Ryan Garcia says he doesn’t view any of the current 135-pound champions as true champions because of the guys that they beat to win their titles. The lightweight champions Vasiliy Lomachenko, Gervonta Davis, and Devin Haney didn’t have to beat anyone good to pick up their 135lb straps, and in the case of Devin, he was given his belt by the WBC outside of the ring.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) wants to win his world title by beating someone good like Tank Davis or Lomachenk. In the case of Tank (23-0, 20 KOs), he recently captured his WBA ‘regular’ 135-lb title beating 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 14 last year.
The WBA World belt was vacant at the time, and the World Boxing Association sanctioned the Davis vs. Gamboa fight for their secondary lightweight strap.
Ryan Garcia, 21, feels that if Lomachenko, Tank, and Haney want to call themselves champions at lightweight, then he’s going to call himself a champion because it’s just a marketing scheme.
The sanctioning bodies are giving out titles easily to a lot of different fighters in order to set up big fights between two champions. It’s not like the old days when being a world champion meant something, says Ryan.
Devin Haney is best young fighter says Ryan Garcia
“I want to be the best fighter around, I want to be the most inspirational fighter, and I want to beat people they don’t expect me to beat,” said Ryan Garcia to IFL TV. “I’m very underestimated.
“If a world title comes, then good. If not, then I could care less. I’m going to win, pay me what I’m worth, and I’m going to keep it moving. I’m ready to hop in the ring right now with anybody. I just want to box, paid what I’m worth, and keep it moving.
“I think the best is Devin Haney out of the young batch, Devin Haney. They’re all great. If you have an off day, you might lose. I think I would have the edge against any of those guys [Lomachenko, Haney, and Teofimo Lopez]. I’ve seen my skill level go from here to there really quick. I’m looking to improve every day with every aspect,” said Ryan.
I’m sure IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) would have something to say about Ryan stating that Haney is the best young fighter besides himself in the 135-pound division. Teofimo is a talented fighter with speed, power, and good boxing skills.
If he beats WBA/WBC/WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) in their fight later this year, then Ryan Garcia will need to re-think his view about Haney being the best young fighter. Haney is a talented fighter, but his lack of punching power may be his undoing. When he gets in there with guys like Teofimo or Lomachenko, that could limit his success.
Garcia: The champions 135 haven’t proven themselves
“I’m interested in seeing how hard they’re [Haney, Lomachenko, and Teofimo] are working because it really comes down to that,” said Ryan Garcia. “These guys chase after titles, and they do whatever they can to get it in a desperate fashion instead of taking their time and taking it from somebody that they should have been taking it from.
“I respect [former IBF lightweight champion] Richard Commey. I appreciated his talents, but to me, how was he the champion? That doesn’t make sense. To me, that doesn’t make sense.
“Devin Haney, I don’t even know where he got his title from. I’m not even disrespecting Devin Haney. So to me, your opposition doesn’t show you’re a champion, but you want to call yourself a world champion.
“How in the world are you a world champion? So you’re the best in the world. The phrase world champion means to me you’re the best in the world, and to me, none of them proved they’re the best in the world. That’s just my opinion. People can comment whatever way they want. I don’t really care,” said Garcia.
Lomachenko won his three titles at 135 beating these fighters: Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza, and Luke Campbell. Those are good fighters, but there’s a difference between them and the likes of Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, and Ryan Garcia.
You can argue that Lomachenko won his belts without facing anyone too tricky. The guys that Lomachenko beat – Campbell, Linares, and Crolla – had all be beaten in the past well before he fought them.
Devin Haney was given his WBC lightweight title OUTSIDE of the ring by the World Boxing Council, so it’s difficult to view him as a real champion. And in the case of Tank Davis, he picked up his WBA secondary lightweight belt in beating a past his best 38-year-old Gamboa last December.
So, Ryan Garcia is dead-on correct in viewing the current batch of champions at 135 as being illegitimate.
Ryan Garcia: How did Gervonta Davis get his title?
“That’s another one, did he get a title at 135?” said Ryan Garcia on Gervonta Davis. “[Yuriorkis] Gamboa. I was supposed to fight Gamboa two years ago for no title. That’s why I said to Devin Haney in his last fight, ‘If you’re a world champion, then I’m a world champion,’ because, to me, it doesn’t make any sense.
