This week started out with a bang as the relationship between WBC Silver Lightweight Champion Ryan “KingRy” Garcia (20-0) and the head of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya, became public news once again… and not on a positive note.
For the last couple of weeks during the quarantine period, Garcia has kept himself busy which included staying in shape physically and conducting some interviews. The interviews were the ones that caught the most headlines as he had no issues calling out guys like WBC Lightweight Champion Devin Haney and WBA Lightweight Champion Gervonta Davis. Ryan feels like he is ready for those fights and even mentioned the idea of doing a PPV.
This is where most didn’t agree with his timing of those comments as there are a good portion of Americans that lost their job during the pandemic and some businesses that won’t reopen. Money is a sensitive topic right now for most and making comments about PPV could have been reserved for another time. Shortly after that, Ryan announced he would fight on the 4th of July weekend and GBP was standing by that date as their opening event, post-quarantine. The only minor detail that was left unannounced was the opponent for that night.
Plenty of names were thrown out there but one was mentioned that I was really intrigued about and that was Hector Tanajara (19-0), who works with Robert Garcia out of the RGBA boxing gym. They have a little beef going that has been brewing for a few years now but that fight ended up not materializing.
Monday afternoon came around and a tweet was sent by Oscar De La Hoya saying that Garcia did not accept the fight and they were going with Vergil Ortiz Jr. at the end of July.
What turned this into something else was Oscar saying that Vergil was the “future of boxing,” which saw Ryan respond with “You do realize you're supposed to be my promoter not hater right?”
That tweet and reply set social media on fire, along with Ryan’s advisor Lupe Valencia telling ESPN.com and Steve Kim that “What they offered Ryan was not acceptable” while also adding, “We can’t just accept it if we know it’s not reasonable.”
This is where things get sticky as everyone wants to chime in on the situation but don’t really know what the details of the contract say about what he should or shouldn’t get paid. On the flip side, even with less money being offered, the opportunity to maximize even more on your exposure is there for the taking.
For Ryan, I have to assume that it’s hard to ignore that the same guys he wants to face and are his peers, are getting paid a lot more than him in the ring to fight lesser opponents. The issue is that for Devin Haney, he has a partnership with Matchroom for his promotion company and does not have a regular fighter deal with them, which is why the deal was a multi-million dollar one. As far as Davis is concerned, he is pretty much the star on Showtime and has been paid over market value to fight lesser opposition. That is not his fault as he happens to have a team around him that is able to produce that for him.
Ryan sees all of this and is probably thinking, where is my money?
And, can you really blame him for that?
Something like this shouldn’t be placed in a public forum. Boxing is an unforgiving sport and you can be hot today and gone tomorrow so I can see where the eagerness to get paid comes from but sometimes, those things just need to be handled face to face so that there isn’t any miscommunication.
If there is anything I could recommend to Ryan and GBP, is that they should all sit down together (with masks on and 6 feet apart of course) and have a long conversation about what the future holds for both of them. Going back and forth on social media will never result in anything positive.
Things are getting a little uncomfortable at Golden Boy Promotions with their star fighters. Perhaps Oscar believes he should have more guys that take “A Message to Garcia” than anything else but this is boxing, it’s a business and this new way of marketing/promoting fighters is one that all will have to start adjusting to as it is here to stay.
This is an excerpt from the famous essay “Message to Garcia”:
And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly—the man who can Carry a message to Garcia. —Elbert Hubbard, 1899
Let’s hope this all gets straightened out and we don’t have to revisit this again but this is boxing so we will probably end up running into this situation in the not so distant future.