Ryan Garcia vs. Luke Campbell: Fight prediction, undercard, odds, start time, how to watch, live stream. One of the hottest prospects in the sport is back in action on Saturday night in Dallas. If we are set to learn anything from Saturday’s much-anticipated lightweight tilt in Dallas, it’s whether Ryan Garcia is merely a popular young boxer with nearly eight million Instagram followers or a 22-year-old fighter who is ready — right now — to take over the sport.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) will face his stiffest test to date inside American Airlines Center (3 p.m. ET on DAZN, sign up now) against 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time title challenger Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) in a bout, originally scheduled for December, that was pushed back after the 33-year-old native of England tested positive for COVID-19.
With his boyhood charm and prolific social media output, Garcia has made a name for himself in recent years as a prominent self marketer and potential future star. But after joining the camp of Canelo Alvarez and trainer Eddy Reynoso two years ago, Garcia has made a much more serious push toward relevancy.
Garcia has followed a disappointing 2018 majority decision win over Carlos Morales with four straight knockouts and now has added tough talk to match his lightning quick hands and sharp combinations.
“I’m going to be the best fighter in the world for this next era,” Garcia said during the teleconference to promote the fight. “This is probably how it was supposed to be written. This is how the stars are aligning. I get everybody around the whole world to watch and this is what I have always wanted to do, which is inspire the whole world. This is the perfect opportunity to do it.
“Luke Campbell, it’s inevitable for him. He’s just going to get his ass whooped. Whether it’s December or Jan. 2, his fate is the same.”
The move to a more brash persona highlighted by trash talk is something that’s new for Garcia, who has long been targeted by top names in the sport who have assumed, given his matinee idol looks, that he’s nothing by a pretty boy. But Garcia can fight and he has taken issue with the confidence that the 33-year-old Campbell has shown throughout the build to this weekend’s bout.
“I feel very disrespected by Luke,” Garcia said. “All that disrespect, all that hate, and all that envy is going to blind him. Luke is just the first one. I feel bad for Luke. He’s just the first one of my opponents that’s going to get it bad. I’m older, stronger, and coming into myself. I already felt I was coming into myself for the [Francisco] Fonseca fight. I was on a roll and ready to takeover. God said how it was supposed to be. I cannot wait to punish Luke Campbell. I want to break his eye. I want to break his bones. I want to break everything off of him.”
Despite failing to capture a world title, Campbell has come painfully close in decision losses to both Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko in which he fought tough and, in the case of a razor-thin loss to Linares, had a case for a win.
“I believe I’m coming into my prime now and everything that has happened to me in the past has prepared me for where I am today,” Campbell said. “I believe I am going to win this fight and represent.
“I’ve got to go in there and not make any mistakes and be the best I can be. I believe me being the best I can be can beat anyone in the lightweight division.”
Campbell’s only other pro defeat in a split decision against Yvan Mendy in 2015 was avenged three years later. Garcia, for one, hasn’t been impressed. He has also been outspoken against those who believe Campbell’s experience will be too much for him.
“I don’t even know what they are talking about. What experience does he have?” Garcia said. “Every time he stepped up, he lost. He even lost to a guy we never heard of. Who is Yvan Mendy? He talks a lot of shit saying he’s going to KO me but, to be honest, anytime there was someone who shouldn’t have been in the ring with me, I got him out of there real quick.
“I’m going to prove that Luke Campbell don’t have it and it’s my time and my era. I’m ready to show the world who I am. I’m not here to play games. I’m tired of hearing all the misconceptions about me on Instagram. They don’t know the work I put him.”
Should Garcia run through Campbell with the ease in which he has knocked out Francisco Fonseca and Romero Duno in recent fights, it would certainly put the boxing world on notice about his future. Although Garcia has been established as the betting favorite, there is plenty of reason to believe Campbell will be enough to severely test Garcia, if not play spoiler to his future plans.