“I’m going to start calling myself a world champion. You’re a world champion, and I’m a world champion, We’re all world champions,” said Ryan Garcia in making fun of the fact that the WBC made Devin Haney world champion via email rather than winning the belt by beating someone.
“Who’s the world champion? Think about it? You’ve got to use your common sense on that one. What’s a world champion? To me, Lomachenko is a world champion. He beat a credible opponent, so he earned the respect of a world champion.
“I would like to take it from him, and I also wouldn’t mind taking it from Gervonta Davis. That’s deserving of being a world champion in beating a great fighter like that. He’s talented, has power, and has speed. But these guys will accept titles for beating anybody. To me, how can you do that?” said Ryan Garcia.
As I said, Tank Davis picked up his lower-level secondary WBA lightweight belt in beating the old-timer Gamboa last December. The primary belt-holder with the WBA at 135 is Lomachenko with the WBA Super World strap.
The World Boxing Association has TWO champions at 135, which is sad. How does an organization have two champions in each weight class? It’s pathetic. In an ideal world, Tank Davis should have beaten Lomachenko to pick up his WBA title. Unfortunately, Mayweather Promotions, for whatever reason, haven’t let Tank Davis fight Lomachenko.
Top Rank, the promoters for Lomachenko, have been interested in matching him against Tank Davis for the longest time, but Mayweather Promotions haven’t made the fight.
Tank is now 25, and Lomachenko is starting to show age at 32. If Mayweather Promotions don’t make that fight soon, Lomachenko will be too old for Tank to get credit for beating him.
Giving out world titles = marketing strategy
“To me, it’s all the marketing strategy to make someone a world champion to make the fight bigger,” said Ryan Garcia on his view about why there are so many different belt holders.
“To make two world champions against each other, but you didn’t need that back in the day, you know? Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier. One of them was the champion, but you didn’t need two champions. Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston. You don’t need two world champions to make a big fight.
“All you need is the champ vs. the challenger, and that’s a great fight in itself because the challenger has got to take the title from the champ. But I think it’s a marketing scheme to make people feel better and to make it easier for people to win a world title. I guess it was hard. The champion didn’t want to lose his title, and he rarely did.
“No,” said Ryan Garcia when asked if he would view himself as a champion if he were given an interim title. “I accepted the belt, and I said I would fight whoever. You gave me a belt. Thank you, I appreciate it.
“But until I beat a guy that I think is credible like a Gervonta Davis or Lomachenko, then you’re going to really hear me bark. You think I’m barking now. Once I beat one of those guys, they won’t stop hearing me. I’ll be louder than ever,” Ryan Garcia said.
The sanctioning bodies probably aren’t coming up with different titles for a marketing strategy. It’s more of a self-serving thing in which having more titles equates to sanctioning fees from the fighters.
So it’s in the best interest of these different alphabet governing bodies to have as many titles as possible to bring in the green. The fighters and their promoters could render the sanctioning bodies mute if they chose to ignore most of them and just focus on one, but they won’t do that. They’re happy playing the game. Having a strap validates the fighters in the eyes of casual boxing fans.
Promoters protecting their fighters – Ryan Garcia
“Yeah, of course,” said Ryan when asked if he believes the promoters are protecting their fighters. “There’sno other way to look at it. It’s not like the UFC where they throw their [best] guys right away.
“It’s not bad protecting a fighter, but it is weird when a fighter wants to fight, you know? If the fighter doesn’t want to fight, then, of course, protect them. If he does want to fight, let him go, let him have it and get his a** whooped.
“Then tell him, don’t ever do that again. To me, that’s your kid getting a spanking. I feel that the promoters will try and protect you the best way they can, but at one point, they’ve got to let them fight. That’s what I’m here for. I just want to fight the best.
“Win or lose, I know I’ll give a great fight. I’ll train so that I won’t lose, and I’ll go insane in training camp. If you beat me, you’re a bad mother f*****. I’m going to be training hard and throwing my punches.
“If you can survive and come back and beat me, credit to you, but let’s have a rematch. That’s how boxing should be because we’re all talented athletes,” said Ryan Garcia.
It’s nothing new for the promoters to be protecting their fighters by making sure they only match them against guys that they know they can beat. Promoters have always done this, and they always will. Boxing will never be run like the UFC in which the best fight the best.
In boxing, the promoters view fighters as their investments, and they don’t want to wreck their revenue flow by putting them in risky fights that they can lose. Not all promoters are like this, but you can argue that the majority of them are.