GBP VP & Matchmaker Roberto Diaz discusses Ryan Garcia’s next fight and potential future.
On Saturday night, one of boxing’s youngest stars returns to the ring as the main event on DAZN live from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, CA. Undefeated lightweight sensation Ryan Garcia (22-0) will be going up against the tough veteran Javier Fortuna (37-3-1). This fight will be the second one this year for Garcia after only fighting once last year.
If the fight against Fortuna sounds like one you’ve heard before, that is because it was scheduled for last July but was canceled. Garcia was battling mental health issues and needed to take time away from the ring to get his personal life in order. Garcia returned this past April after being inactive for 15 months and earned a unanimous decision victory over Emanuel Tagoe (32-2).
Garcia’s huge social media following has opened up opportunities to expand his brand, like having a documentary series on TikTok, which no other fighter is currently doing for their career. Given the attention, this event will receive on Saturday night and Ryan’s desire to fight Gervonta “Tank” Davis later this year, I checked in with Golden Boy Promotions Vice President and Matchmaker Roberto Diaz.
Ryan Garcia vs. Javier Fortuna will be streamed live on DAZN at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
Diaz is one of the most approachable executives in the world of boxing, and his enthusiasm for the Garcia vs. Fortuna fight can be heard through the phone conversation. Getting right into it, was the matchmaking for this fight more about Fortuna and his team pushing for the fight or Ryan wanting to settle a score for their canceled fight? Diaz told FanSided, “On a personal level, I think Ryan (Garcia) really wanted the fight because Fortuna had mentioned some stuff about him and questioned why he pulled out of their original fight. Personally, on my side, I liked the fight because it was one that we wanted to do. Obviously, we preferred the JoJo (Diaz) fight, especially because it’s here in L.A but I’m ok with it because it prepares Ryan as Fortuna is a southpaw, strong, short and aggressive.”
When I heard that last part, the wheels in my head started to spin because those attributes describe another young boxing star named “Tank .”Diaz continued, “It gives me as a matchmaker a look of what I want to see and possibility what I’m going to see for the next fight. I know he can fight a southpaw as he fought Luke Campbell, but he was taller with a slim frame. Gervonta Davis is shorter, stockier, and more aggressive. With Fortuna, we are going to see a little bit of Davis but with a lot of experience. What I mean by experience is savvy experience. I can picture it (Fortuna) hitting Ryan on the hips, legs, and places where it’s going to make him uncomfortable. Fortuna does have a lot of tricks up his sleeve.”
It’s clear that this fight is to see how Garcia can fight against a style similar to Davis so that a decision can be made about pursuing that fight later in the year. A fight between Garcia and Davis is a mega fight that gives every indication of being a hit. Diaz told FanSided, “I always like to wait as we have a fight on Saturday, and you never know. If his hand is raised and there isn’t a cut or injury that will prevent him from coming back at the end of the year, then we will absolutely look to have Ryan fight again this year. The key to this game, especially for a fighter of Ryan’s age, is activity and staying sharp. To beat a Tank Davis or any of the division’s top names, Ryan has to be at his sharpest.”
On Saturday night, if Garcia earns a victory and looks great, he will call out Davis and use the public to help push for the fight. Let’s just hope that the promotional and network politics doesn’t get in the way of what some will consider a super fight.