The pros and cons of Ryan Garcia training with Derrick James

Ryan Garcia is one of the hot topics in the sport of boxing. With a huge following, millions of fans want to see what he does next despite not having won a world title despite campaigning in three different weight classes; super featherweight, lightweight, and junior welterweight (Garcia’s current weight class). 

On Thursday, May 18th, Garcia made it publicly known that he is leaving his Southern California home to head to Dallas, Texas, and train with Derrick James. James has been Errol Spence Jr.’s coach for his whole professional career, as well as led Jermell Charlo to become a four-belt undisputed junior middleweight champion. 

Over the past two years, James has added to his stable including the edition of lightweight Frank Martin and recently heavyweight superstar, Anthony Joshua. Garcia is yet another superstar fighter James will work with as images surfaced via social media. 

Let’s explore the pros and cons of this relationship. 

The Good.

James’ elite trait as a coach is discipline. None of James’ fighters are out-of-shape, nor under-prepared. James is a coach, who demands a certain level of execution in the gym but seems to work with each fighter based on their personality. For example, Jermell Charlo is a fighter, who left his previous coach, Ronnie Shields, who is an old-school direct communicator. James has been able to get the most out of Charlo while not having issues with the prizefighter based on his way to communicate while keeping up a major emphasis on working hard in the gym.

Looking at an emerging talent such as Frank Martin. Martin was unsigned during the COVID-19 pandemic and fighting on regional shows. James has begun to work with him, and with each opportunity some of which being hard 50-50 fights, such as the Michel Rivera bout, Martin has risen to the occasion. 

Garcia in the past has talked about depression and mental health, this is where James excels. James is a good coach, but he might be the best communicator in the sport of boxing. If Garcia wants to put the work in, James seems to be someone who will directly assess what is occurring with the fighter.

The Bad.

Is Garcia just going to an extremely popular gym filled with some of the most famous fighters in the world? Errol Spence Jr., Anthony Joshua, and Jermell Charlo are some of the most influential fighters. One might be cynical and look at when Garcia went to the Reynoso camp, training beside Canelo Alvarez, and left after a short period of time. Without counting Garcia’s father, Henry Garcia, this will be Ryan Garcia’s third coach in essentially three years. 

The fear some might have is this is yet another example of Garcia being around a famous trainer, that gets people talking but doesn’t improve his ranking in the sport of boxing. Garcia has made millions of dollars, but has yet to fight for a world title - as his pay-per-view fight against Gervonta Davis, was a catchweight bout with no belts on the line. 

The bad could be the intentions. Is Ryan Garcia joining forces with Derrick James to be the best fighter he can be, or is he trying to surround himself with famous people to generate more interest in his next fight? We truly don’t know. 


The In-Between

Seeing Garcia back in the gym shows passion and an interest in the sport, which we haven’t seen until the Gervonta Davis fight. Garcia has the talent of a world champion, but he also has a slew of interests not unlike most people in the modern era. The problem is…greatness is often boring. 

Does Garcia with his massive following, and ability to jump into modeling and acting, have the drive and hunger to pursue boxing strictly with so many other options out there for him? We don’t know - but in a world where the substance is often thrown to the side, Garcia has a lot of substance, we just need to see the fights to let him define his legacy, if that is what he wants. 




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