By Allan Fox: Contender Ryan Garcia says he views IBF lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez, as a “desperate” fighter for calling him out rather than the other way around. Teofimo, 22, has made it clear that he would like to defend his IBF title against the young 21-year-old Golden Boy fighter ‘Kingry’ Garcia.
In Ryan’s mind, he feels that Teofimo is showing not only desperation by calling him out, but also a signal that he views him as on top. Ryan says it no longer means anything nowadays to be a world champion because fighters are “gifted” titles by the sanctioning bodies.
It’s easy for Ryan to turn up his nose at the idea of being a world champion. He’s got all those followers on social media. He doesn’t need to be a champion to have fans following him, but it would be a different story if he weren’t popular.
In that case, Ryan would need to call out fighters in the same way that Teofimo and many others do. With Ryan’s millions of followers, he’s living in a different world than the average boxer.
Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) would be a very tough opponent for Ryan Garcia, and it’s unknown who wins that one. Lopez is far more advanced than the fighters that Ryan has been facing since he turned pro.
Titles only matter for the less popular fighters
With Garcia’s comment about fighters being gifted belts, he doesn’t say who specifically he’s talking about. Still, this may be a jab at two-time WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, who twice has been GIVEN his title outside of the ring without earning.
In other words, Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) didn’t need to fight anyone to capture his WBC 135-pound belt. He was elevated to that position by the World Boxing Council.
The world title belts DO mean something when a fighter lacks a large following. Having a world title helps the non-popular champions receive validation from casual boxing fans, who have little knowledge about the sport.
With that said, when a boxer becomes popular like Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather Jr., titles become meaningless trinkets are unimportant. That’s why Canelo was the A-side as the belt-less challenger when he fought IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017.
Additionally, that’s also why Mayweather can make massive money in boxing fights against guys like Conor McGregor without any titles on the line. Belts only matter for the fighters that have small fan bases.
Teofimo Lopez showing desperation – says, Garcia
“I was literally, man. He’s definitely desperate. I don’t even know. And I have to pick and choose who I respond to,” said Ryan Garcia to SiriusXM and DAZN’s The Ak and Barak Show in talking about Teofimo Lopez.
“I have respect for his skills, but I have respect for his skills, but I just think he’s as desperate as they come.
“It’s not that he’s not on my level. It’s that he sounds too desperate,” continued Ryan Garcia on Teofimo. “You’re a desperate person. The thing is like this. They always talk about, ‘Ryan Garcia is not a world champion. Who is he?’ But you’re calling me out?
“What does that tell you? It tells you that I’m at the top. To me, I’m at the top. If I’m a world champion, I’m not going to call out somebody. They better come to me. I’m not calling out anybody. I’m the champ, and if I’m going to hold that honor,” said Ryan Garcia.
Teofimo is still young at 22, so he needs to beat popular guys like Ryan for him to become a big name. Although Teofimo is the IBF champion, he beat a non-popular belt holder in Richard Commey.
Teofimo gained nothing in beating Commey other than his paper title. For Teofimo to increase his popularity, he needs to overcome a popular champion like Vasily Lomachenko.
As I mentioned, fighters that have a large fan base don’t need world titles. King Garcia, with his six million social media followers, he’s above the world champions in terms of fan interest. Like all sports, boxing is the entertainment business.
If you’ve got the fans that watching you more than the belt-holders, then than puts you above them. Boxing is an upside-down sport in comparison to the NFL or NBA.
Boxing needs to be regulated
In those sports, you receive respect when you fight in the playoffs and Super Bowl. But in boxing, it’s because there are so many titles due to the numerous sanctioning bodies.
That’s why fans don’t know who the champions are, and they don’t care as much anymore. In the eyes of some fans, the sanctioning bodies have hurt boxing. There’s no overriding organization that limits them. There are four major sanctioning bodies right now, but you can expect the number to keep creeping upwards in the future.
Unless the sport of boxing is regulated, you’re probably going to see more and more world titles being produced. Look at the WBA, for example. They have two champions for each weight class. The WBC has several different title belts that they hand out like candy to famous fighters, and it’s a real mess.
Ryan Garcia not concerned with paper titles
“You’re a world champion calling me a ‘b****.’ But your main thing is, ‘Who’s Ryan Garcia. He isn’t a world champ.’ But that’s OK.
“To me, nowadays, world titles don’t mean s***,” said Ryan Garcia. “Do you want to know why? Because anybody in boxing can get a world title.
“You are gifted a world title. Not back in the day. Those guys had to really beat the champ. So to me, you guys can have the title as world champ. I’ll have the title of the best fighter in the world. How about that?” said Ryan Garcia.
At this point, Teofimo can’t afford to be proud and wait for the popular contenders and champions to look his way. Teofimo needs to call them out because he’s still just an upstart, and unlike Ryan Garcia, he doesn’t have six million followers on social media.
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. started out, he wasn’t a popular fighter. The way that Mayweather made his name was by beating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, and from there, it was all gravy.
The same with Manny Pacquiao. He became a massive star in the U.S after he destroyed De La Hoya. It’s essential for the old popular lions to face the younger fighters to