Ryan Garcia’s development from popular prospect to a serious lightweight contender will be seen under the hot lights of New York’s Madison Square Garden next month when the Victorville product returns to action on Canelo Alvarez’s undercard.
The 20-year-old Garcia (16-0, 13 knockouts) responded to a sluggish, difficult Sept. 1 test against Carlos Morales in Indio by aligning with a new trainer, Alvarez’s cornerman, Eddy Reynoso.
“I’ve been working on everything in this new camp — footwork, jabs, slips, counters — everything you can think of,” Garcia said. “Everything is done at 100% in this camp.
“Seeing guys like Canelo helps me get better because they are already champions and I want to become champion. Having role models like that helps me a lot. I haven’t been able to talk to him much, but I learned a lot from just watching him spar.”
Although Garcia’s promoter, Golden Boy, has yet to select an opponent for his scheduled 10-round bout on the Dec. 15 undercard of Alvarez’s World Boxing Assn. secondary super-middleweight title fight against England’s champion Rocky Fielding, Reynoso is pleased with what he’s seeing in training camp — even though Reynoso speaks in Spanish and Garcia only understands English.
“Without a doubt, we are talking about the best prospect right now in the world of boxing,” Reynoso said. “He’s a young fighter who hits hard and is very fast. He is very intelligent in the ring. He is charismatic and very disciplined. He has everything it takes to become a great figure.
“When there is discipline, we can work. There might be some small misunderstandings due to the language barrier, but like I always say, the punches themselves don’t come in any language. He is humble, and his family is humble as well, so we were able to link up well fairly quickly. He wants to learn, and we make a great team, so I think we are going to achieve great things.”
Their alliance starts in the epicenter of boxing, the importance of which is not lost on Garcia.
“Madison Square Garden has held some of the best fights of all time,” he said. “Many legendary fighters have fought there. Being able to fight there is an honor.”
The new streaming service DAZN will carry the card, offering a free month to those who subscribe with a $9.99 monthly fee to follow.
Golden Boy officially announced the remainder of the Alvarez-Fielding undercard Thursday, making the co-main event a competitive middleweight battle between former champion David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) of Canada and contender Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) of the Bahamas.
Lemieux, 29, posted an impressive first-round victory over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan on the undercard of Alvarez’s narrow decision over Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, and can enhance his chance to meet Alvarez down the road by defeating Johnson.
“I’m extremely ready and looking forward to my next fight against Johnson,” Lemieux said. “I didn’t take a break since my last fight because I thought that I would be facing Canelo. Training camp has been great. Johnson is a solid opponent. I’m ready for an explosive performance and a great victory to end the year in a great way.”
Former 154-pound champion Sadam Ali (26-2, 14 KOs) of Brooklyn will return to welterweight after losing his belt to Jaime Munguia and meet veteran Mauricio Herrera (24-7, seven KOs) of Riverside in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds.
The undercard will also feature the power-punching super-lightweight prospect Vergil Ortiz (11-0, 11 KOs) in a 10-round fight, and Washington’s Lamont Roach Jr. (17-0-1) in a super-featherweight bout against Puerto Rico’s Alberto Mercado.