Fighting fans will probably have to wait for Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis

Ryan Garcia

Ryan Garcia
Photo: Getty Images

Few things are more overwhelming than the tornado that occurs when two boxers circle each other for months and even years before finally entering the ring. At this time, between King Vasiliy Lomachenko, Teófimo López, Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson, Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis, the lightweight division is a menacing sharknado. With so many young fighters in their early twenties, they’ll spend the next few years figuring out this Rubix cube of young, up-and-coming boxers. However, Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) and Tank Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) appear to be on a collision course at the Hadron Collider.

In Saturday’s match against 33-year-old Javier Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KOs), Garcia, 23, knocked out the former lightweight champion three times, including a left hook to Fortuna’s head that left him dizzy for the 10 count.

The hubris radiates from Garcia. Canelo Álvarez’s protégé didn’t bask in the shine of his win for long, telling DAZN’s Chris Mannix after his win: “I’m not going back to 135 for nothing, but I’ll be fighting ‘Tank’ (Davis) after this.”

Minutes later, Davis responded succinctly via Twitter.

Both Davis and Garcia occupy the incubation chamber of boxing. Managers are reluctant to risk their undefeated boxers getting close to a pinprick that will lower their balloon flight. Fighting each other would be the first big fight they got. This isn’t Errol Spence and Terence Crawford maximizing their brands before coming together. Garcia and Davis have knocked over tomato cans and have been accused of dodging tougher opponents. Garcia has been fixated on a game against Davis for a while and they finally seem to be ready to throw. Together, Garcia and Davis have recorded 44 stoppages in 50 professional fights. It’s a fight every boxing fan wants to see.

Even Mike Tyson took part in instigating the Ryan-Davis tornado during Garcia’s appearance on his Hotboxing podcasting. Garcia did his part to publicize his fight against Fortuna, but his thoughts were on Davis, who FaceTimed.

Garcia, however, had the high ground. He’s a long-winded, marketable attention economy influencer who lives on Instagram, where he has amassed 9 million followers and promotes with a louder frequency than the more succinct Davis. Garcia makes Davis look small. Still, the fists have to do the talking in the end. All that enthusiasm must manifest itself in a tangible reality.

Garcia’s vow to fight Davis was headlined, but there’s one warning in the fine print of his post-match speech that could turn this fight into development hell. “I’m not going back to 135 for nothing, but I’ll be fighting ‘Tank’ after this. If ‘Tank’ wants it at 140… let’s get it.”

The stated weight will undoubtedly be a point of contention in the negotiations. The 5-foot-5 Davis is already giving up two inches to the towering Garcia and three inches in reach. Garcia is the naturally bigger fighter. Of all the lightweight sharks, Garcia has the second highest knockout ratio to Davis and even that statistic underestimates Garcia’s strength. In his last fight for Fortuna, Garcia defeated Emmanuel Tagoe 12 rounds in his first fight since surgeons repaired his right wrist.

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Garcia’s promotion company and Davis’ mentor, Floyd Mayweather, are likely to squabble over this for months. It may turn out to be a deadlock in the end. Crawford and Spence’s aforementioned superfight only came to fruition after the former broke away from Top Rank. Davis is still represented by Premier Boxing Champions, who are known to keep the boxers in their stable out of reach of higher echelon fighters who could put a dent in their records.

Garcia threw out Lopez’s name as an alternative to Davis if the fight can’t be made, but he’s a 140-pound guppie. Lopez has fought for title belts in his last few fights, especially since he dismantled Lomachenko in October 2021. To him it’s Davis or bust.

Garcia and Davis are predicted to have drawn together as a Category 5, but it could disappear in a gust of hot air. The politics of a hybrid deal between Golden Boy’s DAZN and PBC’s Showtime or Fox pay-per-view deal can be insurmountable. Ironically, the obstacle is that neither name is big enough for these opposing networks to split their revenues among themselves.

Garcia-Davis doesn’t have brand names yet, and they don’t have brand names because their promotion companies wrapped them in protective Styrofoam. The upshot of that over-concern is that it’s nearly impossible for competitive promotions to book fights between these two budding fighters, because it’s not worth doing so for two fighters who haven’t proven they can draw viewers as the main thing. event. It’s the kind of snake that eats its own tail, the business paradox that has made boxing a second-rate sport and ironically kept newcomers like Davis and Garcia from blowing up.

Boxing beats itself up, but it doesn’t have to be for Garcia and Davis. The fighting game is looking for disruptors, and these two could turn the lightweight division into the most indispensable non-heavyweight classification since Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran fought it out as middleweights in the 1980s.