Boxing needs Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia to happen.
The entirety of the boxing world has their fingers crossed that a potential match-up between two of the more well-known younger practitioners, Gervonta “Tank” Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) and Ryan “King Ry” Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs), will take place.
Before his most recent contest against Hector Luis Garcia on Jan. 7, Davis was involved in a domestic dispute, which sent the boxing community into a panic. For a few days, it was thought that the fight with Ryan Garcia had gone up in flames. Fortunately, the details of the dispute surfaced, and it appears that it won’t impact a fight with Garcia or have much worse implications.
Then Garcia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya, stated via Twitter that he would be giving a deadline for the contracts to be drawn up and signed for Davis-Garcia. And that he would move on if the deadline wasn’t met. De La Hoya went through his Instagram account to alleviate the dread boxing fans felt, letting everyone know that contracts were nearly finalized.
Last November, when it was first announced that a deal had been struck for Davis and Garcia to meet in 2023, they agreed to a catch weight of 136 pounds and would take a fight in the interim. The 24-year-old Garcia chose to forgo taking a pseudo-tune-up bout. Whether the fight will have Davis’ secondary WBA lightweight title on the line, the weight at which the bout will take place, and where the contest will be held is still unknown.
3 reasons boxing needs Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia to happen
1. Boxing’s fan base needs to grow more
But the hard truth is that boxing needs Davis vs. Garcia to take place no more than ever, regardless of the weight class or venue. 2022 was an up-and-down year for the sport. Some of the most anticipated fights went by the wayside, with most of the elite fighters relegated to fighting just once or twice a year.
With the number of paywalls, subscription services, and pay-per-views, watching boxing on television can become a chore. There were over eleven boxing pay-per-views in 2022, and a majority were fights that did not belong on the platform. Also, with most boxing matches on the east coast starting as late as midnight or even as late as 1 am, the sport seems to be shooting itself in the foot.
Boxing has a limited number of stars that would be considered box office draws. However, Davis and Garcia have proven their ability to sell tickets. In particular, Davis, 28, has been nearly selling out multiple arenas in major markets such as Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C over the last two years. The power-punching southpaw had over 19,000 fans at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., for his bout with Hector Luis Garcia. Last summer, Ryan Garcia sold up to 11,000 tickets at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles against Javier Fortuna. The point is that a fight between the two could be massive at the live gate and translate into a higher pay-per-view buy rate.
2. Boxing needs rivalries
Like all sports, boxing can be at its most exciting when you have a feud. In baseball, for example, when the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox, it garners an audience even if the teams don’t have the best records. Fighters don’t necessarily need to have animosity toward each other to produce a compelling fight, but it doesn’t hurt. And a rivalry between two popular and young fighters could help bring anticipation and excitement to a stagnant era.
The most romanticized eras of the sweet science had some form of rivalry. The 1970s had the trilogy between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. The 1980s had numerous bouts between the quartet of Roberto Duran, Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler. The 2000s featured numerous wars between Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Manny Pacquiao. Most recently, in the 2010s, the super flyweight division gifted boxing fans with great fights featuring Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and Roman Gonzalez.
Garcia and Davis have shown that they can attract attention outside boxing circles. A rivalry between the two can be the launching pad that sets precedence for more fighters in their generation to be more willing to take risks.
“Ryan has high hopes,” Davis said on The Last Stand podcast with Brian Custer. “He’s a fighter. Fighters have to speak highly and think highly of themselves. He’s talking, and he’s actually putting in the work. He’s not taking any fights and he’s focusing on me. We can’t overlook his statement. You know what I mean? We just have to be mindful that he’s coming. I definitely have to be prepared. I’ll make sure to prepare myself just as much or much harder than him.”
3. The fight has a high chance of living up to the hype
Both Davis and Garcia are knockout artists. The three-division champion, Davis, has a 92 percent knockout rate stopping all but two of his opponents. The California native Garcia also has a high knockout ratio along with arguably the fastest hands in all the sport. Garcia does have an extensive height and reach advantage over Davis but has also shown more vulnerability.
But that same vulnerability is part of what makes Garcia exciting. In his fight in January 2021 against Luke Campbell, he was dropped hard in the second round but ultimately came back to stop the British fighter in seven rounds with a body shot.
Against Davis, Garcia has made it clear that he feels he cannot only defeat Davis but also knock him out.
“Prediction for the fight – I say I’ll beat him in about two rounds,” stated Garcia on The Joe Pomp Show podcast. “Part of me knows that I am just better than him. What I’ve seen from him. What I know about myself. What I know they are underestimating, just by the way he speaks and just how he fights. But my main thing is that I don’t think he’s really every understood adversity in a professional ring in his career.”
With fights like Davis vs. Garcia, the sport of boxing can bounce back from a lackluster 2022. Fights need to be made to create even more fights. Getting fighters back in the ring more and on social media less will be one of the keys.