In November of last year, the Boxing world focused on the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez' attempt to win a World Light-Heavyweight championship from WBO world champion and longtime division cornerstone Sergey Kovalev. Although that was the fight that drew the bulk of the audience, what occurred on the undercard provided a glimpse of Boxing’s next potential marquee draw. Undefeated fast rising Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia.
Garcia, entered the ring on that November evening unbeaten in eighteen professional bouts having scored knockouts in fifteen of those fights having registered a career knockout percentage of over 80%. Much like other prospects throughout the sport that are able to compile a similar resume, questions are naturally asked of the young fighter. The most frequent among them is who will be able to provide the fighter with a test and how will that fighter respond to being tested. For many, including this observer, there was a strong belief that the text for Garcia would come on that November evening where he faced dangerous power punching contender Romero Duno.
Duno had the credentials to give Garcia a test in the eyes of many. Duno entered the fight having won twenty-one of his twenty-two professional fights and had scored sixteen knockouts in those twenty-one wins. What appeared to be a fight that would be a test for Garcia on paper did not materialize in the ring as Garcia used his hand speed and punching power to overwhelm Duno in scoring a first round knockout. When knockouts occur in the fashion as Garcia’s knockout of Duno did, it often serves as the moment where a young prospect transitions to a contender. A statement making performance that turns heads and creates buzz among both fans and Boxing experts alike.
The question of who can provide the twenty-one year old Garcia a test however, remains. Although it is not necessarily uncommon to see a fighter off of a knockout like Garcia scored last November put into a world title fight in their next outing, Garcia will instead step into the ring on Friday night against another top contender as he will face former world title challenger Francisco Fonseca at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.
This is a fight that has an element of youth versus experience. Although Francisco Fonseca is only twenty-five years old, as a fighter he has more experience against world-class opposition than does Ryan Garcia. Fonseca will enter the fight with a record of 25-2-2, with 19 Knockouts and has fought for a world championship twice in his career. Although he is likely most known to some fans for having come up short in those two fights against Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer, Fonseca is a skilled fighter who could pose some difficulty for Garcia if he is allowed to get into the fight. In his last bout in November of last year Fonseca fought to a twelve round draw against Alex Dilmaghani in London, England.
In thinking of how this fight could go, this observer studied footage of both fighters in their recent fights. During the course of these film study sessions, it became clear in my eyes that the challenge for Fonseca will be can he time Garcia’s hand speed. In his last fight against Alex Dilmaghani, Fonseca was more than willing to engage on the inside. What stood out to me was how he was susceptible to being hit with both right hands to the head as well as body punches.
Even though these instances did not prove to negatively impact Fonseca in that fight, I felt that this could prove to be dangerous if he is not defensively sound against Ryan Garcia because Garcia has quicker hands than does Dilmaghani. It was also notable that whenever Fonseca would guard his body from offense in that fight, he left his head open and a fighter with quick hands like Garcia will be able to take advantage of that should the opportunity present itself. So how does Francisco Fonseca find a way to be successful in this fight?
In the simplest terms, the old Boxing adage is that there is only one way to negate speed and that would be timing. Fonseca must play the role of counter puncher in this fight and must make Garcia take the initiative and pressing the action. If Fonseca takes a similar approach as he did against Alex Dilmaghani in this fight, I do not see a way he can be successful. He must use his experience to his advantage.
It is also important to keep in mind that Ryan Garcia has yet to be pushed into the deep waters of the middle and late rounds of the fight on the world-class level and it would be logical to expect that Fonseca’s strategy might involve pushing the fight into the middle and late rounds. He will not be able to that however, if he leaves himself open as he did against Dilmaghani in his last fight.
For Ryan Garcia, if he can keep the fight at distance where he can control the tempo of the combat and not allow Fonseca to get on the inside and not leave openings for Fonseca to counter, he will likely be successful in this fight. It is important to remember however, in Boxing and all of combat sports anything can happen at any given time as Yours truly has often said over the years.
Although one might assume that if Ryan Garcia is successful in this fight against Francisco Fonseca on Friday night that we could be seeing him in a world title fight in his next bout, Garcia must take care of business first before any potential challenges at a world championship are discussed. If he is not focused, it just may present the perfect opportunity for a top contender to springboard himself back into the world title picture.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Garcia vs. Fonseca takes place on Friday, February 14th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen on digital sports subscription streaming network DAZN beginning at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT (U.S. Time) in the United States and several international countries. For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs, availability around the world, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com. Check your local listings internationally.
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