Haters were ready with I told ya sos, when Luke Campbell sent Ryan Garcia to the canvas in round two on Saturday at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. But the pretty boy proved to be manly, no mere IG stud, when he fought on, and got to his feet, and stayed aggressive.
In round seven, a left hook to the body, after a subtle freezing feint, sent the Brit vet to the canvas, and Campbell couldn’t beat the count.
Was a full fledged star born on this night, did we see the future of boxing? Some will need more convincing, but for sure, it was an entertaining match, and Luke Campbell will attest that Ryan Garcia has pop, big time pop, which we knew, but also heart.
The scrap, promoted by Golden Boy with Eddie Hearn, ran on DAZN.
The 22 year old Garcia (20-0 entering), out of Victorville, CA, was 135 on Friday, while the 33 year old Campbell (20-3 with 16 KOs entering), from Hull, E. Yorkshire, England, was also 135.
The WBC’s interim 135 pound title was up for grabs.
After, Garcia talked to Chris Mannix. “My performance definitely showed a lot of people who I really am,” said Ryan Garcia. “Going into this fight I wanted to show people that you are not what people call you. You are what you choose to be. I chose to be a champion tonight. I didn’t let anything stop me from being a champion tonight. Even when he dropped me, I knew that couldn’t stop me from being champion.”
The winner admitted he got over eager, at times. He said he showed everyone what a warrior he truly is. “I was a little dizzy, I ain’t gonna lie,” he said, when asked how he felt when he was down.
And what could be next? He pointed to Devin Haney, and said he wants to fight Tank Davis, too. “I showed today that I’m special,” he said, doing something that other high caliber fighters, like Vasiliy Lomachenko, couldn’t do.
“If we can make Devin, let’s make Devin,” he said, while the camera focused on Haney, in the house.
“I got too excited in the moment. I felt I could just walk him down, but he ended up cracking me. So, I had to adjust and calm down. I knew that I could beat him. I had to show that I was a warrior. I was a little dizzy with the knockdown, but I wasn’t worried. He’s not used to going forward, so I just knew I had to cover up. “He never fights coming forward, so I knew he would back up throughout the fight. I’m naturally a counterpuncher. But today I showed that I can be aggressive, go forward and take it to somebody. I showed I can take it to somebody and knock them out. God told me that it would end with a body shot, and that’s what happened. I want to thank God.
“I want to be a man of my word. I want Gervonta “Tank” Davis. I am ready. People are worried about that one. I want Tank Davis. I would also fight Devin Haney, too.”
He told Mannix that he thanked Canelo Alvarez, for taking him under his wing.
“This is the kind of fight where superstars are made. Down on the mat early for the first time in his career, Ryan got up, rallied, broke down his man and got the knockout,” said Oscar De La Hoya. “Everyone in the lightweight division should consider themselves on notice. 2021 will be the year of Ryan García.”
Campbell spoke about Garcia post-fight: “He’s very heavy handed. Even when I was blocking the shots, I could feel them. That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with. I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back, and when you move back my body relaxed a little bit and that’s the exact time he hit me. He did so well to get up from the shot in the second round! I felt that through my arm and knew it was a beauty but all credit to him, he got up and show he’s got real heart,” he continued. “It was a great fight and I knew I was right in the fight and thought I was having a good round in the seventh, but that was just a fantastic body shot. I was ready to attack again and he just timed the punch perfectly, I wanted to beat the count but just couldn’t, you just have to hold your hands up and say it was a great shot from a very talented fighter who is going to go a long way.”
In the first, Garcia started strong. His jab was on point, and he worked it low and high. Luke got warmed up, landed late, and Ryan stuck his tongue out.
In the second, down went Ryan. It was a left, after a jab froze him. He went onto his butt, got up, and finished 1:30 of the round. Trainer Eddy Reynoso told Ryan he made a mistake, by dropping his right hand. The kid told his corner his head was clear.
In the third, Garcia stayed aggressive and Luke stayed cool. He saw shots, moved, didn’t over exert himself. In the fourth, Luke sought to be more aggressive. A right hand affected him, though. This fight felt fairly even at this point, the vet wasn’t getting steamrolled.
In the fifth, Garcia stayed the aggressor, Luke the ultra patient old hand. He stayed light on his feet, and kept his hands high and knew he had to keep moving. A hook buzzed Luke right near the end of the round.
In the sixth, Ryan flurried and looked to close that show. Then he settled down, after looking to his corner, at Eddy Reynoso and mentor Canelo. Eddy told him after he was too agressive, he wants him to be smart.
In the seventh, we saw Luke edging closer, being aggressive. But he took a body shot, and down he went. To one knee, then two…he couldn’t get up before Laurence Cole counted to ten. Campbell froze up, off a feint, and then curled a left hook to the side.
Canelo handled the Brit Callum Smith with ease a couple weeks ago, and his boy Garcia didn’t have it as easy with his Brit challenger, but sure did provide ample drama.