Golden Boy Promotions has settled on an opponent and a new date for the company’s biggest star.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that plans are finalized for a Ryan Garcia-Oscar Duarte junior welterweight bout to headline a December 2 DAZN show from Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Golden Boy chairman and co-founder Oscar De La Hoya revealed the plans to ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger for Garcia’s first fight back since his lone career defeat and as the two sides remain in a legal battle.
Duarte (26-1-1, 21KOs) was previously teased as a frontrunner to land the assignment, though at a time when the target date was November 18.
Golden Boy had holds on venues in both Texas and Arizona but have now settled on Alamodome, where Garcia returned last April 9 after a 15-month layoff to soundly outpoint streaking contender Emmanuel Tagoe.
Garcia went on to stop Javier Fortuna in the sixth round of their July 16 clash in Los Angeles. The fight marked his last appearance on a DAZN-exclusive telecast.
His lone fight of 2023 came in an April 22 seventh-round knockout defeat to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (29-0, 27KOs). The Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner remains the highest grossing event of the year, with a reported 1.2 million PPV units sold and a live gate of roughly $22.8 million in ticket sales from a sold-out crowd of 20,842 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The fight remains the year’s best-selling event and cemented Davis’ status as the leading draw in the industry.
It also solidified Garcia’s drawing power, though the night came with considerable fallout. The well-publicized event featured the first signs of trouble between promoter and fighter.
Hall of Famers and Golden Boy heads Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins were both fixtures throughout the promotion but noticeably absent from the post-fight press conference, as was Joe Goossen, Garcia’s trainer for more than a year. Garcia and Goossen subsequently parted ways, citing an amicable split.
The fallout between Garcia and his estranged promoter was anything but that. De La Hoya took their beef public, calling out his star client on Twitter prior to a still-active lawsuit filed against the Victorville, California native.
It is believed that the two sides will find common ground for the sake of Garcia fighting later this fall, with hopes that the October 18 mediation session will help resolve any lingering issues.
Garcia was previously a top lightweight contender, his last bout at the weight coming in a seventh-round knockout of 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former title challenger Luke Campbell. It also marked his final fight under the tutelage of trainer Eddy Reynoso, with whom he trained since late 2018. His three fights aligned with Goossen all came above the lightweight limit, including 2022 wins over Emmanuel Tagoe and Javier Fortuna.
Garcia has since joined the growing stable of 2022 Trainer of the Year Derrick James in the greater Dallas area. He has since revealed that he will be training in Las Vegas ahead of his planned return later this fall.
Duarte will move up in weight and class for the affair. The 27-year-old from Parral, Chihuahua rebounded from a February 2019 split decision defeat to Adrian Estrella with eleven straight wins, all inside the distance. A fight with Garcia would require a move up for Duarte, who has spent the bulk of his ten-year career at lightweight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox