Valentine’s Day is for love, but this year it will also be for fighting, at least in the case of rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia.
Garcia will face former two-time world title challenger Francisco Fonseca in a 12-round bout on Feb. 14 (DAZN) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, Golden Boy Promotions announced Wednesday.
“I’m very excited to be in the ring once again. I’m looking to shock the world this year,” said Garcia, the 2017 ESPN prospect of the year. “I’m going to show the boxing world that I’m here forever.”
Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs), 21, of Victorville, California, shares trainer Eddy Reynoso with superstar Canelo Alvarez. Garcia signed a contract extension with Golden Boy Promotions last fall after they smoothed over some differences.
In his first fight of the new agreement, Garcia, who boasts 4.4 million Instagram followers before he has had a major fight, made a statement when he flattened dangerous Romero Duno in the first round on the Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev card.
“Golden Boy is proud to present the biggest rising talent in the sport of boxing,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “Ryan Garcia silenced all the skeptics by knocking out a tough contender in Romero Duno, and he did it in just one spectacular round. … We will have something special for everyone to enjoy on Valentine’s Day when we deliver this great show.”
Fonseca (25-2-2, 19 KOs), 25, of Nicaragua, has only lost in junior lightweight world title bouts. In August 2017, Gervonta Davis, who had failed to make weight, stopped Fonseca in the eighth round on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard. In December 2018, Fonseca lost a decision challenging Tevin Farmer on the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding undercard.
Fonseca is 3-0-1 since and coming off an action-packed majority draw against Alex Dilmaghani in London on Nov. 16. One judge had Fonseca winning 115-114 but the other two judges scored the fight 114-114.
“Nicaraguan boxing is at the very top right now because we have two world champions [brothers Felix and Rene Alvarado] representing us right now,” Fonseca said. “That’s why I will not let my country down. When I face Ryan Garcia, I will expose him on his own territory, and I will deliver him his first professional [defeat]. My manager [former world champion] Rosendo Alvarez and I have been waiting for [this]. We’ve dreamed of fighting Ryan Garcia, and we have the antidote to defeat him.”
In other bouts announced for the card:
In the co-feature, former three-division world titlist Jorge Linares (46-5, 28 KOs), 34, a native of Venezuela fighting out of Las Vegas, will face an opponent to be determined in a 12-round lightweight fight.
Welterweight Alexis Rocha (15-0, 10 KOs) 22, of Santa Ana, California, will face an opponent to be determined in a 10-round bout.
Welterweight Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (13-0-1, 9 KOs), 30, of Las Vegas, will face an opponent to be determined in a 10-round bout.
Bantamweight Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (18-2-2, 7 KOs), 32, of Colombia, a former junior featherweight world title challenger, will fight Alberto Melian (6-1, 4 KOs), 29, of Argentina, in a 10-round bout.
Lightweight Alejandro Reyes (2-0, 2 KOs), 20, of Mexico, will fight an opponent to be named in a four-rounder.
Welterweight Evan Sanchez (6-0, 5 KOs), 21, of Parlier, California, will participate in a six-round bout against an opponent to be named.