Ryan Garcia started his 2021 campaign with a thrilling win over Luke Campbell to win the WBC interim lightweight title.
Ryan Garcia is ready to end his break from the boxing ring as the rising lightweight star has agreed to a fight with Joseph Diaz Jr. The fight, scheduled for November 27 in Los Angeles, was confirmed to ESPN by both fighters.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 8, 2021
Garcia started his 2021 campaign with a thrilling win over Luke Campbell to win the WBC interim lightweight title, getting up off the canvas after a crushing shot to score a seventh-round TKO with a body shot. The win over Campbell answered many questions about Garcia, who has battled some doubt from fans over his status as a social media influencer. After the gritty performance, Garcia was set to face Javier Fortuna in a WBC-ordered bout on July 9 but withdrew to address struggles with mental health issues.
The Fortuna fight came about after Garcia talked up a fight with Gervonta Davis and was in discussions for a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Diaz stepped in to fight Fortuna in July, the fight serving as Diaz’s first at lightweight. Diaz picked up an impressive decision win, looking healthy at the new weight.
Diaz has criticized Garcia in the past, one of many to suggest that Garcia is more hype than reality. He doubled down on those thoughts after the fight was announced.
“I’m stopping him and ending the hype train once and for all,” Diaz said. “I’m gonna take it to him. Everything I’ve been through in and out the ring will be shown that night. He’s finally in with a live dog.”
Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino icon who is the only boxer to win world titles in eight divisions, officially announced his retirement at age 42, in order to focus full-time on politics.
Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs), who has served as a senator in his native Philippines since 2016, announced last week his candidacy for president in 2022. The “PacMan” last fought in August when he ended a two-year layoff in a decision loss to late replacement and WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas in their pay-per-view bout.
The announcement, which was delivered by Pacquiao at a press conference Wednesday morning from the Philippines, brought to an end a legendary 26-year pro career that began in 1995 when a 16-year-old Pacquiao turned pro at 106 pounds. The lightning-quick southpaw would eventually take his talents to the U.S. for the first time in 2001 when, after joining forces with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao upset Lehlo Ledwaba via sixth-round TKO for the IBF junior featherweight title as a late replacement in Las Vegas.
“Boxing has always been my passion. I was given the opportunity of representing the Philippines, bringing fame and honor to my country every time I entered the ring. I am grateful for all my accomplishments and the opportunity to inspire the fans.
“To the boxing fans all over the world, thank you very much. Thank you for always praying for me and watching my fights through the years. Who would have thought that Manny Pacquiao would end up with 12 major world titles across eight weight divisions? Even me, I’m amazed at what I have done, hold the record of being the only boxer to hold world titles in four different decades and become the old fighter to win a welterweight world title.”