All Ryan Garcia heard before his fight against Romero Duno in the co-main event of Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev in November was that Duno was the guy to bring him down and derail the hype train centered around him.
But Garcia had other ideas in mind, wiping out Duno by knockout 98 seconds into the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The quick finish set up Garcia’s 2020 debut, on Valentine’s Day against Francisco Fonseca from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., live on DAZN.
“Nobody gave me a shot,” Garcia said in a DAZN video. “It was weird. I’ve been boxing since I was 7 years old. I already knew I could beat this guy. I knew I could beat him very easily. Everywhere I looked, they all said I was getting knocked out. I’m finally fighting a real fighter. I believed in my skills. I believed in myself.”
Garcia and Duno came out aggressive to begin the fight, throwing each punch with evil intentions.
“The fight was moving fast,” Garcia said. “He was coming forward non-stop. So I just started throwing my punches. I kept seeing he wanted to duck away from my left hook. I caught a guy before with the same punch. I knew I could land this punch again. I just had to find the right time.”
Moments later, Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs) landed a thudding straight right hand that went through Duno’s guard that staggered him. Garcia stayed composed and landed another right hand, followed by a glazing left hook to the temple to bend Duno backward. The fight was stopped, cementing Garcia as more than just a social media sensation but a bona fide boxer who possess legit skills and a severe threat in the lightweight division.
“The punch was quick,” Garcia said. “A lot of people think it was the right hand that knocked him out. When in matter of fact, it was the quick left hook right around the temple that caught him. I guess it wasn’t meant for people to see because I caught him clean with that left hook. If you zoom in and slow it really down, you got to slow it down more than slow motion. I took it frame-by-frame because I knew I caught him. I knew I hit him with the hook, and his whole body disappeared. A lot of people missed that.”
Because many people didn’t see it, Garcia gave the left hook a unique name.
“I call it the ghost punch like Sonny Liston vs. Muhammad Ali (rematch in May 1965) phantom punch,” Garcia said. “But mine is the ghost punch.”