From Garcia’s perspective, it’s all talk. He wants to show the world he’s ready for big-name opponents such as Gervonta “Tank” Davis and believes stopping Campbell will be the first step in securing those fights.
“I’m not worried about Luke, he has no challenges for me. All he got is pitter-patter punches and amateur stye punches,” Garcia said. “None of that is going to save him. The moment he feels my shots, he’s going to start backing up. I’ll figure it out from there and I’ll start surgically beating him down. I’m going to punish him and then go on to fight ‘Tank.’ I’m not even worried about Luke Campbell.
“I want to conquer this division. I make this weight pretty easily, I’m a disciplined person. I can make this weight for as long as I want to make it. My goal is to defeat Teofimo Lopez, to knock out Gervonta Davis and to beat Devin Haney so whatever order it is, I’m here to conquer this division and become the biggest superstar in boxing.”
While Garcia and Campbell will deservedly garner all the attention and headlines, there’s still more to this fight card, including a pair of title fights featuring twin brothers. Rene and Felix Alvarado will put their titles on the line in featured bouts at super featherweight and junior flyweight, respectively. Rene Alvarado enters the bout on an eight-fight winning streak and stopped Andrew Cancio in his most recent bout in November 2019. Felix Alvarado, meanwhile, has won 17 straight dating back to 2014, albeit against lesser-known competition.
Fight card, odds
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
Ryan Garcia -400 vs. Luke Campbell +310 — WBC interim lightweight title
Rene Alvarado (c) vs. Roger Gutierrez — WBA (regular) super featherweight title
Felix Alvarado (c) vs. DeeJay Kriel — IBF junior flyweight title
How to watch Garcia vs. Campbell
Date: Jan. 2 | Start Time: 3 p.m. ET (main event around 6 p.m. ET)
Location: American Airlines Center — Dallas
TV/ Stream: DAZN (sign up now for $19.99/month)
Make no mistake, this is the fight that will tell us exactly how good Garcia is. Campbell is a big lightweight, a southpaw and comes in with an extensive amateur background. His footwork is elite and his power, while not overwhelming, has the potential to hurt Garcia as the fight rolls on.
It’s been a long time since Garcia has spent more than a couple minutes inside of a professional boxing ring. His last two fights ended with first-round knockouts, both of them around the 90-second mark. The more recent of the two, against Francisco Fonseca last January, was particularly stunning in its swiftness and brutality.
Garcia hasn’t gone to the judges since a win over Carlos Morales in September 2018. His quick hands and ability to wait patiently for an opening have served him well and made for great entertainment. The Southern California native is trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Canelo Alvarez. If Garcia is the gem many believe him to be, Reynoso is going to make him shine.
Garcia is already dreaming big, hoping he can line up a fight against Gervonta “Tank” Davis and some other big names if he’s successful on Saturday, per DAZN:
The danger for Garcia is that because success has come so quickly and easily for him, he might be exposed before he’s had time to refine the weaker parts of his game.
Campbell, in theory, should be able tease out the budding star’s flaws, and perhaps exploit them enough to earn a victory. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist looked solid against Lomachenko in the early goings before the latter’s pressure fighting and well-laid traps proved to be too much for him to handle.
Being a step or two below Lomachenko is nothing to be ashamed of, and for all we know, it means he’s still going to be on a different level than the young Garcia. Campbell isn’t fazed by the younger fighter’s eye-catching social media clips.
“It all looks good on video, but there’s plenty of kids out there who can hit the pads quickly—but not look good in the ring. You can throw 1,000 uppercuts in five seconds on the pads. But it’s not real. There’s no one in front of you trying to take your head [off], just someone holding the pads,” he said, per ESPN.com’s Nick Parkinson.
Garcia has definitely looked good in the ring at times, but the competition has been lacking. If he can put together another highlight reel against a tough contender like Campbell, it will go a long way toward proving to his doubters that he’s more than a pretty face.