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20 NOVEMBER 2018

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Ryan Garcia Aces Jayson Velez Test On ESPN

By Jason Pribila: CARSON – California - Ryan Garcia, the 19-year old junior lightweight prospect with pop star look and fast hands was originally supposed to take part of what promised to be the first of many Cinco de Mayo Pay Per View cards, as he was slated to support the Canelo Alvarez – Gennady Golovkin rematch. When that fight fell thru, promoter Oscar De La Hoya put together an ESPN televised card at the Stub Hub Center on the even where “Triple G” will defend his middleweight titles against Vanes Martirosyan.


Garcia’s opponent, Jayson Velez, represented a major step up on competition. Velez was once the hot prospect in the division, and while coming up short in his title shots, he has never been stopped as a professional fighter.


Garcia entered the ring to the cheers of his legion of female fans, as well as the jeers of their jealous male companions.


Garcia wasted little time introducing Velez to his hand-speed, and he punctuated the first frame by landing a sharp left hook.


The bout became a battle over real estate. Garcia tried to keep the fight in the middle of the ring where he could use his jab, and remain in position to counter. Velez, in contrast, was doing his best to force Garcia to the ropes, where he would be able to smother his punches, while making it an ugly fight.


Garcia (15-0, 13 KO) was able to display the speed and power that his supporters feel will lead him to a championship bout sooner than later. Several times he would land a single counter left hook that would stun Velez, but Garcia was unable to take advantage to of Velez’s unsteady legs.


Garcia had in front of him for the first time as a professional a fighter who would not only absorb his big punches, but he would also make Garcia pay when he would admire his work for too long.


The last third of the fight Garcia seemed to concede that the knockout would not come on this evening and going the full ten rounds would be more valuable as he moves up the rankings.


All three judges agreed that Garcia was the unanimous winner by a score of 99-91. The victory earned Garcia a pair of regional belts that will more importantly get him ranked in the top 15 of at least two sanctioning bodies.


I would expect to see Garcia headline another fight this summer on the World-Wide leader of sports and then be slotted as the co-feature to whomever Canelo faces in his ring return in September.


Garcia passed his first major exam with flying colors. It will now be interesting to see how he handles the growing number of fans who will not only admire him, but also the growing legion of naysayers who feel that Garcia (like his promoter before him) is just too pretty to be in a man’s sport. Let’s hope Garcia continues to be more like Oscar than Victor Ortiz.


Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association. He may be reached for questions or comments at and followed on @PribsBoxing

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