RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports


By Donald “Braveheart” Stewart

An opinion piece from the only Donald worth listening to…

Full Stop – In British English grammar a full stop is a lengthy pause, in the US, you call it a period. In the UK that tends to suggest feminine products. Here it means a period of time where I look at something in boxing in a little more depth. I am typing from my perspective of a fan who watches the sport closely. It’s an opinion. It is my opinion. Don’t like it? There are other opinions out there but if you don’t like it then good, debate and democracy are a good thing. If you do like it, feel free to spread the word.


Mental health and sports have long been a topic that has attracted a great deal of comments and quite a few champions. Witness Tyson Fury, arguably the best heavyweight of his generation. Publicly acknowledging his mental health struggles, publicly showing compassion to a number of fighters and ordinary people who have made contact with him since then and continuing to grossly insult rivals as sausages, dossers and rabbits have been his schtick since making his mental struggles public. Makes him the poster king for mental health recovery. Apparently.

In England the careers of two of our best football (soccer) coaches, Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool and Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) have been cited as examples of the pressures of management in the game. Klopp recently revealed he was leaving his post at the end of this season, which brought to mind the decision a few years ago of one of the most successful managers in the whole of Europe who did something similar, the aforementioned Guardiola, after becoming the toast of Spain and Germany thanks to his unbelievable success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. He is now a dominant force in England.

Sport. Whether it be the top of their game or on the way up, it’s a tough and often lonely way of making a living. And again, recently from the Ricky Hatton documentary, Hatton, to the win that Jordan Gill had over Michael Conlan in Belfast fighters, old and new, spoke of suicidal thoughts and times when those thoughts came close to a complete reality. The point being, that mental fragility is a cause for concern irrespective of who we are talking about within any sport.

So, let’s talk about Ryan Garcia.

There is little doubt that people who are around him have a lot to answer for. But just exactly what that is, is concerning. He seems and is appearing to be very distressed.
Ryan Garcia is due to fight Devon Haney. That fight is now in doubt.

The first I came across the unfolding story was when reports emerged of a video claiming Ryan Garcia was dead. Then his ex-wife waded in to suggest that Ryan was not well. She apparently used the word “oppressed” which metaphorically became quite the statement and became quite the issue as I was beginning to think we were about to be witness to a Britney Spears style meltdown.

Ryan decided to “clear things up.” He recorded a message that saw him claiming he was OK, and all was going well but that was far from the end of the tale he was to tell.

Now Ryan has benefited massively from social media, and it could be claimed that the hype that follows him has been the hype of an age obsessed with social media. It would not be wrong but what Ryan has managed to do is to back this up in the ring and he boasts a record with only one loss – against Gervonta Tank Davis. Stellar. Impressive. More than decent.

The fight with Haney was well deserved and whilst people think he is unlikely to win it, nobody really suggested he should not be in the same ring. Vegas on the 20th of April is locked in. The WBC super lightweight title is the prize.

But 2024, has not been kind to Ryan. It began with the split from his wife. The news broke not long after he announced the birth of his second child. No matter what is going on there, that cannot be a tremendously positive time for him.

Then in late February he was late to a presser. Nothing wrong with that, many boxers have been late to their own conferences. During the conference, he decided he wanted to have a scrap with an audience member – again nothing new here. Undeniably stupid, perhaps but still nothing that would suggest a unique approach…

Later that day he posted what has turned out be a heavily edited video of sparring between Davis and Haney which showed Tank battering Haney. Now in building the fight, all so far, quite unsurprising and even his appearance on a podcast throwing verbal bricks at Haney, Bernard Hopkins, and Jake Paul seemed a bit of gamesmanship… but something was beginning to tell a different tale. Paul responded, Ryan then decided he was going to take on Paul and the Haney fight began to recede in his social media exchanges.

Ryan then “cleared things up”. And here is a transcript of what he has to say…

“Hey guys. It’s me, Ryan. I’m coming on here to explain what’s going on. I’m not in possession of my phone, I can’t get access to my Instagram, my cards are locked, and I’m just being real taken advantage. I want to personally just send out a video to the people that love me and my fans, family that’s concerned, that I’m okay. I’m not dead, I believe in Jesus. All those are lies and, you know… They tried to put me in jail, they’re blocking my cards, I can’t access my money, nobody’s hitting me back. I don’t know what’s going on but just know I’m okay. Love.”

Then things got dark. Ryan got onto a podcast with misogynist in chief, Andrew Tate. Ryan ranted that he was forced to watch disturbing things by “elites” from Bohemian Grove. He claimed that ‘the elites’ tied him up in the woods and forced him to watch little kids getting raped. Bohemian Grove is home to a men’s-only club in Sonoma County, California. For the next 24 hours things got weirder, as he posted and removed a number of messages on social media.

Then there was a boxing Q and A on X, and things became all about boxing more than anything else.

Is he OK, is he mentally ill, is he being ill-used? Will the Haney fight happen? The people around him are either allowing this to happen or encouraging it. Whatever the truth of that is, they need to be held to account. If Ryan is “at it” and pretending, then he needs to be also held to account. But if he is ill, the boxing fraternity have a role and a responsibility. It should not just be physical health that is part of the assessment of being fit to fight. No matter what the reason, Ryan Garcia is more important than the narrative. Whatever he needs, to be healthy is all that matters. Here is hoping that he “does his thing” as Tyson Fury advised he should when asked about it. No matter what that may be, but when you are the poster boy for mental health…

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