Ryan Garcia annihilates Romero Duno
By Max Warren
Some boxing fans have heavily criticized Ryan Garcia (19-0, 16KOs) in the past, suggesting that he is a social media star rather than a future prizefighter. He possesses over 3 million followers on Instagram, and is more popular than many active champions.
This fact rubs some boxing purists the wrong way, as they believe he is too “entitled” for his current standing. His most recent opponent, Romero Duno, has been annihilating opponents since he made his U.S. debut against Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez in 2017, an upset KO victory that was his coming out party.
Garcia was slated to face Philadelphia fighter Avery Sparrow on September 14th, but after Sparrow was arrested by U.S. Marshalls for an outstanding gun charge, the fight was called off. Golden Boy Promotions tried to set up a replacement match between Garcia and Duno (Romero Duno was scheduled to fight on the same card), but Garcia wasn’t satisfied with Golden Boy’s purse offers, wanting more money since the fight was on one-days’ notice.
Suddenly, a soap opera erupted. Garcia felt slighted that he wasn’t offered enough, and Golden Boy CEO Eric Gomez posted on Twitter that Garcia didn’t want the fight since Duno was too strong an opponent to face on such short notice. Friction between Garcia and his promoter intensified, and many believed he wouldn’t fight under the Golden Boy Banner again.
Duno still fought on the September 14th card, stopping Ivan Delgado inside the distance. After the fight, he wore a shirt that read, “Ryan Garcia, stop running.” This made Garcia hungry to face him.
After Duno’s knockout win over Delgado, many in the boxing world suggested that the dominant performance demonstrated why Garcia’s team was reluctant to face Duno on short-notice. The uproar from fans and the media led Garcia to take the initiative, and face Duno on the Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev co-feature.
Garcia vs. Duno was billed as Garcia’s toughest test to date and a true stepping-stone match-up. Duno was expected to pressure Garcia all night, and not give the up-and-coming prospect any breathing room. Many believed that Garcia would have a difficult time once he was put in front of a dangerous opponent with quality punching ability. Over the past year, he has been criticized as an overrated prospect, protected from high-level opposition.
Garcia detractors licked their chops before he fought Duno, expecting the rising star to be exposed. It turns out that spoilers get exposed as well. Garcia ended up looking as sharp as any young fighter in the sport, knocking out Duno in the opening round.
He peppered Duno from the outside with snappy punches for the first minute and a half, until finally knocking him out with a swift left hook to the temple. Garcia’s work under the tutelage of Eddie Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer, is paying off. Ryan keeps improving his ring acumen, and his speed and athleticism have always accompanied him.
While it appeared at one point that Garcia was going to have a difficult time stepping up in opposition, he showed that he has an abundance of potential. Many expected the fight to go the distance, and for Garcia to fade in the later rounds. Instead, he made it look easy.
The match was much shorter than the Russian national anthem that preceded the main event between Canelo and Kovalev.
It’s safe to say, Ryan Garcia surprised many of us.