SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 29, 2022 – Lightweight sensation Ryan Garcia hopes to pick up right where he left off at the start of 2021 as he prepares for the main event against Emmanuel Tagoe of Accra, Ghana, on April 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio on DAZN.
After stopping Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell of Great Britain in the seventh round, the first stoppage of the British fighter's career, Garcia, now living and training in San Diego, was flying high. Like Icarus, his wings got singed by the sun due to injury and personal challenges outside the ring. Garcia took a break from boxing.
It seems to have done Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) good. Now training with veteran Joe Goossen, Garcia met with media just a few miles from the Mexican border with Tijuana, where he started his career six years ago at age 17. NYFights.com spoke with Garcia about those early fights and working with Goossen – and asked him to name his favorite boxing movie of all time.
Garcia will fight “The Gameboy” Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) at a catchweight of 139 pounds, four pounds over the 135-pound lightweight limit. Garcia shrugs it off and says he hit the scale Tuesday at 138 pounds. He appeared in excellent condition while going through his pace as cameras aimed his way. Tagoe's only loss was in his 2004 pro debut in Ghana by fifth-round TKO. The bout with Garcia is only his second U.S. fight. He won a majority decision over Mason Menard in November 2020.
Garcia acknowledges Tagoe wasn't his first choice of opponent. He hoped to take on Issac Cruz. Cruz is booked for the Spence Jr. vs. Ugas undercard against Yuriorkis Gamboa. Garcia would have a six-inch height advantage over “Pitbull,” but he'll still have two inches on The Gameboy.
“I'm pretty good at fighting smaller guys,” said Garcia. He is a little shorter, and he likes to box. Fighters always try to pressure me. We'll see since I don't know too much about this guy. I'll just stay calm and surgically break him down or knock him out. I have pretty good timing and accuracy. I think that has really separated myself from other fighters.”
De La Hoya: ‘All roads lead to Ryan Garcia'
Garcia says all the right things about focusing on his current opponents, but Tagoe's name was barely said all afternoon. Garcia is focused on his longtime amateur rival Devin Haney and the lightweight division WBA champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
On hand for the afternoon, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya made his position clear. “All roads lead to Ryan Garcia,” said De La Hoya.
Goossen and Garcia have an easy rapport, and while Garcia acknowledges his previous stay at Canelo Alvarez's compound in San Diego taught him a lot, he's looking to learn more and improve with Goossen.
“I knew Joe Goossen would be a perfect fit for me. He's old school, and I love that part of the game. He's someone I can relate to. We have good chemistry,” said Garcia.
Goosen is on the same page. “I knew he had something special. We got along, and there was something about him that appealed to me personality-wise and fighting-wise. He's really attacking this like he's obsessed and possessed. I'm genuinely impressed.”
Garcia loves to watch vintage fights on YouTube, and he's especially fond of all-time great Sugar Ray Robinson, who also began his career at lightweight before winning titles at welterweight and middleweight during his 25-year career. Garcia talked about Robinson – while knowing he might take some heat for his comments.
Like Garcia, Sugar Ray Robinson was also well known for his colorful lifestyle and personality outside the ring during his glory days. Robinson gets credit for being the first athlete celebrity with a modern style sports “entourage.” So perhaps Robinson and Garcia have more in common than just their ring skills. Undoubtedly, Robinson would be making noise and headlines on social media, although the legendary great will have to settle for his 91 fight win streak instead of his 8.7 million Instagram followers.
Ryan Garcia's return is good for boxing. His large fan base will welcome him back, and he adds dimension and possibilities to the exciting lightweight division. Garcia is rooting both for Davis and Haney to win their upcoming bouts. Should all three win, let the matchmaking begin.