ESPN's 2017 prospect of the year headlines Golden Boy card

From ESPN - March 20, 2018

When you are 19 years old and selected ESPN's 2017 prospect of the year, it's vitally important to keep the momentum going and start 2018 in an impressive manner. And that's exactly what junior lightweight Ryan "Kingry" Garcia intends to do when he faces Fernando Vargas, Thursday at The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds.

After turning pro in June 2016, Garcia (13-0, 12 KOs) has fought six times in 2017, winning all six by knockout. It's almost been too easy.

"We are trying to find somebody that's going to test Ryan and go more rounds so we can showcase his skills a little more," said Roger Ruiz, Garcia's manager. "The way we brought Ryan up, every opponent has been a little tougher than the last one and had a better record."

In terms of experience, Vargas (33-15-3, 24 KOs) fits the bill. While the Mexican veteran from Tijuana has been inconsistent since turning pro in September 2006, he garnered a bantamweight title shot (on one-week's notice) against Jamie McDonnell in April 2016.

Vargas, who had not fought as a bantamweight since 2006, struggled to make weight, but gave a determined effort before being stopped in the ninth round. Weight drained, undertrained and fighting on his opponent's home turf at the O2 Arena in London, he really did not have a chance.

In subsequent fights, the 29-year-old Vargas has gone 3-3. One of those losses, however, was by majority decision to Horacio Garcia in a very close fight. If Fernando had not suffered a knockdown in the third round, the fight would probably have been a draw.

Regardless of Vargas's experience against tough opposition, Garcia, a resident of Victorville, California, does not sound worried. He knows where he wants to go and is confident he will get there.

"Just know that you are talking about the next superstar," he said. "I am not here to play. This is my time, and I ca not wait to show my skills."

Garcia, whose father, Henry Garcia, was an amateur boxer, is a student of the sweet science in and out of the ring, eagerly soaking up all the knowledge he can.

"Just know that you are talking about the next superstar. I am not here to play. This is my time, and I ca not wait to show my skills."

Ryan Garcia


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