Ryan Garcia will never forget Luke Campbell’s name. The self-proclaimed future of boxing was knocked down for the first time in his career by the man from Hull.
Of course we know he got back up and dispatched 'Cool Hand' Luke with a devastating body punch in the seventh round of a gripping contest. "You taught me a lot," Garcia, 22, told 33-year-old Campbell as the opponents embraced in the beaten man's corner at the American Airlines Center.
And he did. He took Mexican-Amercian Garcia to places he’d never been in the ring before and for that he will be forever grateful. Everything was on the line for the much-hyped lightweight from California, and he answered the critics who questioned his ability to dig deep and proved he’s got substance and style. Bags of it.
Ok, so coming into the ring on a throne was ridiculous and the commentary from DAZN was a masterclass in hyperbole, constantly namechecking Garcia alongside the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya! We get it DAZN, he’s a good looking kid but he’s no Sugar Ray…yet.
He will be world champion, of that there is little doubt. This pretty boy has got it all, and with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as his mentor, his path to greatness is there for all to see. But, like all good things in life, it won’t come easy. Garcia is in a division stacked with top class fighters, including Teofimo Lopez, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, Gervonta Davis, who also holds a version of the WBA belt, and Devin Haney, who holds the full WBC title.
Mouth-watering doesn’t even begin to define it. And it will go a long way to helping pull boxing in America out of the doldrums it’s found itself in recent years. We like to cut of Garcia’s jib, he’s a great talker and thanks to a huge following on social media he’s bringing new fans to the fight game.
But he’s still a long way from greatness, DAZN would do well to remember that.