Garcia: ‘I will fight Tank next if he wants it at 140’

Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) sent a message to everybody in the boxing world by delivering a spectacular performance against former two-time world champion Javier Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KOs) at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Saturday night.

Garcia dropped Fortuna three times. The first knockdown came from a Garcia body shot that brought Fortuna down in the fourth round. Fortuna got dropped again in the fifth round, and Garcia ended the night with a left hook 27 seconds into Round 6 to get the knockout win. 

“I know that I performed well for myself. I was crisp, sharp, and I stayed in my truth,” Garcia said after the win. “I didn’t do anything crazy. I know how good of a fighter I am; I just had to put it all together, just like tonight. Fortuna hit hard; he has a hard fist. Like I said, when I fight stronger opponents, I box better. Yes, I caught him with a body shot. He thought I was going for the head, but I switched it on him. I felt he was going to throw the Luke Campbell shot [the shot that dropped Ryan against Campbell]. I feel like everyone is going to try to hit me with that shot. I hit hard, so it doesn’t take much to hurt someone.”

Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy

Garcia, who fought Fortuna at 140 pounds, said he felt good at the weight and says he’s staying at 14o. Also, Garcia said he wants the undefeated Gervonta “Tank” Davis next.

“I felt way better at this weight,” he said. “I’m not going down to 135 for nothing. But I will fight Tank next if he wants it at 140. I’ll make sure to record all the negotiations so you can’t say I was ducking. I want that fight because it’s going to give me the respect I deserve. I’m never afraid. I have a spirit of competition in me, and you’re going to see that come out when I fight Tank and whoop his ass.”

This was an impressive performance by Garcia, and a fight with Davis would be enormous. Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford is still the best fight to be made in boxing, but Davis-Garcia could easily be bigger. However, it’s boxing, so there are some obstacles. Davis is with Al Haymon/PBC, and Garcia is with Golden Boy/DAZN, so that’s an issue. Both sides must determine if the fight is big enough to work together. It’s big, but is it big enough? That’s for them to decide. 

Let’s hope we see it next.

Undercard:

In the co-main event of the night, Orange County’s fan favorite, Alexis “Lex” Rocha (20-1, 13 KOs) of Santa Ana, CA, defeated Luis Veron (19-5-2, 9 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Arg. to capture the NABO Welterweight Title in a 10-round fight. Both fighters were willing to make calculated moves as they tried to land effective punches. Rocha landing the more precise shots took the scorecards with 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 winning via unanimous decision.

“My strategy for this fight was to go in there and break him down,” said Alexis Rocha. “I knew he was going to be a durable fighter; he gets hit and stays there. Once that happened in the fight I knew he was just going to survive. Training is always great with my team, they’re always pushing me. I went there with a game plan and I followed it the best I could. It feels good fighting in front of a big crowd here at the Crypto Arena. Having my Santa Ana crowd behind me, it made me feel good. Onto the next level now.”

The night’s main attraction featured non-stop action and celeb appearances by actors Michael B. Jordan, Danny Trejo, television personality Mario Lopez, and the LA Rams’ Sean McVay and Aron Donald. The action started with Fortuna taking the initiative and going after Ryan, with the latter utilizing his jab and long punches.

Also on the DAZN live stream, Lamont Roach Jr. (23-1-1, 9 KOs) of Washington, DC, went the distance against tough opponent Angel “Humildad” Rodriguez (20-2, 10 KOs) of Barranquilla, COL. for a 12-round WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator.  Roach Jr. fought smart and defensively, taking the fight forward. Roach Jr. won unanimously with scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 117-111.

“My strategy was to stay tight and keep the pressure on him,” said Lamont Roach Jr.  “We knew it would break him down. He was a tall and lanky fighter so we were watching out for the looping shots. He had a nice 1-2, the ones that landed I let him. He was really good defensively, but if we would’ve kept the punch output higher I would have stopped him. He was very evasive.”

“He’s an amazing fighter, extremely intelligent,” said Angel Rodriguez. “He knows how to work his rival and always keep his composure even when getting hit. In these events it’s them who decide who wins and as an athlete I’d fight him again. We tried to win but he simply came with better preparation and strategy, that’s why he took the victory.”

