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Ryan Garcia – “It’s time for me to become mine” after leaving the Canelo team

A few text messages exchanged and about five minutes are enough for Ryan Garcia to embark on the southern California coast for a trip without a specific destination.

It’s Garcia’s favorite part of first official training camp under new coach Joe Goossen, who lives close enough to Garcia in the San Diego area that whenever Garcia says the word, Goossen will pick him up. in a Lincoln hybrid that is no longer manufactured and will leave on a drive to discuss.

On these records, boxing is rarely discussed. With Goossen behind the wheel, his new protege receives life lessons as they bond far more than the typical boxer-trainer relationship. After Garcia’s final years, that relationship and stability is something he craves.

Garcia, one of the sport’s most prominent but unproven contenders, is in the midst of a turning point in his career. After a five-fight run under the wing of pound-for-pound star Canelo Alvarez and their mutual trainer, Eddy Reynoso, the 23-year-old lightweight is doing something new. Garcia cited Reynoso’s unavailability as the main reason he changed trainers, telling ESPN’s “Max on Boxing” that Reynoso “didn’t really have time to train me.”

Change seemed to have been on the way for a while. In an October 2021 interview with Complex, Alvarez was concerned about Garcia’s work ethic.

“Look, Ryan’s got a lot of talent,” Alvarez said. “But for me, in my eyes, he wastes a lot of time and wastes his talent. I look at him and I don’t see him 100 per cent dedicated and, for us, that’s a bad signal.”

Four months later, Garcia announced the split of Team Canelo, something he said was discussed enough in the weeks leading up to the comeback fight against Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs). Reynoso’s unavailability also led the welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. leaves his gym. He now trains with Manny Robles.

That lack of availability led Garcia to Goossen, who had worked with Garcia in the past and made a big offer to train him when he turned pro and signed with Golden Boy Promotions, Goossen said.

Starting Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET), Garcia can begin to provide some emphatic answers about his commitment to the sport and prove that even away from Team Canelo he has a trajectory of championship.

“I did a lot of great things in those five fights I had with Eddy [Reynoso]”, Garcia told ESPN. “And I’m grateful for that. And this new chapter is obviously my chapter, right? Now is the time for me to take flight.”

At Goossen, Garcia gained a coach who has a reputation among his friends for picking up his phone at all hours of the night.

“He knows I’m always ready,” Goossen said. “Always ready to roll.”

This difference between Goossen and Reynoso was not the only indirect refutation of claims and concerns following Garcia’s split with the Canelo team.

Goossen, a 68-year-old veteran with decades in the sport, hailed Garcia’s work ethic as one of the best Goossen has seen firsthand. Goossen also said that Garcia injured all of the sparring partners during camp. This bodes well for Garcia’s status as an overwhelming favorite against Tagoe, a Ghanaian who hasn’t fought since November 2020.

“There are never enough miles on the road,” Goossen said. “Never enough rounds in the gym. Never enough fight rounds for him. He gobbles it all up and is just amazing.”

And while Garcia hasn’t directly acknowledged it, he’s well aware of the criticism that has surrounded him. Until his win over Campbell, Garcia’s outsized social media following had outgrown his boxing career. The inactivity since that fight and comments from Alvarez and others have amplified the criticism.

None of this was lost on Garcia, who after defeating Luke Campbell by TKO decided to take time to deal with his mental health, followed by a hand injury that required surgery.

“There’s definitely a lot of things that were said about me, obviously, when I was on break and the things that I had to go through,” Garcia said. “But I’m surfing it. I’m surfing it like a wave. Because when I win the fight, you’ll see everyone coming back, trying to be cool.”

Garcia no longer has an affiliation with Alvarez, boxing’s main attraction. The lightweight competitor, like many others, is unsure how this will affect his perception of the sport. But in the current chapter of his career, Garcia is perfectly comfortable with it.

“People are going to talk,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of opinions. But I control my story by how I play. I’m happy to be whatever people want to say I am because I know who I am. So I’m ready .”


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