Ryan Garcia vs. Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) is a gift that keeps on giving, for those who treasure such relationships playing out a certain way in public.
At today's final post-fight presser for Garcia's (23-1, 19 KOs) return to the ring on Saturday, December 2, in his super lightweight debut against Duarte of Chihuahua, Mexico (26-1-1, 21 KOs), the ongoing war of words between Garcia and his promoters continued from the stage.
Garcia took offense to criticism by GBP executive and Hall of Fame fighter Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins is not interested in sugarcoating his thoughts, even against his fighter and one of boxing's cash cows.
The Hall of Famer dished out the goods when Garcia criticized GBP, with whom he is locked in a legal battle regarding their contractual terms, yet again for a perceived lack of support.
Hopkins told Fighthype.com about Garcia’s future post-Gervonta loss, saying “I will see how Ryan looks and then make my personal decision on whether he should fight again.”
Garcia took offense at the time, and used his platform at the presser Thursday to take a stand.
“A couple things I want to touch,” said Garcia. One thing that’s been on my heart is the statements Bernard made, where he’ll decide if I’m gonna finish or I should continue boxing after this fight. He don’t decide that. My coach does. My team does. Everybody that grinds with me day in and day out. That’s who decides, and ultimately God decides. Not him Nobody was telling him when to stop boxing. He stopped boxing at what, 45? Kudos to him. He don’t determine that.”
Garcia was just getting started.
“Another thing I wanna touch on is, you know, Oscar saying that, you know, we misinterpret what they say,” Garcia said. “It’s plain English. I didn’t hear anybody speaking any language I don’t know. So, you know, it’s very clear to me that, you know, they’re backing this guy to beat me, just like they thought [Romero] Duno was gonna beat me. He was the next Filipino star. They saying he’s the next Mexican star.
“You know what? I put everything into this fight. You know, for the first time I’m extremely committed, in a long time. You know, 2021 was one of the times it kinda broke me. 2022, you know, changed me. 2023 opened my eyes. I’m about to come back, come back for everything. You know, I’m just lasered in. I’m laser-focused, and that’s where my confidence comes from.”
Straight Talk From BHop
Garcia objected to Hopkins seemingly dictating his future in the sport of boxing.
“There’s one thing about this sport that I love and that’s why I talk so passionately about it, and some take it wrong and I don’t care,” Hopkins, a Golden Boy partner, told FightHubTV.
“I’m not apologetic. I stand on what I say: Boxing will call your bluff. Imma say it again: boxing will call your bluff. One thing about this sport, like no other sport: if you say who you are or who you think you are, either way, it will call your bluff. And one thing about this: it won’t be a secret, it won’t be in the dark. It will be in the light.”
Hopkins said he's not in the business of giving fighters false hope. He responded to Ryan’s critique of his public questioning of his viability to fight on.
“Not treating him like a champion?” Hopkins said. “Is he a champion? He got a world [title] belt? Listen, we’re not in the business—and Oscar will repeat in his own way—we’re not in business of kissing fighter’s [asses], telling them something that they’re not.
“Now, I will promote a fight, but I will not promote a lie. I’mma say it again. I will promote a fight, but I will not promote a lie. Take that to the bank and make sure you get interest later on off that quote.
“I feel like I’m not gonna let the media or anybody else turn this into ‘you said this, I said that.’ I spoke on it now because I want the world and the people to understand, whether they agree or disagree, they gotta go back to the videos.”
“My thing is the young fighters today that are really about it … really about their work and standing on what they say,” Hopkins said.
“One thing about my experience … can no generation come after me and think they can con me and think they can bluff me and think they can say something that I don’t say because mostly the OGs … we been there, done it and seen it, so we understand what's there and not there. So you cannot do that to those who know. I would say that I just want [Ryan Garcia] to be the greatness that he thinks he is or that he is, and we support him.”
One Of Many Rough Patches
The junior welterweight contender went public with his frustration with the lack of loyalty displayed by his team following his demoralizing loss, the first of Davis' pro career.
Neither De La Hoya nor Hopkins were present to represent Golden Boy Promotions at the post-fight press conference. It was among the earliest public frosty exchanges between Ryan Garcia and promoter.
Nine months after inking a long-term contract extension with Golden Boy in 2019, Garcia requested his release from the organization after he was proposed lesser fights in which he had no interest in participating.
“If they don’t think I’m the next world champ, if they don’t think I’m the next big fighter in the world, prove it – let me go,” Ryan Garcia told The Athletic. “Just free release right now and let me be. Why do you want to hold back somebody who’s not going to be sh*t?
“Don’t hold me back; release me. … If you don’t think I’m the real deal, because you’re insinuating that I’m not really the real deal and I’m not on that level yet, release me and I’ll prove it to you.”
This has been a recurring theme for Garcia, who only wants to take bigger fights.
He was supposed to have a tune-up against Mercito Gesta in January in preparation for Davis, but decided he was comfortable heading into the most significant fight of his career on the heels of a nine-month layoff.
De La Hoya, who fought five world title fights in 1997 alone, said Garcia was making a mistake.
“We saw what Ryan posted, and we have to respect it, we have to respect his decision. I understand Ryan’s frustrations, and I understand the people’s frustration – the fans want to see Ryan vs Tank, that is it.
“Look, Davis is going to have a tune-up fight. His tools are going to be very sharp for when he faces Ryan Garcia in April. Ryan’s decided to bypass the tune-up and go straight to Tank.
“I strongly feel it’s a big mistake, but we just have to wish him the very best and for him to stay in shape, stay in the gym, continue sparring, stay focused and wait for that big day,” concluded De La Hoya.
Not only did it turn out to be a mistake, Garcia later admitted that he entered the ring that night against Davis with a rib injury.
Davis dropped Garcia twice in their scheduled 12-round bout. It was a left hand to the body in the seventh round that did him in. Garcia took a knee and stayed down for the full 10 count.
After the fight, Showtime's microphones picked up Garcia telling trainer Joe Goossen Davis hit him in the same area where he suffered a sparring injury two weeks before the fight.
Junior welterweight prospect Tsendbaatar Erdenebat, a two-time Olympian from Mongolia, later revealed himself as the culprit on social media.
Golden Boy Sues Ryan Garcia
Garcia is bound to Golden Boy until 2026, and the latter has taken measures to ensure he can't run away.
Golden Boy filed a lawsuit against Garcia in June to enforce its contract with their star fighter.
The suit came in response to a demand letter from Garcia's legal team on June 9 alleging violations of the promotional agreement, including California and federal law, that invalidate the contract.
“Golden Boy has been proud to have worked with Ryan Garcia for the last several years and to help catapult him to the kind of stardom that led to the biggest boxing Pay Per View event in years just two months ago,” Golden Boy stated after the lawsuit was filed.
“With this filing, we are seeking to ensure that Ryan and his team will honor the remainder of his contract, a contract that Ryan Garcia himself called ‘one of the most lucrative boxing deals for a prospect in the history of the sport.”
For now, the soap opera continues.