Ryan Garcia will use Gervonta Davis wake-up call to become new force in 140-pound division

Ryan Garcia returns to the ring for the first time since being stopped against Gervonta “Tank” Davis in April, when he faces Oscar Duarte on December 2. 

Garcia will be different when he steps between the ropes to face Duarte. He’ll have a new trainer in Derrick James, will be competing in a new weight class of 140 pounds and it will be the first time in the 25-year-old’s professional career that he’ll be looking to rebound from a loss.

With all these changes, can Garcia bounce back and become a threat to the title-holders at super lightweight, or have we already seen the best of “KingRy?”

WATCH: Ryan Garcia vs. Oscar Duarte, live on DAZN

There have been a lot of questions about Garcia’s future as a championship-caliber fighter after the loss to Davis. The way he went out and fought Davis was reckless and exposed plenty of holes in the young fighter’s game. But this is the fighter’s second act and only Garcia knows if he can be rebuilt. 

The loss was humbling for a fighter who either thought he couldn’t be beaten or simply underestimated how talented Davis would be. Although this is Garcia’s first loss as a professional, it isn’t his first loss as a boxer.

While it may have been devastating at the moment, it wasn’t a career-ender for Garcia. Instead, it was a wake-up call that Garcia was still a work in progress and changes needed to be made before the young fighter could take the next step in his pro career. 

To some, these wholesale changes that Garcia made may have raised a few red flags. But the move up to 140 pounds was a necessity given his growing frame and the change in trainers could have been more of a comfortability play than a panic move. 

We have to remember that Garcia practically begged for this fight and was willing to make any concessions in order for it to take place. That’s commendable but it also left him at a disadvantage.

Even though the end result may have been the same regardless of the catchweight and rehydration clause, it was a case where Garcia’s belief in himself put him in a position to have one of the biggest PPV events in recent memory. 

No, he didn’t win but he saw just how bright his star could shine given the opportunity. And he wants to taste that again.

A win over a rugged opponent like Duarte gets him back on the right path while a loss would immediately turn him into a has-been. For that reason, Garcia is taking this rebuild seriously, and an impressive display against Duarte will put him on the right path in one of boxing’s toughest divisions. 

MORE: Everything you need to know about Ryan Garcia vs. Oscar Duarte

Over the next few fights, Ryan Garcia is going to have to prove that he’s more than a puncher by developing his defense and stamina. Not every opponent is going to roll over once they are hit with that lightning quick left hook. Some will be able to take that punch while others will find a way to take it away.

It’ll be up to Derrick James to develop the other aspects of his game. The footwork and patience are going to have to improve but a lot of that will also come with maturity. If he’s also able to add dimensions to his offensive game to ensure that he’s no longer a one-dimensional fighter, Garcia is going to be a problem for the 140-pound division. 

There’s no denying that Garcia has the talent with his natural power and hand speed. But it starts and ends with his mentality. Can he put the past behind him and use it as fuel to become a better fighter?

Judging by how he has moved since suffering his first loss, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. He’ll just have to prove it to the world on December 2. 

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