The long-awaited ring return of Ryan Garcia didn’t answer all questions of his potential in the loaded lightweight division.
It did, however, cement his status as box-office gold.
Garcia traveled to Texas for his second straight fight, this time coming off a fifteen-month layoff in a dominant points win over Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe. Their April 9 DAZN headliner from Alamodome in San Antonio produced a live gate of $1,307,735 from 12,314 tickets sold according to the final tax invoice provided by Golden Boy Promotions to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com.
Another 1,342 complimentary tickets were issued for the show, bringing the total fan attendance to 13,656. The official attendance announced on fight night was 14,459, which accounts for every person in the building.
Tickets were sold at five available price points, ranging from $40-250. Every price point was an increase from Garcia’s previous fight, a seventh-round knockout of England’s Luke Campbell last January 2 in Dallas, Texas. A live gate of $353,835 was produced from 4,218 tickets sold for the event from a socially distanced American Airlines Center in Dallas, in accordance with Covid restrictions at the time.
Garcia (22-0, 18KO) nearly quadrupled his total ticket sales from his previous appearance. The strong pull speaks to the drawing power of the unbeaten 23-year-old from Victorville, California, given the relative anonymity of his opponent. Tagoe (32-2, 15KOs) entered as a legitimate top ten contender and riding a 32-fight win streak, but who was out of the ring since November 2020 and with minimal profile in the U.S. boxing market, never mind the box office.
The event marked the fourth time in six fights where Garcia has fought outside of his home state and second in a row as a headlining act away from California. The rising lightweight contender routinely drew large crowds even as a developing prospect in his home state, having already enjoyed a sizable social media presence before emerging as one to watch in the ring.
Garcia has also emerged as far and away the biggest attraction on the Golden Boy Promotions roster. That status was confirmed in his win over Campbell, which drew a passionate crowd and created a massive buzz online and with mainstream outlets. The January 2021 show marked Golden Boy’s first card following its messy split with four-division champion and box-office blockbuster Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs), who was Garcia’s stablemate at the time.
The April 9 card marked the first for Garcia since leaving Alvarez’s camp which is run by two-time and reigning Trainer of the Year Eddy Reynoso. Garcia hired renowned cornerman Joe Goossen, with whom he briefly trained as an amateur and revisited this past February to help prepare for his well-received ring return.
Plans remain fluid for Garcia’s next fight, which is tentatively eyed for July 16. The date is not yet confirmed, nor is an opponent or location for the occasion although the WBC has recently ordered a title eliminator between Garcia and Mexico’s Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz who is coming off a fifth-round knockout of Yuriorkis Gamboa one week after Garcia’s win over Tagoe.
A fight between Garcia and Cruz would establish a mandatory challenger for WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney, who will face unbeaten lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champ George Kambosos in an undisputed championship clash on June 4 in Melbourne, Australia. Also waiting in the wings is secondary WBA lightweight titlist and massive box-office attraction Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (26-0, 24KOs), whose mandatory title defense versus Rolando Romero (14-0, 12KOs) is nearly sold out for their May 28 Showtime Pay-Per-View event from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Many in the industry view a Davis-Garcia fight as among the biggest to be made at least in the U.S. market, a claim supported by the current ticket sales trend for both boxers.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox