On Saturday, September 14th, Golden Boy prospect and rising star Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15KOs) was supposed to fight Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3KOs). Sparrow was a no-show at weigh ins. It later came out that he had been arrested on gun charges, stemming from a domestic dispute in April. Promoters had tried to strike a deal with the US Marshalls service earlier in the week, but things didn’t go according to plan.
Golden Boy Promotions president, Eric Gomez, stated that Garcia was offered Filipino stablemate Romero “Ruthless” Duno (21-1, 16KOs) as a replacement opponent. Garcia turned down the fight, apparently saying the selected opponent was “too tough”. If that’s true, it reflects badly upon Garcia. It’s even worse on Golden Boy promotions for divulging that information to the public. Garcia responded to the Duno talk with, “We never said no. We said, ‘Let’s talk numbers'”. Gomez later corrected himself in a follow up tweet, saying that Garcia’s team turned down the fight. I agree that Duno would be a tough task in general, let alone as a last minute replacement. So I don’t blame Garcia for balking at the initial offer. A tougher fight should mean more money, especially for someone with the fan base that Garcia has. It does look like he is ducking the fight to many boxing fans, given that Duno has been vocal about his desire to fight Garcia. I give Garcia a pass here. He’s young, and it’s too early in his career for him to be making last second switches like that against a really solid opponent in Duno.
Ryan Garcia has garnered much of his fame through social media. He touts over 3 million followers on Instagram and 208,000 on Twitter. That’s quite a following for a 21 year old prospect. He’s also very active on his Twitter, tweeting about things that should probably be discussed in private with his promoters. To make matters even worse for Golden Boy, their superstar, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (52-1-2, 35KOs) retweets many of Ryan’s tweets, which adds a potential additional factor to the already messy equation.
If you didn’t think things could get any worse for Golden Boy, listen to this. Golden Boy CEO, Oscar De La Hoya recently put out that fast rising welterweight, Vergil Ortiz Jr (14-0, 14KOs), not Ryan Garcia, is the top rising talent in their stable. I agree with Oscar, and that’s no knock on Garcia. Vergil is just that talented and more polished at the current moment. After this came out, Ryan Garcia didn’t waste any time tweeting his feelings on the statement: “Oscar if you don’t believe in my talents then you can release me elsewhere. Point blank period! If you do then come talk to me. Please no more press and public bashing.”
It seems as if Golden Boy Promotions is at a bit of a crossroads with the young talent. They need to solve this quickly and quietly. Ryan Garcia has ties to their biggest cash cow in Canelo Alvarez. Ryan trains under the same trainer as Canelo – Eddy Reynoso. They’ve bonded and become friends, with Canelo serving as a mentor to the young star. Oscar needs to set the record straight with his young fighter, make peace, and reassure Garcia. I don’t believe there’s any chance that Oscar would release Ryan because it could cause more of a dilemma with Canelo, who recently had issues with the Golden Boy related to deals being made without his knowledge. Those deals cost him one of his titles.
There’s too much at stake here, too many scenarios, where this can go really bad for Golden Boy Promotions. In the end, I think that Oscar smooths it over and all are happy again in paradise.