The brass at Golden Boy Promotions is in full agreement that the upcoming fight with Luke Campbell was a necessary next step in the rising career of Ryan Garcia.
While all remain confident in banking on the rising 22-year old to prevail, Garcia’s vow to walk through the veteran lightweight contender far exceeds the expectations surrounding this weekend’s DAZN headliner.
“I try to explain it to people, whether they get it or don’t. Both fighters come in with credibility,” Bernard Hopkins, the Hall-of-Fame-elected former two-division champ and current Golden Boy partner told BoxingScene.com. “If Ryan don’t go in there with his A-game it’s going to be a long night.
“If Ryan does go in there with his millions of followers on Instagram and think Campbell’s just gonna come in, do a dance with them and leave, it’s not gonna happen.”
The bout will air live on DAZN in front of a socially distanced crowd at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The televised undercard begins at 3:00 p.m. ET, with the main card due to go live at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Garcia (20-0, 17KOs) has assured his legions of admirers—and his growing list of industry skeptics—that 2021 will prove to be the year where takes over the red-hot lightweight division. The journey begins with his interim title fight versus Campbell (20-3, 16KOs), a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist for Great Britain and former two-time title challenger whom is deemed as García’s toughest test to date.
Admirable of the fight’s manifestation is the fact that García called for Campbell by name when presented with more than one path on the road to his first career title fight. With that came a homework assignment for the Golden Boy team—exploit any holes in Campbell’s game that can be viewed as advantageous to the Victorville, California-bred lightweight, along with everything which can be viewed as a threat.
One list is significantly longer than the other.
“When this fight was announced, I wanted to see all of the things he does that’s good. Then I looked for the things he does that’s vulnerable or bad for him,” notes Hopkins. “I couldn’t fill up one hand with the things he does wrong. Look at his record. He’s a proven guy in that division. Ryan, to me, has more pressure on him than Campbell. Everyone is anticipating Ryan to do more than even Ryan thinks he needs to do.”
That could turn out to be a very good thing, especially considering García’s quest for superstardom.
“If Ryan rolls over Campbell and makes it look easy to the point where others had a tough time with him—it’s not a wrap, but it’s a wrap that night,” insists Hopkins. “It’s then the conversation of who he fights next. But you must respect Campbell [in the ring] and give him the chance to fail.
“That’s what I’m telling Ryan with this—you have to give him the chance to fail. Let him know from the first quarter of the fight, the first three rounds—four if you want to add that in there—that’s going to dictate the pace. That’s going to dictate whether he’s there to get his lunch and leave, or if he’s there to win. I believe both guys are there to win and they will look to (make that statement) early.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox