Lightweight star Ryan Garcia believes there are far too many belts in boxing and says he plans to prove his mettle by facing the toughest opponents possible, rather than collecting titles in a calculated manner.
Despite some potentially thrilling match-ups featuring some of boxing’s finest young talents, the 135lbs title picture is rather murky at present with both the WBC and WBA having the audacity to claim three champions each in a vibrant division.
The WBC roll call of belt holders includes Teofimo Lopez (Franchise Champion), Devin Haney (Full Champion) and Garcia (Interim Champion) whilst the WBA has Lopez (Super Champion) Gervonta Davis (Regular Champion) and Rolando Romero (Interim Champion). Lopez also holds the IBF and WBO crowns as those organisations somehow scrape by on a solitary sanctioning fee.
Garcia won the WBC’s Interim crown by KOing Luke Campbell in seven rounds earlier this month and, while he appreciates the aesthetics of the belt, he recognises its meaning has been diluted. The Californian certainly respects the talent of rival Lopez, widely considered the undisputed champion, but feels his collection of belts is secondary.
“I’m not naive to say that he doesn’t matter. Of course, Teofimo matters. What doesn’t matter is belts. I wear this [WBC] belt because it looks good. Doesn’t it look good? It does make me look good. The truth is, there’s too many belts, there are too many champions,“ Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) told Stephen A. Smith on his ESPN+ show Stephen A’s World. “You don’t know who the true champion is. If Teofimo wants to hold that crown the way he wants to hold it, that’s fine.
“I know the truth. The truth is, you’re not the champ until you beat the toughest people in the division. You give what the people want. I’m trying to be the people’s champ. I’m taking on the best fighters as soon as possible because that’s what I stand for. And I’m always going to stand for that. If people want to say, ‘Oh, he got this and that’. That’s fine, the truth always comes out. The world will see who the better fighter is the more we fight.”