The sport of boxing like anything else has seen its ups and downs throughout the years, and that included the sport evolving whether through rules or regulations or the fighters themselves.
You had championship fights go from 15 rounds to 12 while fighters like Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather all developed this larger than life persona in and out of the ring which brought awareness to the sport of boxing.
Ryan Garcia (18-0) fighting out of Victorville, CA is a lightweight fighter who finds himself on the verge of being a superstar in his own right.
Recently, he has been under fire for mentioning that he wanted to be rightfully compensated for the value/eyeballs he brings with him when he has a fight.
This caused many to attack what he was saying and some fans on social media were quick to mention that “he hasn’t won anything yet” or “hasn’t beat a respectable opponent to have such demands” which in past years, may have had some merit to it.
However, we live in different times and these days, the business world revolves around “clicks,” “views” and “streams” when determining the value of someone’s company or profile. The music industry went from CDs to streams and people became overnight celebrities based on their YouTube videos going viral.
This is where Ryan Garcia comes into play….. while only twenty-one, he has enough of a business savvy mind to call out the “old business model” and inject what he feels should be a new one in the sport of boxing.
Let’s unpack this for a second and see where all of this comes from. Garcia is the first in the sport to successfully develop his profile through social media while getting it to a point where there was an overwhelming level of interest in him that eventually translated into his boxing fans.
He used his good looks and flashy skills to generate what are now over three million Instagram followers. His training videos on Youtube consistently go viral which led to a starring role in a Youtube series called “On the Ropes” which saw 500,000 views in it’s opening episode.
Aside from that, he has earned endorsement deals through brands like Gym Shark and Fashion Nova as they see the value in backing an athlete like Garcia.
You can’t blame him for that and he did what Sugar Ray Leonard…
..said some years ago on the 30 for 30 “No Mas” and that was “When you see a camera, you look and then you smile.”
Although Ryan has caught a lot of heat, his point was proven just recently as two YouTubers, KSI and Logan Paul, are headlining a main event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This venue and date was tentatively on hold for Wilder vs Ortiz II but the Logan Paul-KSI rematch was enough to bump that heavyweight title fight off of that venue date. There are some fighters that will never be able to headline at the Staples but these two men are and it was all driven by their social media presence.
On Sept 14th at the Dignity Sports & Health Park in Carson, CA live on DAZN, Ryan Garcia will be facing Avery Sparrow (10-1) from Philadelphia, PA as the Co-Main Event for that card. Ryan will be the main ticket seller for that event but he will be keeping a close eye on how many eyeballs are watching when his fight comes on next weekend.
Garcia’s approach has worked out for him so far as he has landed multiple endorsement deals based solely on his social media presence. Next weekend will either enhance or decrease his leverage of being compensated and placed in that co-headliner slot at a major venue…or maybe help him make the case that he should be the main event next time around, if that's what he desires.
We are in unique times and the way value is measured is much different than it was even five years ago. Ryan Garcia is a star already whether people want to admit it or not. He may not have achieved it the “traditional way” but we are in different times and because of that, we have to start adjusting to some of the new ways, which will eventually become the norm in the future.
Ryan Garcia looks as though he wants to make sure “the powers that be” understand that he knows exactly what he brings to the table and letting all of the young fighters know to “Follow the Leader.”