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Oscar De La Hoya: Ryan Garcia will be the most popular fighter on the planet

Image: Oscar De La Hoya: Ryan Garcia will be the most popular fighter on the planet

By Jeff Aronow: Oscar De La Hoya is predicting great things for Ryan Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) with his career if he defeats Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) this Saturday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

De La Hoya predicts that the 22-year-old Garcia will soon be the most popular boxer on the planet, which is a massive prediction. Ryan is already hugely popular with his 7 million+ followers on social media, but he hasn’t done anything in boxing to become popular with the fans.

The people that follow Ryan on social media aren’t necessarily boxing fans. They’re young kids caught up by Ryan’s looks and his personality.

For Ryan to become the most popular fighter with actual boxing fans, he’ll need to defeat the 33-year-old Campbell on Saturday and then clean out the 135, 130, and possibly the 140-lb divisions of all the top guys.

King Ryan and Campbell will be meeting in the main event on DAZN this Saturday and January 2nd. The expected start time for the Garcia vs. Campbell fight is at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Ryan Garcia vs. Luke Campbell will be a great fight

“I’m hoping we can get back to normal and move on, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing on January 2nd with Ryan Garcia and Luke Campbell,” said Oscar De La Hoya to Gareth A Davies.

“We’re going to give the fight fans watching on DAZN some great, great entertainment. Just as what we can do as promoters, just to give you a little pause and a little break from what we’re living for 30 minutes of your time.

Image: Oscar De La Hoya: Ryan Garcia will be the most popular fighter on the planet

“We’re going to give you a great fight with Campbell and Ryan Garcia. If you look at the lightweight division starting with Ryan Garcia and Luke Campbell, you have Tank Davis, you have Devin Haney, Teofimo, and [Shakur] Stevenson.

“You have all these fighters, if they’re willing to fight each other and put all the politics aside, these fights can happen and not hide behind their promoters and managers, we could potentially have the biggest year in boxing,” said De La Hoya.

It’ll be a great fight for De La Hoya is the 22-year-old Ryan Garcia wins, but it could be a disaster for Golden Boy Promotions if Campbell exposes him.

Campbell is a highly advanced fighter with a ton of experience in the amateurs and the pro game, and he’s not someone you want to fight if you’re not ready.

Ryan is the one that wanted the fight with Campbell, and it appears that Oscar is going along with it. A more experienced promoter like Bob Arum likely wouldn’t have let Ryan face Campbell this early.

Luke Campbell is a dangerous fight for Ryan

“The only thing that is keeping him from doing that is himself just like every other fighter that has that it-factor,” said Garcia. “I think this fight with Luke Campbell will be a very dangerous fight.

“You can say and make the argument that it’s his first real fight. So we don’t know if it’s going to happen, but if he does pull this one off, obviously the sky is the limit for Ryan Garcia.

Image: Oscar De La Hoya: Ryan Garcia will be the most popular fighter on the planet

“Social media has brought the world together, and Ryan Garcia can be and will be the most popular fighter on the planet,” said De La Hoya.

“Given his age, given the fact that early on in his career, he still hasn’t won a world title yet, and this is going to be his first real test,” Osar said of Ryan.

“I think it’s the it-factor, and when we talk about that it-factor, you can say it’s his abilities to perform in the ring to adjust, said De La Hoya about Ryan Garcia that made him want to match him against Campbell.

“He’s [Ryan] got the speed, he’s got the power, but he’s got the it-factor. The it-factor, you’re basically born with it. It’s an instinctual factor that he brings to the ring that is hard to explain.

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“That it-factor is fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, and fighters like myself, Floyd Mayweather, and Canelo, you have that you have that it-factor.

“When I first contacted Ryan Garcia, he had two fights as a pro. I found that it-factor, and he had that presence.

“He’s obviously proving that time after time. He’s a young kid that I believe has the potential and is designed to become great,” said De La Hoya.

A win for Ryan Garcia on Saturday night against Campbell will substantially increase his popularity, especially if he knocks him out early.

Campbell, 33, has never been knocked out before during his professional career, and it would be quite a statement by Ryan to stop him brutally.

As far as Ryan becoming the most popular fighter on the planet, it doesn’t sound realistic right now.

He has to beat too many top guys for him to take that spot, and it’s unclear whether he has the overall talent needed to get to the level of the most popular fighter on the planet.

