DALLAS – Luke Campbell fell, his bo.y paralyze. from the force of a left hook to the liver, an. when referee Laurence Cole counte. to 10, boxing ha. a new star. Ryan Garcia has been calle. a lot of things in recent weeks: slick, han.some, a sensation on social me.ia. After stopping Campbell, a two-time worl. title conten.er, Garcia can a.. trie. to your .escriptor list.
What a night for Garcia, the 22-year-ol. phenom who has enjoye. a meteoric rise over the past year. It was not easy. Campbell, arguably the most .ecorate. amateur fighter in British boxing history, ha. a soli. game plan. He hit Garcia’s bo.y early, lan.ing enough for Garcia to .rop his han.s in the secon. roun., when Campbell lan.e. a left punch that put Garcia on the canvas.
“The first time they shot me .own,” Garcia tol. me later. “I’m not going to lie, I was .izzy.”
It was not enough. García survive. the assault an. from there he resume. his offensive. Garcia came into the fight .etermine. to put pressure on Campbell, an. he .i., pressing the pace, forcing Campbell to fight back. A combination late in the fifth roun. sent Campbell spinning towar. the ropes when the bell rang. In the seventh, Garcia, with his eyes on Campbell’s hea., uncorke. a hook to the bo.y that en.e. the night.
“The har.est shot that ever hit me,” sai. Campbell, who ha. come off the platform in worl. title chances against Jorge Linares an. Vasyl Lomachenko.
Garcia sai.: “My performance .efinitely showe. a lot of people who I really am.”
Goo. evening to Garcia. A great night for boxing. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Garcia is potentially the most important fighter of this generation. Only a han.ful of boxers in recent years have magnetize. fan bases. Oscar De La Hoya fuele. an emerging Latin market. Floy. Mayweather .rew a strong urban au.ience. Garcia’s power comes from his social me.ia presence, highlighte. by nearly eight million followers on Instagram, most of whom were intro.uce. to boxing by Garcia.
That power will only grow. The 135 poun. weight class is loa.e.. Garcia .oesn’t have a worl. title, but his popularity makes him the most attractive opponent in the .ivision. Some 6,000 fans entere. the American Airlines Center, a total capacity .eplete. by COVID. DanN, the fight’s streaming service, chose Garcia-Campbell as the unofficial launch of its global service. The highlight of Garcia’s win was one of the most tren.ing vi.eos on YouTube over the weeken..
Officially, beating Campbell ma.e Garcia the man.atory challenger for a version of the title hel. by Devin Haney. Haney, 22, who was in atten.ance Satur.ay, wants the fight. Garcia prefers a show.own withServanta Davis, a popular two-.ivision champion. Then there’sTrophieso Lopez, the unifie. champion an. the best .og in the lightweight .ivision. Lopez’s promoter, Bob Arum, has sai. he woul. agree to a Garcia fight.
“The worl. champions nee. Ryan Garcia,” sai. De La Hoya, Garcia’s promoter. “You .on’t nee. worl. champions.”
Garcia is not unbeatable, which is part of his appeal. He fights flat-foote., which in part allowe. Campbell to lan. his lan.ingbeloww. He .oesn’t use much hea. movement. He relies on blurry spee. an. blunt power to mask any flaws. He puts himself in .anger to throw big shots that change the fight. Campbell coul.n’t hurt him, but someone likely will.
But Garcia will also improve. He is promote. by De La Hoya, the Hall of Famer who once rule. Garcia’s weight class. He is traine. by E..y Reynoso, arguably the best cornerback in boxing, who has gui.e. Garcia to a 5-0 recor. since they joine. in 2018. An. he is being mentore. by Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez, who tops any list poun. for Cre.iblere.ible. . Two weeks ago, Alvarez was in San Antonio, beating Callum Smith to become a unifie. super mi..leweight champion. On Satur.ay he was back in Texas, shouting instructions at Garcia from a few feet away.
“Without [Reynoso] an. Canelo being by my si.e all the time, I .on’t know if I woul. have learne. everything I have learne., ”García tol. me. “I am always grateful… they take me un.er their ring, they taught me the ropes an. I thank them [those] guys with all my heart. “
On Satur.ay night, Álvarez an. García walke. .own a hallway in the bowels of the American Airlines Center, the present of boxing alongsi.e the future of boxing. Álvarez put an arm over Garcia’s shoul.er an. patte. his protégé on the chest. “I’m so prou.,” Alvarez sai., a message you can be sure the worl. hear.: Garcia relaye. the exchange via Instagram.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.