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‘Fighting Words’ — One Way or Another, Ryan Garcia Will Get What He Deserves

05
Jan

He had style before he had substance, sizzle before he had steak. Ryan Garcia had a lot, even if he’d earned very little of it.

His youthful good looks and social media presence helped bring him millions of followers. He had more people subscribed to his posts than most boxers have tuning into their matches. 

There was coverage pushing him as a future star, even while he was still only a prospect. There were interviews in which he called out fighters more accomplished than him. He was both audacious and obnoxious. There was hype, so much hype, the kind of thing that bothers some boxing fans who believe in the sanctity of the sport, that marketability should be a meritocracy, that you should get only what you deserve.

Oh, they wanted him to get what he deserved. Or rather, what they thought he deserved — they felt Ryan Garcia had a punchable face, one that needed to be hit but hadn’t yet been tarnished to their satisfaction.



He needed to show that he was not just a pretty face, not just a social media influencer, not another overhyped sham who would ultimately be exposed, likely sooner rather than later. That’s how they defined Garcia. He still needed to define himself as what he’d long trained to be — as a fighter. 

So if they wanted proof that he belonged — not just on the pages of GQ, Teen Vogue’s Instagram account, or Tiger Beat’s website, but in the rankings of the best 135-pound fighters, in the headlines for what he did rather than what he said, for how he fought rather than how he looked — then that proof would need to come in the ring.

There is plenty still that Garcia needs to prove, that he needs to earn and accomplish. But if there’s one thing that Garcia’s body shot knockout victory over Luke Campbell showed on Saturday, it’s that he truly does belong. He is a legit contender.

That’s a step up from someone who otherwise still could’ve been considered a prospect entering the fight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, even if he treated himself as royalty in the way he entered the arena. “KingRy” was carried on a throne, like Prince Naseem Hamed against Daniel Alicea, Floyd Mayweather against Arturo Gatti, and Tyson Fury against Deontay Wilder. If you’re going to do that for your entrance, you better be prepared to back it up in the ring.

For a moment within those ropes, it seemed as if he was destined to be carried back out of it — involuntarily. Campbell dropped Garcia in Round 2, and suddenly it seemed as if those who’d doubted Garcia were about to be delighted, as if Garcia had stepped up too much and too soon and was about to be taken down a peg.


Campbell represented a significant step up for Garcia, after all. He’d captured a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics and had gone on to a respectable pro career, dropping a close decision to lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares in 2017 and losing more widely on the scorecards in 2019 to Vasiliy Lomachenko, who at the time was the champion of the 135-pound division.

Garcia’s previous two opponents, Romero Duno and Francisco Fonseca, were decent tests at the time for a rising prospect but were otherwise outclassed and overpowered. Garcia knocked Duno out in 98 seconds. He put Fonseca away in 80. These two fights combined for less than one round.

Campbell was always going to be more capable than Duno and Fonseca, always going to be more comfortable even if Garcia had the advantage of formidable hand speed, blinding combinations that further amplify his power. Campbell had battled through tough bouts, dropped both by very good fighters (Lomachenko, Linares) and not-quite-as-good ones (Argenis Mendez, Yvan Mendy), but he’d never been stopped. He was composed, using a high guard to block shots, boxing and setting up opportunities to land well-timed, well-placed leads and counters.

Garcia led the action for much of the fight, coming forward with quick bursts, pushing Campbell a step backward with a right hand halfway into the first round. Campbell was aware of the danger Garcia posed, though he wasn’t intimidated. Garcia was trying to win with his physical gifts. Campbell would need to win with his mental ones. And so the more experienced fighter took advantage of his opponent’s inexperience. 

Garcia had worked for the past two years with Eddy Reynoso, the renowned trainer who has guided Canelo Alvarez from teenage prospect to pound-for-pound superstar. Garcia is also mentored by Canelo himself. They had helped improve Garcia’s offense and defense, yet they hadn’t yet fixed all of his flaws, the things he’d gotten away with against lesser foes but could be his downfall against someone who knew how to capitalize on them.

