Junior welterweight contender Ryan Garcia claimed at Thursday's news conference that Hall of Fame fighters Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, his promoters at Golden Boy, are "backing" his opponent, Oscar Duarte, to defeat him Saturday in Houston.
Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) is also promoted by Golden Boy, but it's Garcia who is the star fighter and -425 favorite to win the bout, per ESPN BET. Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) is coming off a seventh-round TKO defeat to Gervonta Davis in April in the biggest commercial event in boxing in years.
"One thing that's been on my heart is the statements that Bernard made where he'll decide if I'm going to finish or if I should continue boxing after this fight," said Garcia, 25. "He don't decide that. My coach [Derrick James] does, my team does. Everybody that grinds with me, day in and day out, that's who decides. ...
"Nobody was telling him when to stop boxing. He stopped boxing at what, 45 [actually 51] so kudos to him. ... Another thing I want to touch on is Oscar saying that we misinterpret what they say. It's plain English. I didn't hear anybody speaking any language I don't know. ...
"[Hopkins] also said that he calls out all the bulls---, the lies. The last time I checked, he said he'd never lose to a white boy, and then Joe Smith Jr. knocked him out of the ring [in Hopkins' final fight]. The last time I checked, Joe Smith Jr. was white. So, they be lying."
Thursday afternoon, De La Hoya responded to Garcia's assertions in a since-deleted social media post.
"I have to say that I'm really concerned about Ryan Garcia's state of mind," De La Hoya wrote on X. "Considering his history of mental instability (which he's documented himself) his current erratic behavior shows he's clearly not focused on Saturdays fight. You won't take my calls, Ryan I hope you're OK."
Thursday's comments from Garcia came one day after De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy Promotions, addressed a back-and-forth between Hopkins and Garcia that played out in the media.
"Bernard and I have spent decades putting on the biggest events in the sport - including Ryan's last fight which generated $30 million for him," De La Hoya wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. "We build champions, help them navigate their careers to the top and make them the highest paid fighters.
"Ryan: keep focused on your craft instead of listening to some of your 'team's' interpretations of comments taken out of context. Bernard and I will remain committed to taking your career to the top."
Garcia alleged in June via a demand letter that his promotional contract with Golden Boy had been breached. The allegations laid out in that letter prompted a response from Golden Boy in the form of a lawsuit filed later that month in the U.S. District Court of Nevada to enforce its contract with Garcia. The case has yet to be resolved.