Ryan Garcia: Hype or Hope? 

Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

The current state of boxing lacks certain objectivity in which even the educated, or expert opinion becomes subjective from the start.

There isn’t really a rigid standard by which to judge anymore, therefore, based on the hard evidence I’ve gathered, I am providing my own subjective perspective nonetheless. With that being said, I will confidently address the topic of this article.

Many people will be quick to argue that Ryan Garcia is just a young, 20-year-old kid, who is just developing as a fighter and is on his way to becoming great one day. To say opinions of the sort are wrong is unnecessary—for who knows, anything is possible. After all, boxing is the theater of the unexpected.

However, the evidence seems to point otherwise.

Garcia is being marketed as talented, exciting, special and “the next big thing.” Often even being compared to a young Oscar De La Hoya. There’s no doubt Garcia possesses an attribute that stands out—and that’s his hand speed. Fans and promoters might go as far as saying he also possesses knockout power, but I’ll go out on a limb and say, he does not.

If he indeed had power in him, he would have a record of 17 wins coming by way of knockout, rather than 17 wins and 14 knockouts. Against the level of opposition, his boxing record consists of, he ought to have an unblemished KO streak.

Take Deontay Wilder, for example, he had a nearly perfect KO record (other than the first fight against Bermane Stiverne) until he finally faced Tyson Fury. Wilder’s power carried him through his fights despite the lack of boxing talent.

If Garcia did indeed have the kind of power they say he does, his career (in his division) would be analogous to that of Deontay’s. And like Deontay, what determines a lack of talent, is the ineffectiveness of power when it can’t land on a moving target, like Fury, and for Garcia, like Jayson Velez.

Further, if Ryan was in fact what his promotional team markets him out to be, he should’ve been able to outbox Jayson Velez, the most talented opponent of his career thus far. Instead, his performance against Velez put a lot of doubt in the minds of his fans and boxing critics.

He was “booed” throughout the majority of the fight that night because of his obvious lack of boxing fundamentals which in turn lead to a poor performance against the experienced, veteran fighter, Velez.

That fight was to determine whether Garcia had what it took to level up in competition, and he clearly did not. He fought against Carlos Morales after that (a step down in competition), and looked horrible on his way to a questionable, unanimous decision victory. Had Garcia had the kind of power people say he does, he would’ve been able to knockout Velez, and Morales with the shots he managed to land on them.

As soon as pressure is imposed on Garcia, he retreats straight backward. His blocking reflexes are sloppy and amateur; he extends his arms out, and leans his upper body and head back. Rather than catching oncoming punches, or blocking and looking for basic countering opportunities, he leaves himself vulnerable to a counter. His demeanor in such moments of adversity expresses a lack of confidence and fear.

An actual talented fighter at his age, wouldn’t respond like that. His defensive flaws are what high-caliber fighters will capitalize on. So it’s no wonder why his promotional team is strategically matching him up against low-level opposition, meanwhile, preparing him for the day a threatening, and unavoidable challenge comes knocking at the door of his career.

Garcia’s acknowledgment of the uncertainty in his boxing abilities seemed to have been the driving force which compelled his opening statement to the press in his latest post-fight interview.

“I had a strong camp, we’ve worked on a lot of things I needed to fix,” said Garcia. “You know, coming into this fight I just wanted to show everybody, you know, how much I’m determined to prove that I can really fight.”

Further, in response to a question asked by the press, Garcia’s subconscious answer solidified his current level of talent.

Garcia was asked, “I know you said, next year you’re going to fight for a world title, when do you want to fight somebody who’s gonna challenge you…?”

Ryan replied with an uncomfortable look of doubt.

“When that time comes I’m going to be very prepared for those fights,” said Garcia. “Those are fights that I would love to have. Everything is a process, I’m going to trust my team. In the past I would say, let’s do it right now, but I want to take my time with this, I want to savor every moment, and I want to enjoy this ride; so whenever it happens I will be prepared and I will be ready to go.”

And his response says it all.

Finally, to point out further flaws in his arsenal, here’s a list of observations that may, perhaps, provide you with a different perspective.

  • Looks to land a power shot with a predictable jab, straight.
  • Leaves his guard down when engaging.
  • Unless he throws a power shot, all of his punches are arm punches.
  • Lacks accuracy, timing, and a wide array of combinations.
  • Doesn’t know when his opponent is hurt for him to finish unless it’s obvious.
  • Lacks side to side movement.
  • Telegraphs his punches when he loads up on them.
  • He’s flat-footed and can’t adjust to opponents movement.
  • His fight game is straight, difficulty hitting a target moving side to side.
  • Hesitant to engage, doesn’t take calculated chances due to a lack of skill.

With this list of observations, it’s hard for me to give him the benefit of the doubt. I wish him the best like I do every fighter that steps into the ring, but I just don’t see any raw talent that will allow him to succeed and prevail in such a tough sport.

There’s an old saying, “there are three things that can’t stay hidden forever, the sun, the moon and the truth.” And I believe sooner, rather than later, Garcia’s lack of talent will be exposed.

Conclusion: Ryan Garcia is Hype

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