About 77 seconds into Round 2, Campbell threw a southpaw right jab to Garcia’s body and watched the reaction. Garcia tried a counter left hook, and his right hand dropped away from protecting his chin. Campbell then threw a jab that landed upstairs. Garcia put his own lead hand out, measuring to create distance and swat Campbell’s arm away.
The trap had been set. Next, Campbell feinted with his jab up high, drawing Garcia’s left arm out harmlessly — and taking away the powerful check left hook. Then Campbell jabbed instead toward Garcia’s body. It was a distraction. Garcia looked toward the right jab and saw that Campbell was following up with a left hand. Garcia tried to parry it as if it were a cross. It wasn’t. Garcia’s right had dropped. His chin was wide open. And Campbell had instead looped the left, turning Garcia’s head sideways as it landed, taking away his legs, and putting him on the canvas.

“I have never been dropped in my life,” Garcia said afterward. “I was a little dizzy. I ain’t gonna lie.”

Boxing observers exploded on Twitter, in a scene reminiscent of another second-round flooring, when Adrien Broner was first dropped by Marcos Maidana in late 2013. Part of it is the personalities involved — Broner, for all his talent, had already begun to wear out his welcome. The other element is a visceral response to something so unexpected, to a hyped fighter on the brink of sudden disaster, a knockdown that suggests a meltdown.

Garcia had seemed to some to be full of hot air. Yet he wasn’t about to go down in flames.

He rose quickly from the knockdown. Campbell recognized that Garcia wasn’t badly hurt and respected the threat Garcia still posed. He continued to target Garcia with occasional body shots, as well as crosses and right hooks aimed upstairs around Garcia’s gloves.

Garcia found himself on the canvas for the first time against Campbell. Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy

This was Campbell’s preferred style of fight, and it was the right approach. But it also meant that Garcia quickly regained any confidence that might’ve been in question after the knockdown. Garcia felt fine. He wasn’t left on unsteady legs, trying to fend off heavy blow after heavy blow, panicked and unable to stop the onslaught.

“I was like, ‘You know what, it’s not that bad. What’s the worst this guy can do? Try to come at me? I’ll just box,’” Garcia said. “I wasn’t really too worried.”

Garcia continued to come forward more often than not. He now had more respect for Campbell but didn’t shut down as a result, deciding on the right mix of vigilance and violence. His speed would still help him land his power. There was a five-punch combination near the end of Round 5, not all of it getting past Campbell’s gloves, and another two shots that Campbell picked off. But he was setting up Campbell, making him want to return fire.

“Naturally, I’m a counterpuncher,” Garcia said.

In the waning seconds of the fifth, Garcia stuck his left arm out until it pushed against Campbell’s right glove. Campbell stepped backward and then moved in with a lead left cross. Garcia moved back half a step and turned into a left hook, crashing flush into the side of Campbell’s head. Campbell was shaken. Garcia threw two punches as the bell rang to end the round, and Campbell turned his back away from him and went to the ropes.

The minute between rounds gave Campbell some time to recover. Garcia felt it might not have been enough and began Round 6 by letting loose with more hard shots. When Campbell didn’t wilt, Garcia eased up on the gas and continued to look for openings for his money punch, that left hook, to do more damage.

That, in turn, set up the body shot that ended the fight.

“He was very worried about that hook coming,” Garcia said. “He thought I was going up top, and I just changed directions on it real quick.”

With about 80 seconds left in Round 7, the fighters separated themselves from a clinch and put some distance between each other. Garcia shuffled forward as if he was going to throw a left hook upstairs. Campbell brought his gloves up to protect his head, raising his elbows and revealing his midsection. Garcia turned his hook into Campbell’s liver.

Campbell’s knees buckled. The pain was still too much. 

He took a step back. The pain was still too much. 

His gloves dropped to his sides. The pain was still too much.

He took a knee. The pain was still too much.

He went down on all fours. The pain was still too much.

The referee counted to nine. Only then did Campbell try to rise. The pain was just too much. He was just getting onto one knee when the referee reached 10.

Garcia celebrated as if he’d simultaneously won the lottery, brought the first World Series victory to a city that had suffered for generations, and won both Showcase grand prizes on The Price is Right. But it was an understandably emotional moment. This was a big win, one that was needed, and one that wasn’t guaranteed.

As for the rest of us? We tend to see fight results as one of two extremes. Some will invariably make too much of Garcia’s win over Campbell and proclaim his inevitable greatness. Others will be on the opposite end of the spectrum and give him too little credit.

Garcia knocked out a fighter who’d never been knocked out before, not by Linares, nor by Lomachenko. These aren’t apples to apples comparisons. Styles truly do make fights. The time a match takes place in a fighter’s career matters as well. Yet Campbell was a solid, formidable foe. It took a perfectly-placed shot thrown with the right amount of force to bring him to his knees and keep him there.

