Garcia: Defeat by Davis brought me back from the brink

Ryan Garcia fights Oscar Duarte Jurado driven by the demons of his first defeat.

The 25 year old on Saturday fights Duarte at the Toyota Center in Houston, aware for the first time that he can be beaten, as he was in April by Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

After being stopped at a catchweight of 136lbs he has returned to 140lbs, replaced Joe Goossen with Derrick James, and relocated from Los Angeles to Dallas. but it wasn’t until months after that defeat that it sunk in, and that he ultimately rediscovered his drive.

“At that time I wasn’t committed,” he said. “I wasn’t dedicated. I had a lot of things that I was still figuring out in life, and being in that place – I just didn’t care enough. I didn’t care about boxing. I was going through the motions because of all the layoffs, and all the bullshit I was going through. 

“I had to cut so much weight, and I was so frustrated I stopped caring. But I went through with it – even though I did suffer an injury in the gym and suffered so much stuff outside the ring, I just didn’t wanna either pull out or wait for a better time, because boxing was so damn boring.”

It was at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena and in his biggest fight that Garcia lost. He fights Duarte, 27 and of Mexico, on a Golden Boy Promotion despite their increasingly strained relationship and that fact that legal action is unfolding between Garcia and his promoters. 

“Nobody was boxing each other, and I was tired of that so I was like, ‘You know what? Let me go through with this and make a lot of money – I don’t even care’,” he continued of his defeat by Davis. “‘I’m gonna do it’, and that’s what I did. 

“It wasn’t tough for me, because I wasn’t shocked. That wasn’t me. I know that wasn’t me. I wasn’t my best. When it happened, I didn’t feel nothing. But about two months later, ‘Oh, I lost?’. It woke up something else. 

“I haven’t been this focused since when I was coming up in 2019 to 2020 – I was just on that rise. Something just clicked in my brain, and now I’m on fire. I really am.”