Ryan Garcia vs Oscar Duarte
Ryan Garcia and Oscar Duarte face-off for one last time before their fight on Dec. 2 Thaddaeus McAdams/Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images

ALABAMA- When Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19 KO's) got knocked-out by Gervonta 'Tank' Davis earlier this year in what has been the biggest fight of his career so far, the Mexican American boxer knew that his following fight was vital to relaunch his path to stardom and an eventual world title. Instead of facing an "easy" opponent, he will face Mexican boxer Oscar Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KO's) who is currently on a streak of 11 wins by stoppage and is looking, just like Garcia, to finally get a shot at a world title.

During Friday's official weigh-in, both fighters recorded a career-heaviest for their 12-round junior welterweight contest this Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Garcia closed at 143 pounds while Duarte did so at a lighter 142.8 pounds.

To make the fight happen, Duarte had to go up a class. The 27-year-old Mexican will have his most challenging fight since January 2021, when he defeated Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell thanks to a 7th-round TKO.

After snapping a 23-win streak in his 7th-round loss to Gervonta Davis, Garcia faced again some turmoil in both his personal and professional life that ended up preventing him from fighting at his full potential. For starters, he ended a relationship with former trainer Joe Goossen and started camp with reigning ESPN Trainer of the Year, Derrick Jones. The former boxer, now based in Dallas, works with some of the best fighters in the world including Anthony Joshua, Errol Spence Jr., and Jermell Charlo.

The winner of Saturday's bout will position themselves as a clear contender to Teófimo López' junior welterweight title and could pose a threat to other current champions in the junior welterweight division such as Regis Prograis.

Garcia has been vocal that his preparations for this fight have seen him put his full focus on his boxing career. A career that looked stagnant for a period of time thanks to Garcia's problems off the ring. In the months after "KingRy's' only loss of his career by the hands of 'Tank' Davis, Garcia and his current promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, got immersed in a legal dispute that ended in a two-way lawsuit, although both parties seemed to have put their differences aside for this fight.

For both fighters, this bout might prove to be one of the most important in their young careers. A win against Garcia could mean a golden ticket for Duarte's aspirations to become a world champion. Currently, the only Mexican boxer to hold a belt above the 140 lbs. threshold is Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez (middleweight).

According to online sportsbook DraftKings, Garcia enters Saturday as the favorite (-425) while an outright Duarte win pays +310.

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