Oscar: Ryan will be the biggest star in boxing history

“I believe that Ryan Garcia, if he stays on track, will become the largest and the biggest possibly in boxing history,” said Ryan.” It all depends on him.

“We strongly feel this is the perfect fight, the perfect platform for him to take off to new heights to become that destined fighter.

Image: Oscar De La Hoya: Ryan Garcia will be the most popular fighter on the planet

“First things first, January 2nd, and that’s why it’s going to be so important for boxing and for Ryan. Obviously, for Luke Campbell, you can’t take anything away from him.

“He’s a fighter that is serious, he’s destined, he’s won an Olympic gold medal. This is going to be one of those fights where if Campbell can stay focused and not freeze in front of those lights the way that Callum Smith did against Canelo, then he can really do some damage up there with Ryan Garcia.

“We’ve got to wait and see. That first bell is going to be the determining factor in how this fight plays out. It just depends on both fighters. We’ll see. I believe he can,” De La Hoya said when asked if Ryan Garcia can knockout Campbell.

“I strongly believe that Ryan Garcia can make a huge statement by stopping or knocking out Luke Campbell.

“But again, it depends on how they come out in the opening bell That first punch, that first reaction is going to be the determining factor. It always is for fighters,” said De La Hoya.

Oscar is wearing his promoter’s hat when he states that Ryan can be the biggest star in boxing history. If Ryan is matched carefully the way De La Hoya did with Canelo Alvarez, he can become a tremendous star.

It’s important that De La Hoya save Ryan from himself and not let him foul up his career by taking on talented fighters he’s not ready for.

For example, Ryan Garcia has talked nonstop during the promotion for the Campbell fight about his plans to face Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis next.

It’s widely believed by boxing fans that Ryan will be making a grave mistake if he takes on Tank, Teofimo Lopez, or even Devin Haney at this point.

Ryan isn’t ready for any of them right now. He might not even be ready for Campbell on Saturday night, a fight that could end badly for King Ryan.

Oscar feels he’d have beaten Ryan Garcia

“Probably without a doubt,” said De La Hoya when asked if he’d have beaten Ryan Garcia if he fought him in his prime at 135.

“I think obviously it’s different times, different circumstances. Ryan Garcia, this is his time, his era, his moment, and he’s been put on that platform and that stage to shine, and he loves it.

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“He’s proved over and over when those lights shine bright on him, he really knows how to take advantage of it,” De La Hoya said of King Ryan.

Most boxing fans familiar with De La Hoya’s career would likely pick him to make easy work of Ryan Garcia if the two fought when Oscar was young. De La Hoya was a lot more talented and not one-dimensional like Ryan.

Garcia hasn’t had the amateur career that De La Hoya, and he’s basically learning on the job as a pro. If Ryan can keep improving, maybe he’d be good enough to have beaten a young De La Hoya, but not now.

Ryan is a one-trick pony right now, as far as his offense goes. He has a left hook going for him, and not much else.

De La Hoya was a lot more balanced with his offensive game, and he could beat you with a jab alone, and his right hand was a big weapon. Oscar’s left hook was on Ryan’s level, but he was capable of doing a lot more.

De La Hoya still planning on returning

“Look, when Mike Tyson fought Roy Jones Jr, it was very inspirational,” De La Hoya about whether he plans on returning to the ring in 2021.

“I was extremely happy and proud about what Mike Tyson accomplished. But when that first bell rang, it shook the boxing world because we saw some movements and abilities that Mike Tyson only has.

Image: Oscar De La Hoya: Ryan Garcia will be the most popular fighter on the planet

It was inspiring to me, it really was, and I’ve been training now for six months. I feel amazing, I feel super, super good. I’m going to start sparring in a couple of weeks.

“Who knows? We’ll see, but I think the probability [of coming back] is very high. I think what Mike Tyson did was phenomenal. Tyson, thank you for the inspiration,” said De La Hoya.

The 47-year-old De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) might change his mind about making a comeback once he starts sparring because that’s when he’ll realize how old he’s gotten in the last 12 years.

De La Hoya retired from boxing after his eighth-round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2008, and he’s not seriously considered a comeback until recently.

Three years ago, De La Hoya briefly kicked around the idea of coming out of retirement to face Gennadiy Golovkin, but he changed his mind.

What’s encouraged De La Hoya to stick it out this time is the 54-year-old Mike Tyson, who looked decent in his exhibition match against Roy Jones Jr. Tyson didn’t lose his hand speed and power, and there’s a big difference between him and the Oscar looks.

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