Ryan Garcia has seemingly confirmed that the fight between himself and Jorge Linares is set to happen on July 11th. While De La Hoya and Golden Boy have also confirmed the date and fight arrangements, the current situation still stops the fight from being an ironclad deal.
There has been a lot of speculation about this fight for a while. Garcia has been calling out Linares publicly, somewhat aggressively, since last year. After each of his most recent fights, with interviews on various sites, and over social media, Garcia has found time to call out Linares. He’s obviously very keen to raise the level and put his abilities to the test against a tried and tested champion. He’s been very vocal with his opinion that he’ll destroy Linares with no problems.
“He’s going to be retired after my fight”
This is what Garcia said back in March about his Linares. These are big words and we believe he believes them. He’s as full of confidence as any 21-year-old is, even one without a 20-0 record, an 85% KO rate and wins over fellow top-prospects Romero Duno and Francisco Fonseca. But, this match with Jorge Linares is a big step up, even for Garcia.
Linares gave Loma a real fight.
Garcia has faced some great competition and has undeniably shown his excellence in the ring. However, Linares is a seasoned fighter, with former-world-champion bragging rights in three weight classes, and is a man who gave pound-for-pound King Vasyl Lomachenko a genuine war in 2018. Linares knocked Loma down in the 6th, had the fight held even on the scorecards and wasn’t slowing down in the 10th before being put down by a monstrous Loma liver shot.
Linares might be on the tail end of his career, but he still represents the stiffest competition Ryan Garcia will have faced by far. Garcia said “He’s an old lion. I’m going to get him out of there”, all well and good, but a lion is a lion. We’ve all watched enough boxing, and Discovery channel, to know that old lions have often upset, aggressive young Cubs who tried to take over too soon. Most recently, Pacquiao showed Keith Thurman that even a 40-year-old lion is not done yet.
Linares has experience boxing some of the best to ever do it. Linares himself was once a 21-year-old phenom in Garcia’s shoes. He won the WBC Featherweight title at 22, he won the WBC Super-Featherweight title at 23. He fought undefeated for 7 years, going 27-0, and is currently 47-5. This is an impressive resume, one that Garcia might not truly understand the quality of.
Is Garcia ready?
Garcia is, without a doubt, one of the most skillful fighters to emerge in recent years. If we were ranking the under-21s he’d likely be pound for pound king. If we were ranking the under 25-year-olds, he’d be in the conversation. But he’s still a developing fighter, he still lacks experience, and he has still yet to be truly tested. Garcia hasn’t yet faced an opponent who has taken him to truly deep waters, not just the later rounds, but the very ends of his thresholds of endurance, pain, and heart. He has also shown gaps in his technique, flawless as it may appear.
When Garcia throws his left hook, he drops his right hand. Almost every time. If I have noticed this, as a boxing writer and from-the-couch-only boxing pundit, you can bet Linares and the other top-flight Lightweights will have too. They’ll be aware of many gaps I haven’t seen too. They’ll be aware of gaps Garcia hasn’t seen. They’ll be aware of gaps even his trainers haven’t seen. There are levels to the game, and only getting to the top, qualifies you to be at the top.
Garcia might be ready, we don’t know yet, he’ll have to show us on July 11th. One thing is for sure though, Linares is ready for a fighter like Garcia, and he has been for a long time.