Meanwhile, the knockdown Garcia suffered doesn’t mean that he was exposed. Lots of fighters were dropped by opponents of far lesser caliber and went on to have great careers. However, the knockdown did reveal flaws that Garcia, Reynoso and Canelo can continue to work on. Garcia is still just 22, good enough to be considered a contender, good enough to beat other contenders, but otherwise still developing.

Fighters don’t tend to arrive fully-formed on the world scene. They can make it up the ranks, into title fights, and win world titles even while glaring weaknesses remain. Managing and promoting these boxers can be akin to walking a tightrope, especially given the expectations that come with being on TV, being in contention, being a champion.

Garcia won the World Boxing Council’s interim world title with this victory. The sanctioning body also has a “Franchise Champion” in Teofimo Lopez (who is The Ring’s 135-pound champion and who also had the IBF, WBA, and WBO world titles). And then there’s the WBC’s “regular” titleholder, Devin Haney.

Haney was ringside, a regular on DAZN, the same network that aired Garcia vs. Campbell. He wasn’t the first name Garcia mentioned, however. Garcia said he wanted to face Gervonta Davis, an undefeated 130-pounder (and occasional lightweight) who recently recaptured a world title with a highlight-reel uppercut knockout of Leo Santa Cruz. The two fighters have tweeted at and talked about each other for years.

Garcia vs. Haney would be easier to make. Davis is signed with Premier Boxing Champions and fights on Showtime. This may be the rare occasion that business is too good for politics to get in the way. Davis was already an attraction before the Santa Cruz fight, a box office smash in main events held in Atlanta and his hometown of Baltimore. Garcia continues to grow his own fan base.

Taking Garcia into a title fight so soon against such a dangerous opponent would be a tremendous gamble. Golden Boy Promotions has dozens of fighters in its stable, including several titleholders, yet it needs another cash cow in the wake of Canelo suing and then splitting with the company. 

Ryan Garcia shares a moment with Oscar de la Hoya

The relationship between Garcia and Golden Boy has also been contentious at times. He signed a contract extension in 2019 after asserting that he should be paid more. Then, last summer, he said Golden Boy should release him after it offered opponents he thought were too easy and wouldn’t help advance his career.

“If they don’t think I’m the next world champ, if they don’t think I’m the next big fighter in the world, prove it — let me go.” Garcia said in an interview with Mike Coppinger of The Athletic. “Why do you want to hold back somebody who’s not going to be shit? … If you don’t think I’m the real deal because you’re insinuating that I’m not really the real deal and I’m not on that level yet, release me and I’ll prove it to you.”

This is the tightrope that Garcia’s team, including Golden Boy, will continue to walk. 

They’ll have to balance what the fighter wants — the toughest challenges and biggest paydays as soon as possible, contrary to other fighters who spend too much time pondering risk vs. reward — against what they want. That is much of the same. Promoters want to make money, make champions, make stars, though often at a more patient pace. Sometimes this patience pays off. Sometimes they wait too long.

They could try to persuade Garcia to spend the rest of 2021 taking on in-house former titleholders like Jorge Linares and Alberto Machado, or to go outside of the stable and face contenders like George Kambosos Jr. and Masayoshi Nakatani. 

Or they could follow Garcia’s passion and confidence in himself — like Top Rank did in putting Lopez in with Lomachenko — and try to make the fights with Davis or Haney.

If Garcia gets one of those fights, he’ll wind up either backing up his words with a victory or eating them in defeat. Either way, he’ll get what he deserves.

The 10 Count

1 – As we’d hoped, and as we’d expected, 2020 ended with a bang. Before the ball dropped, Kazuto Ioka dropped Kosei Tanaka twice en route to an excellent eighth-round technical knockout victory.

Ioka’s performance was somewhat reminiscent of Juan Manuel Marquez, who on more than one occasion had to weather the storm against a physically imposing opponent before ultimately relying on his timing and technique to set up perfect counters.

Tanaka tried to overwhelm Ioka with hand speed and hard combinations. Ioka remained composed, waiting for the right moments, the right openings. He dropped Tanaka in Round 5, then again in Round 6, and had him wobbled badly enough in Round 8 that the referee jumped in immediately and waved off the fight.

