Ryan Garcia made a promise for his fight Friday when he takes on Francisco Fonseca in the main event at the Honda Center.
“There will be blood,” said the 21-year-old touted boxing prospect from Victorville.
Garcia (19-0, 16 knockouts) won more than 200 amateur fights and national titles before turning pro but has heard people say his successful career outside of boxing will keep him from ever making it big in the ring.
Garcia, who has nearly 5 million Instagram followers, stars in his own scripted YouTube show, models for Abercrombie & Fitch’s ad campaign and fragrance, graces the pages of GQ Magazine and walks the runway for Tommy Hilfiger during New York Fashion Week.
He is adamant to prove he’s boxing’s newest breed, and the one who will be the quintessential star of the social and digital age.
“The hardest part is just hearing people saying that I won’t amount to crap, and that I’m going to be a bust. That I don’t have heart, or the chin [to fight],” said Garcia, steps away from the arena he’s been assigned to sell out. “I have to be patient, but I still have to grow, and get stronger and better.”
Before he walks into the big stage he was pleading for, Garcia is blocking out all of the noise by deleting the Instagram app off his phone. For a stretch last summer, Garcia was using social media to start verbal wars with Oscar De La Hoya, demanding for his mentor to properly promote his career as a main-event star — or to release him. Cooler heads, and a new contract extension, eventually prevailed.
“That situation was meant to be. It brought me, Oscar and Golden Boy even closer. It made us understand each other even more as a family,” Garcia said. “We have a good connection. I think Oscar sees himself in me a little bit. That’s why he goes hard for me now and is behind me 100%. After everything got cleared up, it’s been sunshine and rainbows.”
“We as promoters know what we’re doing,” De La Hoya said. “If a fighter wants to be treated like a business, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. … Right now is the perfect time for Ryan. His star is going to shine Friday night.”
De La Hoya said that Garcia is the most marketable prospect he’s ever signed and that his protege’s skills are just as savvy.
“He has the charisma that we haven’t seen in a while. He’s very persistent, and I like that,” said De La Hoya. “He knows what he wants. He knows his market value. He knows what he’s capable of doing, and he’s chipping away. He’s almost there, and he’s knocking on the door. I think he can become world champion by the end of the year.”
Tasked with spoiling Garcia’s plans on a fight that will stream on DAZN is the 25-year-old Fonseca (25-2-2). The Nicaraguan’s two losses have come at the hands of titleholders Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer.
“I’m only going to fight top fighters now. I really have no fear,” said Garcia. “It’s sink or swim for me in 2020. Either I’m about it, or I’m not. I’m ready to test my skills with the best fighters. I want to fight Gervonta Davis.”
Garcia said he considers himself either being a main-event fighter, or a co-feature attraction to training partner and stablemate Alvarez from here on out. Garcia defeated Romero Duno in 98 seconds after months of pent-up frustration last November on Alvarez’s undercard.
“His maturity now is right where it should be, and he’s ready to face anybody,” De La Hoya said.
Garcia will attempt to cement his own main event status on the same grounds of which Alvarez won a world championship for the first time in 2011 at the age of 20.
He’s at the brink of officially breaking in through the door, hoping everything comes up roses.
“It’s starting to hit me. I didn’t really feel the magnitude of [Friday’s fight], but now I do. It’s exciting. I keep on reminding myself it’s just boxing,” Garcia said. “I don’t really want to look too much into it to feel the pressure. I’m going to give it a great performance. It’s annoying to wait, but now my time is here.”