Ryan Garcia kicked off the year with a bang by knocking out 2012 Olympics gold medalist Luke Campbell.
The win came with some adversity, as Garcia survived a second-round knockdown only to come back and score a seventh-round stoppage.
The drama has only continued from there. Garcia was scheduled to fight Javier Fortuna in July but pulled out of the fight citing mental health issues. After his reprieve from the ring, Garcia was nearing a return, as an announcement for a fight against Joseph Diaz Jr. was imminent this month. However, Garcia sustained a right wrist injury that needed surgery, again forcing him to the sidelines.
In addition to sharing a gym and trainer Eddy Reynoso with Garcia, pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez also serves as a mentor to the 23-year-old.
Alvarez believes Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is squandering his shot at living up to his superstar potential.
“Look, Ryan has a lot of talent. But to me in my eyes, he’s wasting a lot of time and wasting his talent. I look at him and don’t see him 100 percent dedicated and, to us, that’s a bad signal,” Alvarez told Complex. “We always remind him as a team to come to the gym, to train, and to learn because you need to be in the gym. You’re learning day-by-day, at the very minimum fighting five times a year. When I was beginning my career, I did 15 fights in one year. That’s where I was at the beginning of my career. So definitely he needs to be a little more dedicated.”
Garcia fought just once in 2020 and will fight just once this year as well. On the flipside, Alvarez will be fighting for the fourth time in 11 months when he takes on Caleb Plant on Nov. 6 on Showtime pay per view as he looks to cement his legacy with undisputed super middleweight supremacy.
Alvarez’s revealing statement perhaps pulls back the curtain on what’s been an uneven year for Garcia.
He could also be trying to give Garcia a wake up call, because he is leading by example.
In May, Alvarez told BoxingScene.com “We are here to support [Garcia]. He’s going to be back soon. He needs a little time. He knows what happened. We are a team, and we will support him in every way and moment.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com