It was beautiful to see the older Ioka (31) teach lessons to the younger Tanaka (25) — and to realize that Japan’s first-ever four-division world titleholder had just kept Tanaka from becoming the second.

2 – Three years ago, HBO spotlighted the junior bantamweight division — also known as the super flyweight division — with its first of three “Superfly” cards, featuring Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s stunning knockout of Roman Gonzalez, Naoya Inoue making his U.S. debut, and Juan Francisco Estrada topping Carlos Cuadras. The next two shows, both in 2018, brought Sor Rungvisai, Estrada and Cuadras back and also featured McWilliams Arroyo, Donnie Nietes and Ioka in lead roles.

Three years later, the 115-pound weight class remains as packed and exciting as it was back then.

Estrada and Gonzalez will have their long-awaited rematch in two months. Sor Rungvisai remains in the top tier. Ioka merits mention in that conversation as well. And the many other names in this deep division mean there are plenty of fights that can and should be made with any combination of the above and/or Jerwin Ancajas, Cuadras, Joshua Franco, Andrew Moloney, Nietes, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., Tanaka, and Khalid Yafai.

Ioka is looking to make some of those fights a reality, according to promoter Tom Loeffler, who spoke with boxing writer Steve Kim shortly after the Tanaka fight.

“They want unification bouts at 115,” Kim tweeted. “Topping their wish list is the winner of Estrada-Chocolatito II. And if not [that fight, then] Jerwin Ancajas.”

Kazuto Ioka (right) takes it to Jeyvier Cintron. Photo by Naoki Fukuda


There are some boxing fans who don’t pay as much attention as they should to these lower weight classes, whether out of some bias against smaller boxers, or just due to the lack of familiarity with weight classes where much of the action takes place overseas.

That’s a shame. We’re in the midst of a remarkable period at 115 and in the nearby weight divisions. This is a global sport in an era when social media and media coverage make it easier to stay informed, and when it’s easier than ever to catch these fights live (or on YouTube shortly afterward).

Let’s hope that these fighters continue to face each other, and that the promoters and networks continue to make those fights possible. 

3 – Boxing suffered another loss from COVID-19 last week with the death of Ricky Sanchez, a trainer who worked voluntarily over the years with hundreds of kids at his Premier Boxing Club in Fort Worth, Texas, according to NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Sanchez was hospitalized for a month before passing away on Dec. 29. He was 56 years old.

“I kind of saw him sort of as a father figure. I think he filled that void for a lot of young men,” said Jesse Prado, who was a teenager when he first worked with Sanchez about 20 years ago, speaking with the television station. “You realize later on in life just how important that is, just to have someone show up. He always showed up.”

4 – “Jarrell Miller Officially Enrolled In Mandated Random Drug Testing Program.” That was the headline last week from a story by Jake Donovan of BoxingScene.com.

Is it better late than never for Miller? Or is this too little too late?

Miller infamously tested positive for banned substances ahead of his fight with Anthony Joshua in 2019, not once, not twice, but three different times. He literally pissed away his opportunity. When Miller was pulled from the fight, Andy Ruiz stepped in on late notice and shocked Joshua to win three heavyweight world titles.

That was bad enough. Then Miller tested positive again last summer ahead of a fight with Jerry Forrest. It, too, was canceled. Miller hasn’t fought since 2018. And according to the article, he won’t be able to return to the ring until January 2022, at the earliest.

That’s if his tests come back clean. A big if, given the way things have gone so far. Miller’s punishment from the Nevada Athletic Commission also required him to enroll with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, or VADA.

It’s a good sign that Miller agreed to sign up with VADA and that he’ll be held accountable. However, he hasn’t seemed to accept responsibility for testing positive, at least not in the multiple interviews he’s given, including this excellent interview by boxing writer Jeremy Herriges. He’s said he unintentionally took banned substances. He’s blamed tainted supplements. Yet he’s the one in charge of what goes into his body — he should’ve been diligent to begin with, and even more exceedingly cautious after the Joshua debacle.

Instead, he’s railing against the money he’s paying to cover the costs of testing, for a situation that is his fault, fulfilling his “Big Baby” nickname.

Miller was refreshing when he entered the heavyweight picture. He was better than his body looked, comfortable and active in the ring despite being 6-foot-4 and approaching (and, in more recent fights, topping) 300 pounds.

Miller will be just 33 years old if he returns a year from now. There will still be opportunities available for him, even if the heavyweight division is moving on without him. These drug tests will be a big deal for him.

