Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Ryan Garcia vs. Romero Duno finally set for Alvarez-Kovalev co-main event

Romero Duno and Ryan Garcia will finally fight in a meeting of top Golden Boy lightweight prospects. Photo by Mike Quidilla/Sanman Promotions

Ryan Garcia will be facing Romero Duno after all, and it won’t be on 24 hours notice.

The fight was announced for the Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev card on November 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The lightweight fight will be the co-main event to the card, which will be broadcast by DAZN. Garcia made the announcement on Instagram in a post about him signing a multi-year extension with Golden Boy Promotions, and was later confirmed by Duno’s co-promoter Jim Claude Manangquil and Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz.

“It’s a fight that was bound to happen. It’s a fight that both guys wanted, and it was a fight that was easy to make,” said Diaz.

“You’ve got speed, you’ve got skill, you’ve got power, you’ve got hunger, you got it all. And most of all you’ve got two young fighters that think they can beat each other.”

It was a 180 degree turnaround for Garcia (18-0, 15 knockouts) and Golden Boy Promotions, who appeared to be at odds after Garcia’s fight with Avery Sparrow scheduled for Sept. 14 was shockingly canceled at the weigh-in due to Sparrow being arrested by U.S. marshalls. Garcia and Golden Boy CEO Oscar de la Hoya traded words in the press, with de la Hoya questioning whether Garcia had the potential to be a world champion in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, and Garcia daring Golden Boy to release him from his contract on Twitter.

All of that seems to be ancient history after Golden Boy announced on Wednesday that they renewed their deal with Garcia in what was described in a press release as “one of the most lucrative deals in history for a boxing prospect.”

Actions speak louder than words,” said Garcia in the release.

“Besides his amazing talent, he brings an outside appeal that few fighters can achieve. At the same time, he also needs the right environment to develop, and that environment is with us,” added de la Hoya.

Manangquil said he always believed the fight would happen after Garcia’s trainer Eddy Reynoso came to Duno’s dressing room after his win over Juan Antonio Rodriguez in May and said he wanted Duno next for Garcia. The two sides engaged in talks to fight each other on the Sept. date but it didn’t materialize until now.

When Sparrow was arrested, both Duno and Garcia were asked about fighting each other instead the following day. Duno’s team said they accepted within minutes, but Garcia declined, saying he wanted a bigger purse for that level of fight.

Duno (21-1, 16 KOs) went on to stop Ivan Delgado after the seventh round at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., and proceeded to put on a shirt that implored Garcia to “stop running” afterwards.

“I know this is the best fight for us and the best fight for Ryan Garcia to test him where he’s at,” said Manangquil, who is pleased that Duno has benefited from the buzz that the social media savvy Garcia has brought to Duno’s name recognition. “Duno’s been facing good opponents but not elite fighters, and whoever wins this steps up.”

Duno arrived at home in General Santos City, Philippines on Wednesday and will spend a week at home with his two month old daughter before returning to Los Angeles for another training camp with coach Rodel Mayol.

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected]