Ryan Garcia has hit back at Teofimo Lopez after he argued that no one in the lightweight division is as big of a star as he is.
Lopez is on the back of a career-making unanimous decision victory over pound-for-pound great, Vasiliy Lomachenko. This crowned the unbeaten American as the new unified WBO, WBA and WBC lightweight champion.
The Flash returned to the ring after eleven months of inactivity against Luke Campbell in January 2021. The youngster was knocked down in the second, but he recovered to stop the Briton in the seventh with a brutal left hook.
With a bout potentialy in the pipeline for the future, Garcia recently responded to Lopez's comments:
"[Lopez] goes 'they hot on social media, I'm hot in real life.' Like, what are you talking about, man? Like I got respect for you, you a great fighter, you won that fight with Lomachenko… but the fact that you would say that is nuts to me.
"I just beat Luke Campbell so you can't really say anything about my boxing ability. Like, don't make a lie. It's one thing to say something but don't lie. It doesn't sit right with me. Don't lie that we're not hot. You're kinda hot, I mean, you're scratching the surface. To be honest, Teofimo is far behind getting to the level that we're at.
"Respect, you beat [Lomachenko]. Great job. Respect. Did you destroy him? In my honest eyes, no you didn't. You didn't beat him like I would want to beat him. I would want to knock him out.
"That's how I feel good about a victory, knocking you out, or just outclassing you nasty - which I honestly don't believe he did. I thought he did good, I thought he fought a pretty good fight, but nothing that [really impressed me]."
Garcia also slated Lopez for suggesting that Lomachenko does not deserve a rematch:
He added: "I see that Lomachenko just felt gun-shy for some reason. I mean, he got hurt twice. He got knocked down by Linares and got hurt by Luke Campbell. So in that he thought that Lopez may be an even harder puncher than them, so he was gun-shy in the beginning - which makes sense - but then when he figured out it isn't really as bad it seems, he started beating him up.
"Like Teofimo was getting beat up a couple of the rounds. Like bang-bang-bang-bang-bang - his head looked like the Fierce Reflex bag… his eyes were all swelled up, was beaten up.
"So, I don't like when he tries to make it seem like he destroyed Lomachenko. And then to say 'oh, he doesn't deserve no rematch.' Man, you didn't beat his ass! Excuse my language but you didn't whoop him down to the point where it was like undeniable, like 'why would you give him a rematch?'
"Be a man, man. You didn't beat him down. You did alright, but he does deserve a rematch in a way. If you don't want to give it to him, I'll take him. But I'll be going to knock him out. I'll make it real clear I'm not here to play."
The lightweight division is on fire right now, with multiple mega fights lined up over the next few years.
Garcia (22) and Lopez (23) are right in the middle of this, with both recently picking up the biggest wins of their careers so far.
Both men, along with Davis and Haney, are credible candidates to carry the sport through the next five to ten years.
Their reputation is growing with each fight and what is most promising is that it does not appear that they are shying away from facing one another.
The new generation are eager to go down as boxing greats and this should make for some superb entertainment for purists in the coming years.