Opening up the live stream on DAZN, Rialto’s Ricardo “El Nino” Sandoval (20-2, 15 KOs) faced undefeated fighter David “Medallita” Jimenez (12-0, 9 KOs) of Cartago, CRI, in a 12-round fight for the WBA Flyweight Title Eliminator.  In the 11th round, Sandoval was shaken and hit the canvas; after he got back up he was literally saved by the bell as Jimenez launched an attack to try to finish the fight. The fighters engaged in a crowd pleasing final round with the victory awarded to David Jimenez by the judges via majority decision with scores of 112-114, 112-114, and 113-113.

“I’m happy and grateful for this new victory,” said David Jimenez.  “We executed our game plan perfectly. In the first 6 rounds it was a lot of movement and aiming. After the 6th round I started to take advantage. My rival was very tough and stubborn. He has a lot ahead of him. I’m going to go home after this victory and spend time with my family then get back into the gym.”

“I felt like I was boxing him correctly so I feel very good,” said Ricardo Sandoval.  “I was also countering him downstairs and upstairs. But you know these things happen. I felt like I won the fight. The people won tonight and got one hell of a fight.”

The Golden Boy Fight Night: Garcia vs. Fortuna Prelims portion of the night was headlined by Oscar Collazo (5-0, 3 KOs) of Villalba, PR, taking on Victorio Saludar (21-6, 11 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the WBA Minimumweight Title Eliminator.  The battle was close as both fighters got a knock-down in the seventh round, but Collazo took the edge by putting the pressure and coming forward. Collazo won via unanimous decision with scores of 118-112, 116-110, and 116-110.

“It was a tough fight. I had to use my whole toolbox,” said Oscar Collazo. “My opponent was powerful and experienced; he’s a veteran in the sport. But, thanks to my corner, I got in the ring and fought round by round. A world championship is next. I want to be a champion.”

Next, Diego De La Hoya (23-1, 11 KOs) of Mexicali, MX, dominates Enrique Bernache (24-14, 12 KOs) of Guadalajara, MX, early in a scheduled 10-round featherweight fight by throwing powerful counters. Although Bernache was slipping a lot during the fight, it didn’t stop Diego from keeping him at a distance and destroying him in the fourth round at the 2:51 marker via knockout.

“I felt thrilled to be back, said Diego De La Hoya. “I haven’t fought in two years, so I felt great. My opponent was tough. I’ll probably fight again in September. Hopefully, I will fight for a championship soon.”

Opening the night, Los Angeles’ Miguel Gaona (3-0, 2 KOs) defeats Abdiel Padilla (1-3, 1 KO) of Caguas, PR, dominantly via KO in the first round of a scheduled 4-round super lightweight fight. Gaona started slow and cautious at the beginning of the round, only to finish his opponent with a body shot at the end of the round.

Blair Cobbs: ‘I am getting better and better’

Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (15-0-1, 10 KOs) of Philadelphia hosted a media workout today at the world famous WildCard Boxing Club ahead of his fight against fellow stablemate Alexis Rocha (18-1 (12 KOs) on March 19. Their 10-round welterweight fight will be the co-main event to Vergil Ortiz, Jr. vs. Michael   at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center in Downtown Los Angeles and will be streamed live, worldwide, on DAZN.

Below is what the fighter had to say about his upcoming fight:

“I can’t wait for this fight. I love every single opportunity to get out there and show the world what Blair ‘The Flair’ is all about. Each moment, each day, I am getting better and better. Everyday I am refining my craft, inside and outside of the ring and people are going to see it come March 19.

“Once again, I have to fight against the odds. There are a lot of people that think, Alexis Rocha might win. Let’s see what happens when he fights ‘The Great One.’ I expect that he is training very hard, but Blair ‘The Flair’ is training smart. It doesn’t matter what he does. In that ring he is going to try everything and he is not going to be able to get anything done because I am much, much better.

“It’s a big possibility that this fight may not go the distance. If he comes towards me and gets in my face I am going to shut him down.

“We are going to go in the ring with energy, and be the best that we possibly can which is always the most exciting, the biggest flair, the biggest attraction in boxing. Fans will have to tune in because the main event is the co-main event on March 19.”

Photo: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy