Ryan Garcia knows a thing or two about being called out by fighters in a whole different sport.
For the 25-year-old, his skills in the ring forced his pugilistic contemporaries to take notice but it was his social media presence that garnered even more eyeballs. The mixed martial arts community, particularly those from the UFC, have been vagarious to a certain degree. Some have praised their boxing brethren but others have viewed them as tenuous competition.
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather opened up floodgates in 2017. But while the former five-division champ sent McGregor home via 10th-round knockout, it hasn’t stopped UFC fighters from calling boxers out.
Francis Ngannou followed that same game plan. For years he made his feelings known that he wanted to ditch the friendly confines of the cage and enter the boxing ring, preferably with Tyson Fury. But, thanks to his ironclad deal with the UFC, he wasn’t allowed to do both. So, once his contract officially expired, Ngannou made the move.
To a large extent, the conclaves that took place between Ngannou and Fury were a piece of cake. Ngannou accepted that he would receive the shorter end of the financial pie but he was confident that he had what it took to make a successful transition and strip Fury of his WBC title.
The boxing world, including Garcia, held their sides as tears rolled down their cheeks from uncontrollable laughter. Last Saturday night, halfway across the world in Saudi Arabia, the two officially got it on.
Garcia, although he felt as though Ngannou had no chance, still wanted to check things out. In no way, shape, or form was he expecting a competitive fight. In the opening round, Garcia watched apathetically as both fighters felt each other out. In the second frame, the popular contender nearly kicked over his television set as Ngannou dropped his man in the second round.
From there, Ngannou continued to have his moments as Fury began playing catchup. It may have been controversial, but Fury wiped the sweat that was building on his forehead as he was given a close split decision win.
The end result on the judge’s scorecards isn’t something that Garcia is paying attention to. In essence, it’s practically irrelevant. Garcia has been around the sport of boxing long enough to know how to score a fight. So, from his point of view, although Fury is still walking around with a golden trinket draped over his shoulders, Garcia doesn’t view him as a true champion any longer.
“All I have to say is Francis Ngannou is my heavyweight champ of the world.”