a Davis fight would well be in his future.
The back and forth was enough for de la Hoya to send a cease and desist letter, advising his longtime rival to stay away from his young charge.
At an age where he’s still smelling himself, Garcia took a much different approach.
“I want to say something to the Mayweather camp—you get your fighters up there, and I will whoop their ass,” Garcia promised. “I won’t be intimidated by Mayweather. I won’t be intimidated by anybody.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox