There’s an old saying that comes to mind when thinking about this weekend of combat sports: Everything’s bigger in Texas. While most of the sports world’s eyes will be fixated on a conference championship game in college football this Saturday, Texas will be the center of the fight world.
Toyota Center, normally the home court of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, will be the host venue for this weekend’s card on DAZN. Action begins live this Saturday night at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT on the subscription-based streaming platform. Perhaps the best news about the show is the fact that it’s available to users of the service with no pay-per-view commitment up-front.
Non-Title Showcase at 140 lbs. Focus of Main Event
Not only will this card be topped by two 12-round affairs, but both are at 140 lbs., including Saturday night’s main event. Although no championship is up for grabs here, the stakes are high.
Former WBC Interim Lightweight Champion Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) seeks redemption over the weekend as he tries to bounce back from his first career defeat against Oscar Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) in the headliner. As previously mentioned, this super-lightweight encounter is an advertised maximum of 12 rounds at three minutes per round to close the show.
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) November 29, 2023
Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into Saturday night’s main event, Oscar Duarte stands as the taller man at 5-foot-9, compared to the 5-foot-8 1/2 frame of Ryan Garcia. Duarte owns a one-inch reach advantage (71 inches to 70 inches) over Garcia.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Ryan Garcia installed as a -550 favorite on the money line with Oscar Duarte countering as a +340 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Ryan Garcia Ready to Get Back in Win Column on Saturday Night
Ryan Garcia has posted a 4-1 record over his last five boxing matches. Last time out, he sustained the first loss of his career at the hands of Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) with a seventh-round knockout on April 22 in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.
It’s been over seven months since that night. Garcia recently mentioned to Chris Mannix that he isn’t about to come out on the wrong end of a fight a second time.
“I did lose, and that happened,” Garcia said of the fight against Davis last spring, “and it kind of hit me, and I was like ‘I’m never going to lose again, I don’t want to lose again.’ I’m going to erase some of the things that I was doing. I was not being professional. But sometimes, you’ve got to lose to realize (expletive deleted). I’ve got to make a change. It’s not fun and games. This is a real sport. You could get hurt.”
For Ryan Garcia, the loss last April was a humbling evening. Can he put his new plan of attack together and solve whatever puzzles that Oscar Duarte throws at him on Saturday night? Tune in and find out.
Oscar Duarte Embracing Role of Underdog
In the other corner, Oscar Duarte has posted a record of 5-0 in his last five fights. Back in May, he bested D’Angelo Keyes (17-3, 11 KOs) by way of technical decision in the seventh of 10 scheduled rounds after the fight doctor suggested that the referee halt proceedings.
Saturday’s bout is Duarte’s highest-profile opponent to date. While most boxers would have butterflies in their stomach when faced with the prospect of fighting an adversary of Ryan Garcia’s calibre, this isn’t the case for Oscar Duarte.
“I’m very hungry,” Duarte began. “I have great managers. I have their support, and I’m ready to win. I’m very hungry. I’ve been in boxing for 15 years, and I want to take advantage of this. I’m going to do my best. The ones that are going to come out victorious are the fans, and I’m going to do my best, and I’m ready to become champion.”
These are confident words from him, but can he turn his words into a win and a belt later on? Duarte needs to take it one step at a time, and it starts with the main event of the evening on Saturday.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
We’ll have a toss-up in the Golden Boy main event on Saturday night. Both of these men subscribe to orthodox fighting stances.
Look for Garcia to Aggressively Hunt for a Knockout
Ryan Garcia is known as one of the finest pugilists to walk the squared circle today. As such, he can hurt an opponent at a moment’s notice.
One need look no further than his February 2020 fight against Francisco Fonseca. Although scheduled for 12 rounds, he needed just a few minutes to get the job done.
While both men traded strikes in the early going, Garcia wobbled Fonseca with a left hook about a minute in, sending him flying backwards. Smelling blood in the water, he capitalized with a left-handed shot, knocking Fonseca down and out on contact.
If Garcia is able to come out like a house on fire in the main event, he’ll walk away the winner.
Duarte Can Also Bring the Thunder
In the other corner, Oscar Duarte is a tough customer in his own right. Look for him to pick apart Ryan Garcia with shots like he did against Mark Bernaldez in the middle of last year.
Throughout the fight, Duarte carefully chose his punches to knock Bernaldez off of his game plan. Although it took him until the eighth round of a scheduled 10, he clubbed Bernaldez with body shots up against the ring ropes, with referee Gerard White waiving the contest off after two minutes and 11 seconds for a standing TKO.
By the time the ring walks for this main event are scheduled to take place, all of the day’s college football conference championship games should be over, as will the UFC Austin main event. Thus, you have no excuse to miss the fight, one which looks to be very entertaining.
Prediction: Ryan Garcia by Unanimous Decision.