Ryan Garcia has pressed pause on his own vow to no longer call out divisional rivals.
The unbeaten lightweight contender is an interested observer for Saturday’s bout between Mexico City’s Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz and Miami’s Yuriorkis Gamboa. The bout—which is part of a Showtime Pay-Per-View event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas—comes one week after Garcia returned following a 15-month ring absence, outpointing Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe over twelve rounds atop an April 9 DAZN show from Alamodome in San Antonio.
Following the win, Garcia insisted that he would no longer name drop any future targets given how many fights fell through in a 2021 campaign to forget. However, an exception was made as he begins to focus on his next ring appearance this summer.
“[Isaac] Cruz, let’s get it on,” Garcia exclaimed Friday on social media, shortly after Cruz came back to make weight for Saturday’s bout with Gamboa after badly missing on his first attempt. “Everyone else has a fight. If you win [on Saturday] against Gamboa, I say we get that one on next!”
The claim of everyone else having a fight is in reference to all of the division’s top players already locked in for upcoming springtime fights.
Lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion George Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs) next faces WBC titlist Devin Haney (27-0, 15KOs) for the undisputed lightweight championship June 5 (June 4 in U.S.) on ESPN from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The fight comes one week after secondary WBA lightweight titlist Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (26-0, 24KOs) defends against mandatory challenger and bitter rival Rolando Romero (14-0, 12KOs) atop a Showtime PPV from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
That leaves Garcia (22-0, 18KOs) on the prowl to secure another relevant opponent for his next fight, which he hopes will come no later than mid-summer.
Representatives for Garcia (22-0, 18KOs) and Cruz (22-2-1, 15KOs) previously discussed such a fight, though talks eventually broke down over a disagreement on which platform should carry the fight.
Garcia is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, who has enjoyed a working relationship with DAZN since late 2018. Cruz regularly fights on Showtime platforms under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and through his affiliation with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions whose president Sean Gibbons attempted to reach a deal with Garcia’s team.
A fight with Cruz was at the top of Garcia’s list for his first bout since his seventh-round knockout of England’s Luke Campbell last January 2 in Dallas. Once talks stalled, Golden Boy founder and chairman Oscar De La Hoya—the Hall of Fame former six-division champion—went public with the claim that Cruz rejected what would have been a career—high payday, while Garcia suggested the fighter known as ‘Pitbull’ was “more like a Chihuahua.”
Gibbons fired back at the time that his side was “happy to discuss giving this fight the platform it deserves. On Pay-Per-View, with a legitimate network. Don’t you believe Ryan Garcia is ready to become a pay-per-view star?”
Both fighters quickly moved on, fittingly fighting one week apart. Cruz settled on Gamboa in his first fight since a narrow points loss to Davis last December 5, the defeat snapping an eighteen-fight unbeaten streak.
Garcia landed on a fight with Tagoe (32-2, 15KOs), who put forth a defensive-minded effort in snapping his own 32-fight win streak. The fight marked Garcia’s first time going twelve rounds, though escaping unscathed and eager to enjoy an active 2022 campaign.
“Early July? Or even end of June,” wondered Garcia of a possible Cruz fight with a win on Saturday. “Let’s have it!”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox