As the year nears its close, all eyes in the boxing world are set on the forthcoming bout between Ryan Garcia and Oscar Duarte, scheduled for December 2nd on DAZN in Houston, Texas. Garcia, coming off his first-ever professional loss, is undoubtedly feeling the weight of expectation.
While this bout is significant in its own right, it has a more profound undertone. For Garcia, this isn’t merely a comeback fight but a stepping stone towards a series of matchups he envisions for 2024. If Garcia prevails over Duarte, big names such as Gervonta Davis (a rematch), Teofimo Lopez, the WBO light welterweight champion, and potentially Devin Haney, the WBC 140-lb champion, might be on the horizon.
At their inaugural press conference, the intensity between Garcia and Duarte was palpable. Duarte, with an impressive record of 26-1, 21 KOs, is not to be underestimated. Garcia candidly shared with the media, “He’s hungry, he wants to eat me, and he looked at me like a snack.” Such comments indicate that Duarte is more than eager to leverage this opportunity, which, if he succeeds, could exponentially increase his career earnings.
For Duarte, this isn’t just another fight – it’s a potential game-changer. The financial implications of a win followed by a lucrative rematch would overshadow his previous earnings from 27 fights, most of which were against lesser-known opponents.
Garcia’s vision extends beyond his immediate future. He expressed keen interest in the aforementioned potential opponents for 2024. Regarding a rematch with Davis, he remarked, “Obviously, you always want to run it back when you take a loss.” Although a rematch promises another big payday, Garcia’s ambition to become a world champion at 140 remains a primary goal.
Negotiating a fight with Teofimo Lopez could present challenges. With Lopez holding the WBO 140-lb belt, it would seem he has the upper hand in negotiations. However, Garcia’s popularity might shift the dynamics. As he rightly points out, in today’s age, being a champion doesn’t necessarily grant negotiating power. The casual boxing fan might not recognize, or care about, a boxer’s title, suggesting that boxing’s old norms are changing.
Reflecting on his loss to Gervonta Davis, Garcia stated, “Everybody knows the obvious that I’m talking about… Can you do an interview dehydrated? Imagine boxing.” Without divulging details, he hinted at a broader issue in the boxing community, alluding to a new approach he envisions for the sport.
This new vision targets the conventional “marination method,” where boxers are pitted against weaker opponents for years, with the hope of a major bout in the future. This method, attributed to Floyd Mayweather Jr., has its critics. Some argue that Mayweather could have achieved even greater success had he faced Manny Pacquiao before Pacquiao’s losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Garcia also brought attention to the changing dynamics of media and its influence on boxing. “It’s all social media,” he declared, emphasizing the pivotal role of online platforms. His intent is clear: reshape boxing’s blueprint to cater to modern audiences and ensure the sport remains relevant.
While the bout between Garcia and Duarte promises to be a thrilling encounter, the underlying narratives and future implications make it all the more compelling. Garcia’s vision for boxing’s future, coupled with the immediate stakes of the upcoming fight, ensure that December 2nd will be a date to mark for every boxing enthusiast.
Leading up to the match, DAZN captured the charged face-off between the two fighters, posting it with the caption, “GET READY HOUSTON ✈️ Watch the return of Ryan Garcia, Dec. 2 on DAZN 🙌.”
As the days narrow to the clash between Garcia and Duarte, the boxing world waits not just for the outcome of the bout, but also for the future trajectory that Garcia envisions for the sport. Only time will tell if his predictions and ambitions will come to fruition.