Wednesday, September 27, 2023  |



Sergio Garcia still motivated to shine in spite of change of foe in Crawford-Spence undercard

Sergio Garcia - Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime
Fighters Network

Spanish junior middleweight Sergio Garcia had been scheduled to face rising star Jesus Ramos on Saturday only for the American to pull out with a hand injury two-weeks ago.

Instead, undefeated Cuban Yoenis Tellez has stepped into the breach and will now face Garcia on the undercard of Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.

“I’m sorry for what happened to Ramos, but boxing is like that, these things happen,” Garcia (34-2, 14 knockouts) told The Ring through Oscar Zardain. “I want to thank PBC and Sampson [Lewkowicz] very much for keeping me on this exceptional card. I am very happy to be able to show my boxing to the whole world. Fighting on in this card is an honor for me and a pride to be able to represent my country in one of the most awaited fights for a long time and I will go for the victory.”

Garcia, like many of us, doesn’t know too much about Tellez but he knows the importance of emerging victorious.

“Yoanis Tellez has a much higher level than his record shows,” he said. “I think he is a great fighter and I will give my best to beat him. This is the fight of my life. I can’t afford to lose.

“I know that a good performance on such a big card will put me on the doorstep of a big world title fight. A win in the United States will put my career back on top.”

The 30-year-old former European champion hopes third time will be a charm having lost in his two previous visits to America when he stepped up to world level against Sebastian Fundora (UD 12) and Tony Harrison (UD 12).

“In the first fight against Fundora I didn’t think it went badly because it was a good 50/50 fight that in the end was decided on his side,” he explained. “In the second before Harrison I got carried away by the desire to get to him and we didn’t know how to make a change to retake the fight and he simply beat us, but you learn from everything and not only box with your heart but also with your head.”

Yoenis Tellez (left) and Sergio Garcia (right) – Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

After the Harrison setback, Garcia’s trainer retired, and Garcia began working with Angel Fernandez at Loughborough University, in the U.K., where the two have spent seven months training together.

Garcia was able to shed some ring rust and get back in the win column with a 10-round unanimous against Ricardo Cabana in April.

This time around, Garcia wants to show more than just toughness. He wants to show he can win on the biggest stage.

“My biggest motivation right now is to show that I can fight in the United States,” he said. “I have already shown the public that I have courage and that I do not refuse to fight anyone and now I will show that I have the boxing [ability] to be in that league. I fight and train every day for the welfare of my family and that is my biggest motivation.”

Zardain, who has worked with Garcia for a number of years, is confident his fighter will claim the win.

“I have no doubt that he will try to make the most of it,” said Zardain. “Regardless of the results, he always gives his best in all his fights, he is a great professional and a born competitor.

“I am sure that he and his new coach will have prepared important tactical and strategic improvements and will try to bring the victory to Spain.”

Tellez (5-0, 3 KOs) was a talented boxer in the Cuban amateur system before turning professional, fighting twice in Russia in 2020.

The 23-year-old didn’t fight for two-years before resurfacing in Texas, where he is trained by Ronnie Shields. He has won three fights since relocating, most recently shutting out teak-tough Cameron Krael (UD 6).

This is a huge opportunity for both men for differing reasons. Garcia has proven he can hang with the top guys but yet to beat either of them, he needs a win to move his career forward. While Tellez is taking a big step up in competition, one if he can get past should open doors in the junior middleweight division.

Spence-Crawford, plus undercards bouts, will be broadcast on Showtime Pay-Per-View beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].