Ryan Garcia has divided opinion in boxing. Some see a quicksilver puncher with huge star potential, others believe he is a manufactured fighter for the Instagram generation.
This Saturday in Dallas, Texas, the flashy Garcia plans to show he has the substance to match his style when he meets former two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell in a crunch WBC interim 135lbs title fight.
The outcome will determine whether Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) is the real deal or just a flash in the pan. The popular Californian has, of course, a mammoth 7.8 million followers on Instagram and immense crossover appeal. Their adulation doesn’t hinge on technique or quality of opposition, but Garcia plans to convince the naysayers, too, this weekend.
“The casual fans love me. They don’t care if your hands are up, if your feet are moving, if you’re slipping or dodging,” Garcia, 22, told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. “People want to see knockouts. They want to see home runs. They want to see ass whuppings.
“Where I hear the hate is from the boxers and the coaches, who for some reason want to see me fail. But they underestimate me. That’s what I want them to see. Their hate and envy blinds them into the shots I’m setting up.”
Yet Garcia’s social media game cannot be doubted. “You need three elements,” he told Kriegel. “I have to go my fastest. I have to go my hardest. I have to do something amazing. I make sure I look good.”
But can he fight at top level?
“I’m going to find out — this fight,” said Garcia “We’re all going to find out.”