What Kind Of Night Is In Store With Ryan Garcia?
(Coming up tonight in San Antonio, TX, it’s the return of unbeaten, star Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia. And Big Fight Weekend content contributor Dan Rafael has the breakdown, including the opponent Emmanuel Tagoe of Ghana, from his own Substack.com coverage.)
After a difficult 15 months, lightweight star Ryan Garcia is set for his much anticipated return to the ring.
He will face big underdog Emmanuel Tagoe in a scheduled 12-round bout contracted at 139 pounds in the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card on Saturday (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET) at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
A victory, especially if by exciting knockout, will go a long way to re-igniting Garcia’s momentum and set him up for potentially major fights later in the year.
The reasons for his time off since getting off the deck from a hard second-round knockdown to storm back and eventually knock out former world title challenger and Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in the seventh round in January 2021 have been well documented.
First, he had mental health issues, which he has been open about. They forced him to pull out of a July fight with Javier Fortuna to seek therapy so he could deal with anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Then, when he was ready to return for a November fight with Golden Boy stablemate Joseph Diaz Jr., Garcia again was forced to withdraw, this time because of a right wrist/hand injury that requited surgery.
But now Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), 23, of Victorville, California, — his mental health and hand in good shape, he says — is excited to get back to work doing what loves to do, which is fight.
“I miss everything about boxing: the competition, the contact, destroying someone,” Garcia said this week. “Seeing the shot; knowing where it is going to land; knowing that the timing is just perfect. I just love to fight and just be better than the person in front of me.
“This is going to be an exciting fight from me. You can expect timing and explosion. I don’t look to toss someone around for a couple of rounds. If I land a good one, you can expect that I am going to be looking to take someone out.
“Boxing is part of me. I have been doing this since I was 7 years old and I am good at it. I know that I still have a lot left to give to the sport. I feel pretty safe in the ring. I am not taking a beating. Even in sparring I don’t feel like I am getting hit with a lot of shots. And fortunately, I am healthy enough to continue to fight at a high level and give fans some amazing fights. I feel great and I am going to make every day count.”
Garcia will be making his return with a new look in his corner. He had a well-publicized split in February with reigning trainer of the year Eddy Reynoso and his star pupil, Canelo Alvarez. Garcia claimed Reynoso did not have enough time to train him because he was busy with other boxers and there were also some harsh words from Alvarez, who called Garcia out by claiming he was not as dedicated to boxing as he should be.
HEAR Dan Rafael’s preview thoughts on Garcia vs. Tagoe in the Golden Boy Promotions main event on our “Big Fight Weekend Podcast” here;
So, Garcia left their San Diego gym for his own gym in San Diego and called on veteran trainer Joe Goossen, who has trained several world champions, including brothers Rafael and Gabriel Ruelas, Michael Nunn, Diego Corrales, Joel Casamayor and Shane Mosley.
Garcia and Goossen have known each other since Garcia was 17 and trained him at one point during his amateur career. They’ve maintained a friendship since and when called upon Goossen agreed to train him.
“I have a connection with Joe from when I was an amateur,” Garcia said. “He was training me a little bit. Joe is an old-school guy and I feel like I have an old-school soul when it comes to the sport. We just have really good chemistry. We get along as people and as friends. Joe can also bring out a lot of out of you. He brings out a lot of grit
“I try to do more than the average hard worker and Joe is like that too. I give it my all in everything that I do. We try to push the limits a lot. He is the perfect combination for me, someone that is on it 24/7. We’re always talking about boxing. For me, that has been the most refreshing part of this camp — that I can have someone I can talk to about boxing all day long.”
Goossen has raved about Garcia’s work ethic and believes he can take him to a world title.
“I knew he had something special,” Goossen said. “We got along and there was something about him that appealed to me personality wise and fighting wise. He’s really attacking this like he’s obsessed and possessed. I’m genuinely impressed.”
Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs), 33, of Ghana, whose only loss came in his 2004 professional debut, has a light resume but been looking for an opportunity to test himself against a top opponent.
“Tagoe is a veteran,” Garcia said. “He is going to try his best to keep me off of him, to survive. His goal, I think, is to not get knocked out. I know he has been saying that facing me will be easy. But I can say one thing — my job is to not make his life easy in that ring. Fans should be ready to see me give this fight everything I got If he can take a shot, it will be a good fight. If he can’t, he will be out of there very quick.”
Tagoe is talking a good game at least.
“I think I have the tools to knock out Ryan,” he said. “This fight is an opportunity for me to showcase myself. I came here to knock out Ryan Garcia. I think he’s good but he’s not my size. I can’t wait for Saturday. I’m going to show everyone.”