Ryan Garcia was carried to the ring like boxing royalty Saturday night, and he left having proved his "King Ryan" persona has more behind it than impressive YouTube videos and 7.8 million Instagram followers.
Garcia stopped Luke Campbell with a body shot in the seventh round before about 6,000 fans at American Airlines Center. What made it even more impressive was that Garcia had to recover from a second-round knockdown -- the first time he has been dropped -- to win the WBC interim lightweight title.
The fight was viewed as a litmus test for Garcia. Was he just a flashy prospect, or was he ready to establish himself as a legitimate boxing superstar?
The answer was delivered emphatically. Garcia also had Campbell in trouble at the end of the fifth round, but the round ended with Campbell hanging on to the ropes.
The win resonated on social media as sports figures and entertainers paid their respects.
@KingRyanG has the world in front of him. I'll sit down with him and we will decide what the next move is.— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) January 3, 2021
Ryan is for real. Heart of a champion. What a performance 🔥 #GarciaCampbell— Carlos Correa (@TeamCJCorrea) January 3, 2021
Ry Garcia got dropped and showed real toughness... real mean streak... he showed me somethin today! 135 on 🔥🔥🔥— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) January 3, 2021
Who said body shot challenge doesn't hurt— Ryan Garcia (@KingRyanG) January 3, 2021
Decent performance @KingRyanG now you're my mandatory lets make it happen!— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) January 3, 2021
Well I'm honestly heart broken, I really wanted to bring the win back for you all. I'm sorry for that. I hope you all enjoyed the fight. Have to take my hat off to @KingRyanG, well done and a massive future ahead for him. I wish him all the best. pic.twitter.com/hCVvillSm2— Luke Campbell MBE (@luke11campbell) January 3, 2021
He responded well— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) January 2, 2021
That's a BIG body shot!! #GarciaCampbell— ShowtimeShawn Porter (@ShowtimeShawnP) January 3, 2021
Still learning and developing but just passed an acid test with flying colours, got dropped hard for the first time and came back even harder. Very good night for him, but not tank next. #GarciaCampbell— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) January 3, 2021
I always speak of proper technique, not supposed to raise your arms and elbows in order to protect head, not necessary. No one home to protect body. #GarciaLuke #GarciaCampbell pic.twitter.com/gdQiVJCgKP— Teddy Atlas (@TeddyAtlasReal) January 3, 2021
knew ryan garcia would get the job done great fight— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) January 3, 2021
Beautiful Livershot! Wow #GarciaCampbell— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) January 3, 2021
Tonight Ryan Garcia went from boy to man!! Getting off the floor like he did and attacking the man who put him there let's you know that he has serious bollocks and knows no quit! Luke was blinded and didn't see it that's why that body shot has done that to him! #GarciaCampbell— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 3, 2021