Ryan Garcia vs. Javier Fortuna fight prediction, undercard, start time, odds, preview, expert pick
Ryan Garcia has become a polarizing figure in boxing, but fans and critics agree on one thing: they want to see the 23-year-old take a step up in his level of competition. T
To do so, Garcia first needs to get past Javier Fortuna in their lightweight clash on Saturday night at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles (8 p.m., DAZN).
Despite being young, Garcia (22-0, 18 KO) has shown tremendous promise with speed and power to go along with solid size for the 135-pound division.
He also has amassed a large following on social media, making him one of boxing's most visible stars while also offending many traditionalists in a sport that has dragged behind the times for decades as a fighter who "cares more about his social media than boxing."
Garcia has done everything asked of him in the ring to date, with his lone stumble coming in a bout with Luke Campbell for the interim WBC lightweight title. In that fight, Garcia ate a left hand in the second round that dropped him to the canvas
Garcia was able to quickly get to his feet and got back on track before landing a beautiful left hook to the body in Round 8 that forced Campbell to take two steps backward before taking a knee and accepting a 10-count.
Garcia was set to face Fortuna in July 2021 but withdrew from the bout to address mental-health concerns. He then withdrew from a planned November bout with Joseph Diaz Jr.,
the man who'd stepped in and defeated Fortuna when Garcia pulled out of the fight. Again, Garcia pulled out of a fight, this time needing surgery to fix a hand injury. He returned to the ring this past February, taking a unanimous decision over a very awkward Emmanuel Tagoe.
While dominating overmatched opponents, Garcia has constantly talked up fights with the other young stars in the talent-loaded lightweight division, including Devin Haney and social media rival Gervonta "Tank" Davis. That level of step-up fight needs to come eventually, but it may not be after the fight with Fortuna.
The other interesting angle is that this fight is not actually taking place at lightweight. The two camps agreed to a catchweight of 140 pounds for this fight and Garcia hinted at possibly moving up to junior welterweight full time.
"I was thinking the other day that I might never go back to 135," Garcia said during an interview with DAZN.