Ryan Garcia vs. Isaac Cruz: Should King Ry take this fight?
By Matt Lieberman: Ryan Garcia could be taking a massive risk in early 2022 in a fight against former lightweight world title challenger Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz.
There’s a lot of debate among boxing fans on whether the 23-year-old unbeaten Ryan (21-0, 18 KOs) is making the right move in facing the tough Pitbull Cruz coming off what will be a 14 to a 16-month layoff.
This is the type of fight that Ryan would be better taking if he’d been more active, but things have gotten in the way of the Golden Boy promoted fighter getting back in action.
The last time Ryan fought was in January when he stopped Luke Campbell in the seventh round in a career-best performance.
It’s questionable whether Ryan will be better off taking a couple of tune-up fights before takin gon Pitbull Cruz. The way that Ryan has looked in the last couple of years, his fighting style is remaining constant.
Pitbull Cruz will be tough
Golden Boy can’t continue to match him against scrubs the way they’ve been not, particularly when fighters his same age like Devin Haney and Pitbull are facing better opposition.
“Ryan Garcia, the lightweight contender intends on returning in the first quarter of next year, and says he wants to fight Isaac Cruz,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN Boxing.
“He was last seen losing a close decision to Gervonta Davis. Is Cruz the right opponent for Ryan Garcia’s first fight back?”
“No, it is not. We saw what ‘The Pitbull’ was able to do with the ‘Tank,'” said Sergio Mora when asked if Cruz is the right opponent for King Ry. “He gave him everything he could handle.
“He’s 5’4”, he’s strong and he’s a hard guy to look good against, especially your first fight back. So, no, I don’t think Ryan Garcia should fight Pitbull.
“I think he should fight someone like Jojo Diaz, who he was supposed to come back and fight. He’s a popular fighter in LA. Jojo is not a big puncher, he’s established and he’s only lost to former champions.
“Ryan Garcia doesn’t have a former champion on his resume. It makes perfect sense. Jojo Diaz is your man.”
“I want to see Jojo Diaz against Garcia too, but not necessarily in Garcia’s first fight in what would be in 15 of 16 months,” said Mannix on his view that it’s a BAD idea for Ryan Garcia to take on Jojo coming off a 12+ month layoff.
“This is a guy that in addition to dealing with mental health issues in the middle of this year, dealt with a serious hand injury that required surgery,” said Mannix about what Ryan dealt with in 2021.
Should Golden Boy hold Ryan back?
If Golden Boy holds Ryan back by not letting him fight Isaac Cruz, they’re delaying a risk that he’s going to need to take anyway.
“I’m not so sure if I’m Golden Boy or if I’m in Garcia’s inner circle see Garcia go up against a hard-headed guy like Isaac Cruz or an equally hard-headed guy in Jojo Diaz in my first fight back.
“If Ryan Garcia really has eyes on fighting three times in 2022, which is what people around him tell me, I’m fine with him taking something a little bit easier in his first fight back.
“Finding an opponent that is likely to get knocked out at some point in the fight versus someone that might make Garcia go the distance. No to Cruz, no to [Gervonta] Davis. I’m not sure who I’m talking about at this point,” said Mannix.
“That’s what I’m asking. Who are you talking about?” said Mora. “Of all people, you’re the one that doesn’t want to make a good fight. “You’re going back on everything you said.”
“I absolutely want to make a good fight, but Sergio. You’re a fighter, you know. If you’ve gone through what Ryan Garcia has gone through, do you necessarily want to jump into a highly competitive fight in your first fight back?”
“No, but Ryan Garcia does a lot of talking and a lot of Tweeting,” said Mora. “He calls out the big names, and goes chasing these fighters. He calls out Tank, he calls out Devin Haney, and he calls out all the big dogs.
“I understand that people need to hold him back, and it’s up to the promoter to hold him back. But hey, when you’re doing that much talking and you can back it up. He backed it up with Luke Campbell and the back-to-back knockouts.
“Go back on the big stage with someone that is not a big name but a formidable name. He needs a former champion on his resume, that’s for sure.”
Is Ryan Garcia making a mistake?
“Yeah, he needs a former champion on his resume, but not right now,” said Mannix of Ryan Garcia. “I don’t think that now is the time. Now is the time for him to get back in a rhythm and get his confidence back.
“The last time we talked about Ryan Garcia is when Canelo said the guy needs to work harder when he’s in the gym. I just don’t think that March or April is the time for Ryan to take on one of those guys that is going to put him through hell in that fight.
“I’m not saying avoid them. I’m saying fight two of them in 2022, but just don’t do it in your first fight out,” said Mannix.
“Oh how times have changed,” said Mora. “First it was me backing up a fighter and now it’s you backing up a fighter and injury. You’re so shallow.”
If Ryan Garcia is successful against Pitbull Cruz, he and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions will look like geniuses for taking this fight.
For Ryan to gain respect from boxing fans, he’ll need to do something special, and fighting Pitbull could be the fight he needs.
It’s beyond doubt that many people have given up on the 23-year-old Ryan due to him pulling out of two fights in 2021, as well him failing to come through after calling out Gervonta Davis and saying he was going ot fight Manny Pacquiao.
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