By Jim Calfa: Former WBC interim lightweight champion Ryan Garcia has returned to the gym following his hand surgery and he’s looking to start fighting again in early 2022.
Interestingly, King Ry is considered one of the longshot options for undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr’s next fight in Australia.
With that said, Ryan needs a tune-up and is one of the least likely to get the fight with Kambosos next, but with his popularity, anything is possible. If not for Ryan’s recent inactivity problems, he would be a shoo-in to get the Kambosos fight.
Isaac Cruz could be next for Ryan Garcia
His next fight could be against the highly ranked and incredibly tough Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz, with who he revealed that he’s in negotiations.
That’s an ambitious pick for King Ry if he does select the 23-year-old Cruz as his next opponent, considering that guy really pushed WBA ‘regular’ lightweight champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and came close to defeating him in their fight on December 5th on Showtime PPV at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Indeed, many boxing fans had the fight a near-draw, thanks to the heavy pressure that Pitbull Cruz put on the injured Tank in that fight.
The undefeated Ryan, 23, mentioned last week that he’s confident about the ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) fight to happen, and he views him as a “C-class” fighter following his narrow 12 round unanimous decision loss to Tank Davis.
Despite Ryan’s label of Pitbull Cruz, he might be too advanced of a fighter for him at this point in his career. Although Ryan is the same age as the Mexican warrior Cruz, he doesn’t look as challenging or hungry.
Should Ryan take this fight with Pitbull Cruz, he will need to bring a different mentality to the contest than what we witnessed in his last bout with Luke Campbell in January of this year.
Not known for his power, the British fighter Campbell shockingly dropped Ryan with a left hand to the head in the second round. If Campbell had any sense about him, he would have attempted to finish Ryan off after getting back up, but he chose to box rather than go for the knockout.
Ultimately, that proved a mistake for Campbell because Ryan recovered and eventually stopped him with a hard body shot in the seventh.
Ryan can’t afford to back-out again
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe expressed skepticism last week about Ryan Garcia facing Pitbull Cruz next, saying that his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions WON’T allow him to take on the dangerous fighter.
Ellerbe says Cruz is not the minor tune-up that Ryan needs after being out of the ring for a year, and he could be right. In truth, Pitbull Cruz is someone Ryan should only face if he’s active and firing on all cylinders.
Apart from Ryan’s lone win over Campbell, 2021 was a disappointing year for him, as he backed out of a vital headliner fight scheduled for July 9th against former super featherweight champion Javier Fortuna.
Next, Ryan was scheduled to face Joseph ‘Jojo-Diaz Jr, and he suffered a hand injury that caused that fight to be canceled.
If Ryan is going to fight Pitbull Cruz, he must stay with it to the end and not back out of it for whatever reason.
Even if Ryan gets a nagging injury, he might want to take the fight anyway. His reputation has taken a massive hit due to him backing out repeatedly for significant battles.
Assuming Ryan is less than confident about his chances against a dangerous foe like Cruz, he should choose a tune-up opponent that he’s sure he can beat. With all Ryan’s weak resume and inactivity, he needs a few confidence boosters before taking on someone as tough as Pitbull Cruz.