Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Thoughts On Garcia-Fortuna

As the fight between undefeated top Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia and Javier Fortuna approached, this observer found himself not feeling the normal anticipation that I normally have prior to a fight where there is significant interest. For someone who covers Boxing on every level imaginable and does so full time, I would be lying to the reader if I said that every single fight had the same level of anticipation.
In the days prior to this fight, the anticipation level at least for me seemed to bottom out. Perhaps it in part had to do with the fatigue that one can experience during a calendar year covering the sport of Boxing, but I thought to myself that the question going into this fight was in a way too simple. Would Javier Fortuna be able to impose his will on Ryan Garcia and pose more of a challenge than Garcia’s previous opponent Emmanuel was able to do earlier this year.

There were times after all when Garcia’s fight with Tagoe, his first since returning from a hiatus to focus on his mental health, resembled a sparring session due largely to Tagoe’s inability to make things difficult for Garcia in a fight where Garcia was able to control the combat from start to finish. While that can be attributed to both Garcia’s overall skillset as well as perhaps a bad style matchup for Tagoe once the fight was underway and he was unable to adjust, I did wonder whether or not this would be a different scenario and if Fortuna could make things more difficult for Garcia.

The slight wrinkle of the bout between the two Lightweights taking place one weight class above the 135lb. Lightweight division, in the 140lb Jr. Welterweight division did also make me wonder if this was a one-off way for Garcia to test the waters of the Jr. Welterweight weight limit before going back down to 135lbs. to seek a potential world title shot against the winner of the contracted rematch between undefeated Undisputed Lightweight world champion Devin Haney and former champion George Kambosos. Unfortunately for Fortuna, the decision for this fight to take place above the Lightweight division would prove to be not to his benefit.

In previewing this bout, I stated that it would boil down to whether or not Fortuna would be able to keep Garcia from getting into a rhythm. I elaborated furthest that one of the ways he could accomplish that would have been to make it a rough fight particularly if he were able to get close and force the fight on the inside. From the opening bell, Garcia seemed to systematically walk Fortuna down. The combination of the pressure as well as Garcia’s longer reach kept Fortuna from being able to find consistent success beyond occasionally landing hard counter punches.

While Fortuna’s punches did have power and seemed to get Garcia’s attention when they landed, he was not able to keep Garcia from coming forward and could not break his rhythm. It would be a matter of time before Garcia’s own power punches began to break Fortuna down. First it would be a left hook to the body that caused a delayed reaction from Fortuna prior to going down to the canvas. Quite frankly, having covered countless fights that ended via similar body shots, I thought the fight would be over as it is rare to see a fighter get up from a punch that not only takes their legs away from them, but also for lack of a better term paralyzes their ability to move for a period of time. To his credit, Fortuna was able to get up, but it would be the first of what became three knockdowns as he would be flooded in rounds five and six. The second knockdown coming from a flush right hook to the jaw in round five before Garcia closed the show by dropping Fortuna with a flush left hook to the head in round six before the fight was stopped.

Although much like his last bout against Emmanuel Tagoe, he did not face much of a test, Ryan Garcia was impressive in getting a knockout victory in his second fight since his return to the ring. Despite much of the discussion regarding Garcia both before and after his hiatus has centered on his being a potential challengers for the World Lightweight championship, following his knockout win over Javier Fortuna, Garcia stated his intention to stay in the Jr. Welterweight division going forward and called out former Jr. Lightweight world champion Gervonta Davis, who has spent the past few years collecting interim/regular champion designations in the World Boxing Association (WBA) rankings in multiple divisions including the Jr. Welterweight division.

Of course, yours truly does not have to tell those who follow the sport that there are significant obstacles that stand in the way of a potential fight between Davis and Garcia. Mainly rival promoters and rival networks, one of which continues to insist on using a pay-per-view model while the other is primarily subscription-based, but has been open to using pay-per-view on what they insist will be an occasional basis. I speak obviously of Showtime and DAZN as far as the network players involved and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and Golden Boy Promotions, the promoters.

While I can spend days talking about the flaws of the pay-per-view model, as well as the grandstanding and verbal back and forth between promoters and network executives, the latter of which indicates that they are more interested in talking about their competition and attempting to dismiss them rather than focusing on their own product, one can hope that for once all the above will put their egos aside and do right by the fighters and hopefully, right by the sport and the fans that support it. It may indeed be “Wishful Thinking” on the part of this observer, who only has the best interest of Boxing at heart, but imagine what could be done if all involved checked their egos at the door.

That dear reader can only be described in one word. "Progress.”

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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