It’s not just about what he proves to the Nevada Athletic Commission. It’s not even about what he proves to his fans and detractors. It’s about what he proves to promoters and networks. There’s money to be made by airing and marketing Jarrell Miller. But not if he can’t make it to fight night without a positive test.

 

5 – That Jarrell Miller story, by the way, came out on December 31. The perfect time to make a new year’s resolution that he won’t be able to stick to…

6 – The star of the last sideshow boxing exhibition pay-per-view has a prediction for one of the headliners of the next sideshow boxing exhibition pay-per-view.

“Floyd [Mayweather Jr.] is going to beat his fucking ass,” said Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion and Hall of Fame inductee, while hosting a podcast with Logan Paul, the YouTube personality whose entire boxing career has included a draw in an amateur fight in 2018 and a loss in a pro fight in 2019, both against fellow YouTube personality KSI.

“He might let you hit him a couple of times to make the show look good,” Tyson said.

I don’t mind Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul. It’s an exhibition. It’s an event. Not all spectacles are meant to be spectacular. Know exactly what it is when you’re buying it, and you’ll probably end up enjoying it. If you know you won’t enjoy it, then don’t buy it. Tune it out. Don’t open up any articles. Skip the item number seven in The 10 Count, which is about Adrien Broner. (OK, maybe you should just skip to item number nine.)

It’s understandable if you’re offended as a boxing purist, sad that other active fighters aren’t getting the attention or the paydays, all while a retired fighter and an attention-seeking influencer make millions and millions of dollars.

But we shouldn’t be surprised at the attention this sideshow is getting. This is a world that made being a Kardashian into an industry. And we boxing fans sure do seem to share and comment on a lot of street fight videos on social media in which two (or more) people truly are trying to hurt each other without anyone protecting them from life-changing harm.

Amusingly, one of Logan Paul’s apparent detractors is his younger brother, Jake, last seen on the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones undercard scoring a second-round KO of former NBA player Nate Robinson.

“My brother’s fucked,” Jake, who is 2-0 as a pro, 3-0 if you include his amateur fight against KSI’s brother, told TMZ last week.It’s bad for the sport. I think it’s just for clout. My brother’s a fake fighter. I’m the real fighter.”

This is surely leading to Jake Paul vs. Logan Paul, because this is the world we must live in until Donnie Darko fixes the timeline. Of all the fights we can’t let marinate for too long, this is the most important one…

7 – Déjà Vu, Part 1: Adrien Broner is saying he’s working on changing his life.

“I went from overweight 57 pounds, waking up, not even drinking water first and I take a shot of 1942 [tequila] and start drinking for the rest of the day — to waking up one day and telling myself I’m go change this shit and become what I know I can be, and that is one of the best boxers ever,” Broner wrote on Facebook last week, in a post we’ve edited slightly here for clarity.

“Now I’m months in and liquor-free and over 30 pounds down. I was unhappy and depressed, and now I’m not as happy as I want to be, but I’m working towards my goals and dreams. No matter how hard it may be, I will get there.”

We’ve heard this before, of course.

Here was Broner in 2014: “I learned I need to stay in shape. Before the Maidana fight, it felt like I was unstoppable. I could do anything. I could just go back in the ring and everything would be normal. But after the fight I realized I have to slow down. I can still be me and have fun, but I can’t be beating up my body. I have no more flaws. I put down everything. Now I just have fun, I stay in shape and I keep positive people around.”

Manny Pacquiao (left) vs. Adrien Broner. Photo by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

Photo by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

And here he was in 2015: “I always work hard. Always. It’s just I’m at a point in my career where it’s like you got to do more than just work hard. It’s not just about working hard. It’s about outside the ring also. … It’s really up to me. As long as I’m focused and I’m all about boxing and business, nobody’s going to beat Adrien Broner. I’m the same Adrien Broner, I’m just more mature, more serious about my craft. It’s not a game.”

And then there was this in 2017: “I’ve been living the fast life and I’ve calmed down a lot. … When you try to do it your way and it don’t work, then you got to make the right choices and start following all the right steps … I’m learning from my situations, and now it’s just time to grow up.”

Unfortunately, Broner continued to struggle both inside the ring and outside of it, getting himself into legal trouble, whether it was accusations of sexual assault, of knocking a man out on the Las Vegas Strip, and of driving while under the influence of alcohol, which were just a few of the cases against him. There were ugly rants about gay people, racist tropes about Asian and Black people, and an outburst against respected Showtime announcer Al Bernstein. Meanwhile, he continued to disappoint against Mikey Garcia, Jessie Vargas and Manny Pacquiao.

