Tagoe’s attempts to worm his way into Garcia’s head don’t really seem to be working, but then, why would they? By DraftKings Sportsbook’s lines, Garcia is a -1600 favorite, with Tagoe a +850 underdog, and all odds are somewhere in that neighborhood. On paper, if you look past Tagoe’s win-loss record — or deeper into it than how many wins against how many losses — this looks like nothing much more serious than past Garcia fights against the likes of Romero Duno or Francisco Fonseca, and those two guys combined lasted 2 minutes, 58 seconds, not even a single full round.
That said, you have to figure Garcia feels some pressure, too. He’s been out of the ring a while. He heard the backlash in 2021, which came quickly after receiving at least some respect that he may have believed overdue. In a way, it feels now as though he hit the reset button on his career last spring. He’d fought to a spot for an ordered, mandatory world title fight, and he didn’t take it. Then, he didn’t take two more fights that were planned.
I don’t know that he takes the outsider critics too seriously, but even if he doesn’t, there will be the pressure to prove he’s made the right choices — to take time off, to change trainers, to hit that reset button for a year. Even if it’s more about proving it to himself than anyone else, that’s still pressure, maybe even tougher than caring what anyone else thinks.
Personally, I’m of the belief that Ryan Garcia is at least close to the talent he’s been sold to be, by which I mean I think he’s pretty damn good with the potential to be genuinely great. But I understand the questions about him. About his commitment to “being great” in the sport, about how much he wants or even needs a dangerous job like boxing. About how serious he is about fighting the others considered top tier names in his division.
Garcia’s got the potential. He’s got the star quality. And he’s now at a point where he’s been headlining long enough that people expect more. Saturday won’t be the test. But it will be a return, and hopefully, a first step toward facing someone bigger. Maybe the Kambosos-Haney winner. Maybe Tank Davis, whose Mayweather Promotions deal will be up soon, which could potentially free him up for a lot of fights people have wanted to see.