Touted boxing prospect Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) from Victorville stepped on the scales Friday afternoon ahead of his clash against Avery Sparrow on Saturday night in Carson, but his opponent was nowhere to be found.
“I just want to know where [Sparrow] is at. He talked a lot, and I don’t see him here,” Garcia said shortly after he successfully made the 135-pound weight limit. “I just wanted this fight. Somebody call him. Somebody ring him up. Let’s fight. Let’s get it on.”
Sparrow was not in the building and nowhere ready to fight because he was arrested Friday afternoon by U.S. Marshals hours before their Mexican Independence Day weekend clash at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Sparrow, from Philadelphia, had a warrant out for his arrest stemming from an April domestic dispute in which he allegedly brandished a firearm after a woman threw his clothes out of a window.
Sparrow was not aware that he was in legal trouble until he landed in Los Angeles on Tuesday for his fight. According to Sparrow’s Philadelphia-based promoter Russel Peltz, a warrant was never served to Sparrow back home because he was not listed living under any address.
The 25-year-old Sparrow was running near his Los Angeles hotel Friday morning with members of his team looking to lose the last few pounds to make the lightweight limit at the 1 p.m. weigh-in.
That’s when police started following him, Peltz said.
Shortly afterward, Sparrow and his entourage got in their vehicles and drove to a nearby Target. After leaving the store, they were surrounded by police, and a helicopter circled overhead, and Sparrow was arrested and taken to Men’s Central Jail.
“You might as well have thought they shot the president,” Peltz told the Los Angeles Times shortly after the incident. “I’d seen the video in April and told him to watch out who he’s hanging out with. … I thought I’d seen it all in my 50 years in boxing. Dealing with something like this is a first for me. Outside of Avery, no one is sicker about this than I am.”
Peltz said he was told this week by a Philadelphia detective and supervisor who was handling the case said that they’d allow Sparrow to fight Saturday under the conditions of holding his career-high purse until he showed up Monday in front of a Philadelphia judge for a court hearing.
“We were first notified this week that there was a potential problem by Russell. He told us everything was fine, Avery was going to be able to fight because he worked something out with the district attorney judge in Philadelphia. All of a sudden, he was arrested today, which is a big blow,” Golden Boy President Eric Gomez told The Times. “We notified Ryan’s team and told him about backup Romero Duno, who’s also fighting on Saturday. Ryan’s team, for whatever reason, is not willing to fight Duno at this time. We’re trying to come up with someone else, or other ideas.”
Duno, a Filipino fighter who Garcia has been calling for on social media since August, and again yesterday during a news conference for a Nov. 2 fight, is also fighting on the card Saturday, at the same weight limit and could be an optimal last-minute switch should Garcia agree.
Gomez said that Team Garcia claimed that Duno “was a tough opponent to take on 24-hour notice without proper preparation.”
Garcia countered on Twitter saying “My coach Eddy [Reynoso] never said that!”
Garcia then took to Twitter with a tirade voicing displeasure with Golden Boy, much like he has in the past, saying, “You’ll do anything to make the blame on me! I had no clue Avery had a warrant! He got arrested!
“The bottom line is, I deserve the right promotion for fights with the full time to promote and not be thrown into a fight and have myself do the whole promotion, knowing my fan base will tune in no matter what,” Garcia tweeted at the time.
The sentiment was the same again Friday after Garcia and Golden Boy CEO and chairman Oscar De La Hoya both assured The Times that there was no dispute between them.
“A fighter’s relationship with his promoter is always going to be like a marriage. You’re never happy all of the time, but when you are, things are amazing,” De La Hoya told The Times on Thursday. “You have your hiccups here and there, but everything is great [with Ryan]. We want the best for him and get him what he wants.
Gomez and Golden Boy are doing their best to find Garcia an appropriate opponent.
“He’s a young guy. We want the best for him. Whenever you have something like this happen last minute, we’re grabbing at straws and trying to repair it whichever way we can. All we can do is offer him ideas. It’s up to him to decide if he wants to take the challenge or not,” said Gomez.
“He has his advisors [Guadalupe Valencia] that are of age and experience. We don’t deal with Ryan directly, but we’re in constant contact with his team. It would be a shame if Ryan doesn’t fight. We’re hopeful to come up with a solution and save the fight, and deal with it accordingly after this. It might be noon Saturday before we pull the plug, I don’t know. There’s no rule or deadline.”
The rest of the fight card will still take place at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday and stream on DAZN, highlighted by undefeated Mexican star Jaime Munguia taking on Patrick Allotey.