Promoter Oscar De La Hoya let Ryan Garcia know that popularity is more important than world titles following his victory over Luke Campbell last Saturday night in the “Fire and Ice” promotion at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) defeated British lightweight Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) with a wicked body shot in the seventh round.
After the fight was over, Ryan told the fans that he wants to challenge WBA World lightweight champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis next.
However, De La Hoya threw cold water on the idea of Ryan, 22, taking on Tank Davis next by saying that he doesn’t need world champions. They need him.
Boxing = a popularity contest
De La Hoya essentially said that popularity is more important than title belts. He added that whoever Ryan faces next, he’ll be the one calling the shots in the negotiations.
The message that De La Hoya is more than a little disturbing, as what he means is boxing isn’t a sport, and champions don’t matter. What matters is popularity.
“As a person with great humility and a person that can guide you and give you a little advice in your career as a promoter whatever you want to call it,” said De La Hoya in speaking to Ryan Garcia at the post-fight news conference last Saturday night.
“Let me just say, I’m proud of you and I’m with you 1000% no matter what. I believe that Ryan Garcia…who cares about Hank Haney? Is that his name? Devin Haney.
“Who cares about Hank the Tank. It doesn’t matter. I’m confusing them on purpose,” said De La Hoya in making it clear that world champions Haney and Tank Davis don’t matter.
“That’s my point. My point is, for the first time in boxing history, world champions need Ryan Garcia. He does not need world champions.
“That’s who he is. Ryan, thank you for allowing me to be in your corner. I appreciate you. Whatever job I can do on my part, I will be with you 1000%,” said De La Hoya.
Of course, most boxing fans already knew this a long time ago. When you see popular non-champions like Canelo Alvarez calling the shots when facing world champions, it makes it clear that the sport is a popularity contest.
It’s disturbing that De La Hoya has pulled the curtain back to reveal what the sport of boxing is all about.
This obviously doesn’t bode well for fans hoping to see Ryan take on Tank Davis and Devin Haney next. De La Hoya’s comments suggest that Ryan Garcia likely won’t be fighting those fighters next.
It would have been refreshing if De La Hoya simply said that he doesn’t feel comfortable letting Ryan face Haney, Tank, or Teofimo Lopez next, rather stripping away their importance as world champions.