Boxing superstar Ryan Garcia has over 7.8 million followers on Instagram, but the 22-year-old prodigy told Heavy that doesn’t mean he wants to be confused with fellow social media stalwarts Logan and Jake Paul.
“I’m here to leave a legacy. They’re here to make money,” Garcia said.
So while some combat sports fans have lumped Garcia into the same category as the Paul brothers, Garcia was quick to point out how incredibly wrong that way of thinking is.
“There’s a big difference! I’ve boxed my whole life,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s Next Fight Is Massive Showdown
Garcia takes on former world title challenger Luke Campbell on Saturday, January 2 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
It’s the biggest fight of Garcia’s career, and the fight will be streamed live via DAZN.
The main card is set to start at 3 pm ET, and Garcia vs. Campbell is expected to happen around 6 pm.
So despite Garcia’s considerable presence on social media, the main event is actually happening during the mid-afternoon in the American’s home country to accommodate the 33-year-old Campbell’s fans in the United Kingdom.
England’s Campbell has twice challenged for a world title in the professional ranks, and he earned a gold medal in boxing during the 2012 Olympic games.
Still, Garcia remains poised to become one of the sport’s biggest stars so long as he defeats Campbell this weekend.
Boxing’s Next Big Thing?
DAZN’s Chris Mannix suggested to me for Bleacher Report that Garcia could be on his way to becoming a massive crossover superstar like Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Oscar De La Hoya became during their impressive boxing careers.
Perhaps fittingly, Garcia is even promoted by De La Hoya.
Additionally, Garcia told me for Bleacher Report that he plans to score a knockout win over Campbell, then plans to call out fellow rising superstar Gervonta Davis.
Both Garcia, 22, and Davis, 26, are up-and-coming talents who many believe could be on their way to becoming boxing’s next big things.
Just as fittingly as Garcia’s promotional tie to De La Hoya, Davis is promoted by Mayweather, and could also be on a path toward crossover celebrity status.
Usually, at least in boxing, that would mean Garcia and Davis would skip fighting each other until the very distant future.
But because of Garcia’s incredible following on social media, some in the sport believe he’ll have the power to actually make that fight happen next.
The fighter thinks that, too.
“The best thing about me is that I don’t need to wait to build up anything. I have the social media [following] to make a fight happen quick,” Garcia said.
Garcia on Logan and Jake Paul
Garcia certainly has a point. How else could one explain Logan Paul getting to fight Mayweather on February 20, or Jake Paul getting onto so many UFC fighters’ radars over recent weeks?
Still, Garcia doesn’t mind what the Paul brothers are doing.
“They’re boxing to make money, and I’m okay with that. I’m never envious of anybody. I’m happy that they’re going to make their money and do their thing,” Garcia said.
Similar to the Paul brothers, Garcia’s popularity with fans came via his adept use of social media.
Unlike the Paul brothers, though, Garcia’s social media channels have always been focused on his love of boxing.
“You still hear them say, ‘Instagram fighter’…I had to go through all that, but now look at where I’m at,” Garcia said.
So Garcia isn’t worried about his critics or the Paul brothers either.
“That’s a mistake people make. They worry about other people, then they get stuck in the mud,” Garcia said.
Garcia: ‘They’re Not Dumb’
“KingRy” praised the Paul brothers for their social media skills but dismissed the idea they were legit fighters, at least among elite-level professionals.
“I just know that Jake Paul and Logan Paul are on their own name. They’re going to do what they do, and that’s what they’ve always done. They found a way to put themselves in the picture somehow, and they’re good at orchestrating that,” Garcia said.
Garcia also noted how hard the Paul brothers have trained in the sport over the last three years.
“They’re not dumb. They’re going to take their training seriously. They’re going to take the sport seriously. And they’re going to give themselves the best chance against whomever they step in the ring with to win,” Garcia said.
Still, Garcia doesn’t expect the Paul brothers to face any kind of legit elite-level competition (in a real prizefight anyway) anytime soon.
Note that Logan Paul’s fight vs. Mayweather is a “special exhibition match” and not a legit boxing match. Also, note that Mayweather is a 43-year-old retiree.
“You’re not going to see them pick somebody that in their heart they know they’re going to lose to. They’re going to fight somebody where obviously they’re either former athletes…or some guy that’s way over the hill,” Garcia said.
So while Garcia had teased a fight vs. Jake Paul in the past, he said it would never really happen because he’s not what the Paul brothers seek in potential opponents.
“I’m none of that,” Garcia said.
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