Can Ryan Garcia handle Joseph Diaz Jr’s pressure?
By Dan Ambrose: Ryan Garcia will potentially be taking a big step up in class if he goes ahead and faces former super featherweight champion Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz Jr in September or October in his comeback fight.
Ryan has the hand speed, power, youth, and size to blast Diaz Jr if he catches him cleanly with one of his left hooks. However, it’s not a certainty that Ryan will be able to take Diaz Jr out. Luke Campbell made it to the seventh round against Ryan last January and dropped him in the second.
Diaz Jr. (32-1-1, 15 KOs) has the edge in experience over Ryan, and he’s got the pressure style of fighting that he’s never seen as a professional.
More importantly, Diaz’s punch resistance means that he’s got an excellent chance of withstanding Ryan’s power to drag him into the later rounds to make it a grueling fight.
On paper, this is a tougher fight for the 22-year-old Ryan Garcia than the one he pulled out of against Javier Fortuna. Those two were supposed to fight on July 9th, but Ryan canceled due to mental health problems related to anxiety.
Diaz Jr showed his grit by stepping in and defeating Fortuna by a 12 round unanimous decision.
Jo Jo Diaz Jr: Can he handle Ryan’s power?
“I like it a lot. I was skeptical about Jo Jo Diaz going into that match-up with Fortuna because I thought he naturally went up to 130-lbs,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN Boxing Show. “And I thought 135 was. He was just going there.
“He talked about how he physically felt better. Of course, you do. You don’t have to cut the extra five pounds of training camp. What I saw of Jo Jo Diaz at 135 was a fighter whose skills were replicated of what he was at 130 and 126.
“He went up against a good puncher in Javier Fortuna, and he was able to walk him down for the duration of the fight. So I think he’d be very competitive with Ryan Garcia.
“What what I questioned with Jo Jo Diaz in a Ryan Garcia fight is how does he respond to the kind of quick-twitch power that Ryan has?
“I mean, he’s faced speed before with Gary Russell Jr. He’s faced skill before with Tevin Farmer and Fortuna; he’s never faced that quick-twitch left hook power shot that Ryan Garcia can hit you with.
If you’re going to insist on being a pressure fighter throughout the course of that fight, the chances are you’re going to get caught with something.
“I’m not sure how he’s [JoJo Diaz] is going to respond by getting caught by a big 135-lb puncher like Ryan,” said Mannix.
Javier Fortuna did a lot of damage to Diaz Jr’s face in their fight on July 9th, but he ultimately ran out of gas in the championship rounds.
Diaz Jr might be able to deal with Ryan’s power and turn the fight into a war of attrition. It’s easy to foresee Jo Jo Diaz Jr. taking the fight to the inside to force Ryan to brawl at close range.
If Ryan’s power isn’t as lethal in close, he could be in for a really long night against Diaz Jr.
Ryan Garcia’s power will be the equalizer
“I think it’ll be very competitive,” Mannix continued about the Ryan Garcia vs. Joseph Diaz Jr fight. “Ryan, at times during his career, has not responded well to pressure, guys putting pressure on you, and Jo Jo is going to bring that to the level that Ryan probably hasn’t seen up until this point.
“I do think the power [of Ryan] will ultimately be the equalizer. The other thing about this fight, Jo Jo eluded to it to ESPN; I’m not sure Ryan is going to take it.
“I don’t question whether Ryan wants it, and Jo Jo wants it, but I would wonder if Golden Boy and their match-makers would want it right now. Yeah, Ryan has got a lot of leverage in this situation.
He is under a long-term contract with Golden Boy, but he is their biggest star. Look, there were negotiations for Ryan to fight Gervonta Davis in a fight at some point earlier this year before everything happened with Ryan Garcia.
“So he’s pulled a lot of levers at times to make big fights happen. Jo Jo is an excellent fighter, but it’s not like you’re taking on the number one guy at 135 in your first fight back after mental health issues,” Mannix said.
Ryan’s left hook is so good that he’ll be able to knock out Diaz Jr regardless of how sturdy his chin is. Also, Ryan’s body punching can’t be underestimated. He’s just as dangerous with his body shots as he is when he’s going upstairs to the head. Diaz Jr won’t handle Ryan’s body attack if he chooses to make it that kind of a fight.
Should Ryan take a tune-up first?
“So I can see Ryan applying pressure, but when push comes to shove, Golden Boy will say, ‘Look, we’ll make this fight in 2021 absolutely, but you have to go through one Francisco Fonseca type of opponent to come back next,'” said Mannix.
“I wonder if that’s something that Ryan will have. I like the fight. Bring it on for September or October.
“I just get the sense despite Oscar De La Hoya saying, ‘Bring it on, let’s do it.’ I get the sense that people working behind the scenes might prefer something else right away,” said Mannix.
It would be wise for Ryan to take a tune-up fight first before facing Diaz Jr because this is the type of a fight where he would need one.
With that said, if Ryan’s promoters at Golden Boy are going to feed him a guy that he can blow out in one or two rounds, it’s not going to help him. Ryan needs a tune-up opponent that will be able to give him a real test.
One of these fighters would be ideal for Ryan to face in a tune-up to get him ready for Diaz Jr:
- Yvan Mendy
- Masayoshi Nakatani
- Lee Selby
- Emmanuel Tagoe
- Richard Commey
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