Ryan Garcia and Javier Fortuna trade hats and threats in heated final presser
A warm embrace and a handshake is how Ryan Garcia chose to express his respect towards Javier Fortuna as they were introduced by Beto Duran on the stage of their final press conference ahead of their Saturday clash at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena.
A few minutes later, however, they were engaging in a heated, face-to-face screaming match, wearing the hats they had kindly exchanged as gifts minutes earlier in backwards fashion, just to make it easier to get on each other’s face.
The bilingual curse fest was the culmination of a short Q&A that hit all the usual topics in a pre-fight presser.
“I am determined to do something amazing, entertain the fans and put a good show,” said Garcia. “He wants to knock me out, so we will go into the ring, throw our punches and see what happens,”
A knockout was promised by Fortuna as well, after the Dominican Republic-born former titlist claimed that he had been wronged by the judges in more than one occasions.
“In my career, I had this happen two times. I don’t want that to happen again. So on Saturday it will be kill or be killed.”
At one point, Garcia complimented Fortuna’s Chicago Bulls hat, which caused his foe to give it to him as a gift in a move that was replicated by Garcia handing him a blue hat in turn.
That’s all it took to trigger a colorful exchange of threats.
“This doesn’t guarantee that on Saturday night I am not going to knock your head off,” quipped Fortuna.
Garcia accepted the challenge with gusto.
“We know what we are here to do, on Saturday I am gonna f—k you up too,” said the young contender.
The rated-R, mostly-Spanglish uncivil conversation that ensued right after the ceremonial face-off gave both fighters their first chance to try to step on each other’s nerves ahead of their high-stakes crossroads bout on Saturday.
They did manage, however, to keep their hats on during the entire confrontation.
Here are a few quotes from other participants in the press conference:
Oscar de la Hoya
This is the coming-out party for Ryan Garcia. And what an opponent he is facing, a two-time world champion.
When Ryan says he’s going to do, I don’t know what the hell he is going to do, but I believe him.
Fortuna is coming up with everything. He has the tools to upset a young Ryan Garcia. I feel it’s sink or swim for both fighters.
As a promoter, I have to get (Ryan) him that fight (against Gervonta Davis). It’s going to be a little difficult because on the other side of the street is Al Haymon, who loves to break up fights. Tank Davis is a great fighter. And when two great fighters want to fight, it has to happen.
Lamont Roach Jr.
I am 200% the man I want a couple of years ago.
I know the work I put in, I know I am one of the best fighters in the world, it’s time to go out and show it
This is the first step, I want to move on to a title fight, and dominate
I gotta go in there and look good. I am not going to look for the KO, but if it presents itself I will take care of it.
This is my time, and this is my era.
I have fought great opponents, this has given me experience and I know what I need to do. I am here to win.
A win will be a big jump in my career, and I can get to a world title shot if I win. I will give the best possible battle and I will take the win to Argentina.