After dismantling Javontae Starks behind his piston-like jab and power shots on September 3, Darwin Price offered post-victory thanks to several supporters. Among them? Sparring partner Ryan “Cowboy” Karl.
“Ryan doesn’t stop coming or let me slack and looks to take you apart. I know when I spar Cowboy, we’ve got a fight,” says Price, who scored a seventh-round TKO of Starks. “Cowboy’s a powerful puncher who is focused and in great shape.
“I not only think he’ll be able to dominate this next guy and be victorious, but that he’ll end up knocking him out.”
That “next guy” is Jose Quezada (11-0, 6 KOs), whom Ryan Karl (12-0, 8 KOs) will face Tuesday night at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). The eight-round bout will head the undercard of a 147-pound main event between Bryant Perrella (14-0, 13 KOs) and Yordenis Ugas (16-3, 7 KOs).
Just as Karl helped Price prep for his victory, Price returned the favor, barely getting a chance to enjoy his big triumph before jumping back in the ring to give his friend some quality work ahead of the battle with Quezada.
“I sparred with Darwin for his entire camp, and he came right back after his win to spar with me,” Karl says. “Darwin’s really long, active, doesn’t get tired, throws a ton of punches and he’s a great measuring stick for whoever I’m up against.
“We had a really strong camp, and I feel like our sparring is tougher than any fight I’ve ever had, so we feel really confident.”
“ You’re [training] around winners, not a bunch of B-class fighters. We’re surrounded by world champions whose goal for us is to be world champions. ” Ryan "Cowboy" Karl
Karl and Price work out at the Houston-area Plex Boxing Gym, the same venue where 154-pound titleholders Jermall Charlo and Erislandy Lara train. All four are products of renowned Houston-based trainer Ronnie Shields, which means each fighter feels the need to “represent,” Price says.
“You’re [training] around winners, not a bunch of B-class fighters,” Karl says. “We’re surrounded by world champions whose goal for us is to be world champions, and we want to be world champions. It’s a bar and a standard we all aspire to.”
In his last fight in June, Karl scored a third-round knockdown en route to an eight-round unanimous decision over Luis Solis, who entered their fight with a record of 16-6-4 with 13 KOs. It was the longest the 24-year-old Karl had gone in a fight, surpassing his six-round unanimous decision over Alfonso Olvera in October.
In between the wins over Solis and Olvera—who was knocked down in the fifth round—Karl scored three knockdowns of Ken Alvarez on his way to a fifth-round TKO win in November. That means Karl—a wiry, 5-foot-10 Texas native—has stopped or knocked down five consecutive opponents.
He’ll look to continue his power streak against Quezada, an undefeated 21-year-old who was raised in Chicago. Quezada is coming off a six-round majority decision over unheralded Cameron Kreal on June 18.
Quezada is about to take a big step up in competition Tuesday night, but that doesn’t mean Karl's camp believes it will be an easy ride. After all, Quezada has the best record of any opponent the "Cowboy” has faced.
“Quezada’s an all-around good boxer with a good body attack, but we’re going to attack his body,” Shields says. “Darwin’s a really good fighter, Cowboy’s in great shape, prepared for everything Quezada has, and he’s ready to go.”
- Ryan Karl