Ryan Garcia’s name has recently been attached to two fights ordered by sanctioning bodies. The first came about a week ago, when the WBC ordered Garcia vs Luke Campbell, after Javier Fortuna declined to fight Campbell and signed on to face Jorge Linares on Aug. 28 in stead.
The second order came from the WBO, who were offering Garcia vs Emmanuel Tagoe in a final eliminator for their lightweight title, currently held by Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Garcia had quickly said on social media that he was ready for the fight with Campbell, and now The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire says that Garcia has more formally accepted that fight, and that negotiations between the parties will begin.
The WBC’s lightweight situation is a mess and has been since last August, when they let Top Rank talk them into giving Lomachenko a fight with Luke Campbell for the vacant belt, despite Lomachenko already holding the WBA and WBO titles, which meant he wasn’t actually in the WBC rankings.
So now we’re at Garcia-Campbell, which is a terrific fight if it gets made. Campbell (20-3, 16 KO) is a solid veteran contender, a 32-year-old southpaw and former Olympic gold medalist, good skills, tested as a pro against high-level opposition. Garcia (20-0, 17 KO) is a 21-year-old would-be phenom, doubted by many because he’s the Tiger Beat fighter, but with some obvious gifts and skills, and perhaps a bit more decent experience as a pro than he gets credit for given his age and experience level. Not that they’re great fighters, but he has fought guys like Jayson Velez, Carlos Morales, and Romero Duno, who are solid opponents for a very young fighter.
Campbell, though, would be an obvious and noteworthy step up, and end of the day even the doubters or “haters” are really just asking for that, in particular because Garcia himself has been asking for that sort of thing lately, saying he’s ready to fight top guys. Well, here’s a chance, or at the very least a major step toward the very top guys if you don’t consider Campbell to be a very top guy.