Believe the hype, Ryan Garcia might just become the biggest star in boxing after destroying Javier Fortuna

Ryan Garcia dismantled Javier Fortuna to extend his undefeated run to 23 fights

He praises Jesus, he is called King Ry, he looks like a matinee idol from Hollywood’s golden period and his devoted flock is growing.

Ryan Garcia might just become the biggest star in modern boxing.

On Saturday night, in Los Angeles, he led a chorus of devotion outside the ropes and inside the ropes ruined a man called Javier Fortuna in six easy rounds. Fortuna is a very good fighter, but was dropped three times and saved from further hell. Fortuna never stood a chance.

Garcia swooned his way to the ring, not one hair out of place and did not waste a single punch as he carefully and cruelly dismantled the last of Fortuna’s desire. Fortuna realised early in the fight that he had no match for Garcia’s ambition and speed.

A left hook under the elbow in round four was the first knockdown and it was a blur of perfection, even in slow motion. In round five, Garcia got a bit closer and turned the hook a bit higher and Fortuna crumpled. He survived the round, but looked dazed. In the sixth, Garcia put together a seamless three-punch combination of left, right and left hook; Fortuna dropped for the last time. Fight over, Garcia had made the statement he needed and promised.

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Fortuna lost for just the fourth time in 44 fights, he was a former world champion. He lost every second of every round until the official end at 27 seconds of round six. Fortuna did just enough damage to require Garcia to run his fingers through his hair to get it straight for the post-fight interview.

Now, Garcia wants big fights, wants the type of fights that change a boxer’s career forever. However, he insisted that his days as a lightweight are over and that he will now compete as a light-welterweight. It is a division that is often called super-lightweight now, which is a switch in names that makes no sense.

Garcia walks away from Fortuna after his final knockdown

Garcia is unbeaten in 23 fights, 19 have finished early and he is only 23. And, did I mention, he has 8.9 million followers across various platforms. He is the perfect package in a business desperate to blend the wonderful hype of a social-media darling with the skills of a fighting demon. Garcia is the model and Jake Paul is the dreamer in this new twilight arena.

During the last year or so, Garcia has been in and out of the headlines, accused of not having the heart for the dirty, old game and wanting to be a celebrity and not a fighter. He pulled out of a fight with Fortuna this time last year and talked about his mental health issues. He was ridiculed. “Pulling out was not a sign of weakness, it was a sign of courage,” he said, finding the right words to talk about the dark stuff in his life.

Now, he has targeted a man called Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, an exceptional fighter with an image problem. Tank and King Ry have been matched in the heads of boxing fans and insiders for a long, long time. However, they have rival promoters, backers and television outlets. Mike Tyson even tried to get the pair together in his new and unlikely role as boxing’s Henry Kissinger. Tyson can get an audience, just like Kissinger could.

“I will fight Tank if he wants it at 140 (light-welterweight),” Garcia insisted. “I will make sure to record all the negotiations so you can’t say I was ducking. I want that fight because it is going to give me the respect I deserve.”

Garcia celebrated by opening a bottle of red wine in the ring

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Davis is unbeaten in 27, with 25 finishing early. He holds a version of the world lightweight title, which is five pounds below the light-welter limit. However, he is safely hidden behind a wall of claims and demands by Floyd Mayweather’s management group. It is a pity; it is a fight that could make massive stars of both men. The endless talk will grow tedious quick and Garcia has options.

On Saturday, Garcia was quite brilliant against a man who had no chance. Garcia is not the finished product just yet; he will have to work on not going back with his head held a fraction too high and fresher fighters might want to take a risk and push him back. If that happens, we will see Garcia under pressure. His flock will return to see him win, but there are others in the boxing universe who will watch to see the good-looking, smiling, bible-quoting kid lose. Tank, by the way, has not smiled in about ten years.

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