Broner is only 31 years old, though he’s not the traditional fighter of that age, declining from his best days rather than enjoying his prime years. He’s squandered so much of his career, even as he’s won world titles in four weight classes and earned millions of dollars. Broner could be back on Showtime in February, according to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic.

This could be his last chance. He’s lucky to be getting it. He needs to make the most of it.

8 – A lot of people have rooted against Adrien Broner over the years.

Maybe they were turned off by his shtick and antics, even before his myriad legal troubles. Maybe they thought he was overhyped, that his claim to world titles in four weight classes wasn’t very meaningful given that his best wins had come against the likes of Antonio DeMarco and Paulie Malignaggi.

There were people who not only wanted him to lose, but wanted him to learn a lesson. Some people didn’t just think it was possible that Broner might end up broke; they actively rooted for that to happen.

It’s understandable to be turned off by fighters who aren’t good people — or whose actions at least suggest that. But I continue to hope for Broner to wind up in a better place, for him finally to mature, to get past his demons, to better control his actions and treat himself and others in a better way. 

We can root for people to reform without excusing their past bad acts. We can celebrate the man Bernard Hopkins became without erasing the part of his life that landed him in prison prior to his boxing career. And we can do that by understanding that people are capable of changing.

Adrien Broner has problems. If he’s able to finally leave them behind and live a better, healthier life, then that will be the most important victory he’ll ever earn.

Broner’s story is already a cautionary tale. It doesn’t need a tragic ending.

9 – Déja Vu, Part 2: Amir Khan is calling out Kell Brook. 

How is this still a thing?

“I think it is about time now to put him in his place and shut him up for good,” Khan told the Khaleej Times, a newspaper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Now is the time? Now?

Khan and Brook have been jawing at each other in the press for at least a decade, no exaggeration. The rivalry dates back to the days when Khan was a 140-pound titleholder with one loss on his record while Brook was a welterweight prospect who was on the verge of becoming a contender.

“We used to do a bit together when we were both in the amateurs, and I showed him up every time we got in the ring together,” Brook said in an article that ran 10 years ago today. “Amir’s come on a bit since then, but then so have I. …I feel that I’ve got the power to take him out of there. One clean shot on his chin is all that I need to land.”

Each has since gone from accomplished to afterthought, even if their only losses this past decade came against top-tier opponents. 

Khan lost a close decision to Lamont Peterson and was stopped by Danny Garcia. He moved up to welterweight and picked up a few good wins before jumping up to 155 to face Canelo Alvarez, who knocked Khan out in six. Khan dropped back down to 147 and later challenged Terence Crawford in 2019, losing via bizarre TKO. His last fight was 18 months ago, a win over former featherweight titleholder Billy Dib.

Brook won a welterweight world title in 2014 by defeating Shawn Porter, jumped up two divisions and was beaten up by Gennady Golovkin in 2016, then returned to 147 and lost his belt to Errol Spence in 2017. Brook was stopped by Crawford this past November.

Over these years, they’ve switched back and forth between calling each other out and explaining why they wouldn’t face each other, sometimes changing their tunes in the span of weeks.

Now that they have less going for them, they need each other more than ever before.

 

10 – There isn’t much big-time boxing scheduled for January, but the month got off to a good start on Saturday. DAZN’s show, headlined by Ryan Garcia vs. Luke Campbell, also featured an enjoyable undercard. 

Felix Alvarado defended his junior flyweight title with a 10th-round TKO of DeeJay Kriel. Rene Alvarado (Felix’s twin brother) rose from two early knockdowns in his junior lightweight title defense against Roger Gutierrez, fought back but was dropped one more time in the 12th round. That last knockdown made the difference on the scorecards, which all read 113-112 for Gutierrez.

The show also featured Ryan Garcia’s younger brother, 20-year old Sean, who moved to 6-0 with a four-round points win over Rene Marquez.

All of which is a roundabout way to get to broadcast host Kate Abdo, who interviewed father Henry Garcia during the show.

“You make them pretty. You make them athletic,” Abdo said. “That’s some good sperm you got there, sir.”

It’s a good thing Mr. Garcia didn’t protect himself at all times…

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.

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