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Ryan Garcia on Duarte and the Quest for 140-Pound Supremacy

The boxing world braces itself for Ryan Garcia's return to the ring this weekend. The 25-year-old, who once held an impressive 23-0 record, faced a setback in April when Gervonta Davis handed him his first professional loss. Traditionally, one loss in a fight was not perceived as a career-defining moment, but in the nuanced dynamics of the current boxing scene, doubts loom about Garcia's future.

Garcia, however, remains resolute in his self-belief. Following a period of introspection and a relocation to Dallas for training under Derrick James, Garcia expressed his newfound focus and commitment to the sport in a recent episode of DAZN’s Off the Cuff series.

The fighter's switch from Joe Goossen to James may seem like typical fighter speak, especially given Garcia's history of changing trainers. Still, he insists that the change has been instrumental in rejuvenating his career. "If you're in a toxic environment, it's just not going to work out for you. So it was just in my spirit to change things all the way, and I just let God guide me," Garcia shared with Chris Mannix.

For Garcia, the Davis fight was a turning point that prompted soul-searching. He acknowledged that losing can be a catalyst for change, emphasizing that great champions bounce back. Now, as he steps back into the ring against Oscar Duarte at Toyota Center, Garcia recognizes the importance of each fight moving forward.

Duarte, a hard-hitting Mexican with a record of 27-1, is not expected to pose a significant threat to Garcia. However, Garcia understands the need to dazzle and prove himself, especially after the disappointment of his last bout. A permanent move to the 140-pound weight class adds a new dimension to Garcia's comeback narrative, addressing concerns about his previous struggles with the lightweight limit.

Reflecting on the Davis fight, Garcia admitted that he had momentarily lost his competitive edge and stopped caring about just winning. The apparent apathy towards the ending left a sour taste for some fight fans. However, as time passed, Garcia pledged never to lose again and recognized the need for a change in his approach to the sport.

Garcia's journey to rebuild in Texas with Derrick James, a trainer himself in the process of rebuilding after high-profile losses by Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo, introduces an element of uncertainty. The outcome of Saturday night's bout against Duarte may not provide all the answers, but it will reveal how Garcia responds to the harsh reality of a defeat. For now, the focus is on the intangibles—the qualities that cannot be measured on paper—and the resilience that defines a true fighter's spirit.


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