Davis has two Garcias on his mind: Hector Luis first and then Ryan
Lightweight star defends belt Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
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When Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Ryan Garcia announced in November that they had come to terms for a much-anticipated showdown being planned for April 15 in Las Vegas, boxing fans rejoiced.
But while two of the biggest stars in the sport had agreed to the Showtime PPV fight — a nontitle bout at 136 pounds — it came with this caveat: Both fighters would have to first win interim bouts and come away uninjured.
Davis’ bout is set. He will defend the WBA “regular” lightweight title for the fourth time when he faces WBA junior lightweight titlist Hector Luis Garcia, who is moving up one division (and no relation to Ryan), on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Showtime PPV, PPV.com, $74.99), at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The pay-per-view is also available on all major cable, telco and satellite providers in the United States and Canada.
Plans were in the works for Ryan Garcia to have his interim bout against Mercito Gesta on Jan. 28, but about three weeks ago, Garcia announced that he would forego the interim bout and was content to wait for Davis in the spring.
Davis was critical of his decision to skip the interim bout and wait for him.
“I think Ryan Garcia’s being lazy not taking a fight before our fight,” Davis said. “I don’t know. When he was coming up, he was in the gym and everything and now he’s got some money and a little bit of fame and he’s partying and stuff like that. It happens to the majority of us, but it’s up to him to tighten up before it’s too late.”
Davis, in his first fight since his recent split with Mayweather Promotions, said he hopes fighting Ryan Garcia is the first of many big fights to come.
“I am hoping that the Ryan Garcia fight will open up doors for everyone to make more big fights,” he said. “It also shows that I’m not ducking anybody.”
But before Davis can get to the April fight, he first will take on an opponent more difficult that many expected in fellow southpaw Hector Luis Garcia. He knows a bad night could cost him the mega fight in the spring, but he is also confident that he will take care of business.
“There’s been a lot of talk from other fighters in the division. I’m putting them on notice with this fight and the Ryan fight,” Davis said. “I can’t get to Ryan unless I get past Hector. I’m showing everyone that I’m one of the elite guys.
“Going into a fight, any opponent is dangerous. He’s training hard and I know that someone like (Hector Luis) Garcia isn’t just someone stepping in. He’s been training for me for a long time.
“Hector is a sound fighter who’s beat some top guys. He’s a durable guy who’s coming to fight. He’s undefeated and he’s a great opponent. You can’t sleep on him. If you’re sleeping on him, he might put you to sleep.”
Indeed, Hector Luis Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs), 31, who was a 2016 Olympian for his native Dominican Republic, had a breakout 2022, scoring two upsets, after which he vocally called out Davis.
In February, he took a fight with heavily favored Chris Colbert on short notice and scored a decisive 12-round unanimous decision that knocked Colbert from his position as the WBA mandatory challenger. Instead, Garcia got the title shot and outpointed Roger Gutierrez on Aug. 20 to take his 130-pound title.
Davis (27-0, 25 KOs), 28, of Baltimore, which is only about an hour from Washington, has no plans to allow Garcia to rack up a third upset in a row.
“Every fight is a steppingstone toward what I want to do,” Davis said. “I feel as though this fight with Hector is an important piece in all of it. I have to put on a good performance so that everybody knows that this is in their future.”
Calvin Ford, Davis’ career-long trainer, said he wanted Davis, who has been out of the ring since his May knockout of Rolando Romero, to fight ahead of a Ryan Garcia bout and to face a quality foe.
“We’re trying to take the hardest fights,” Ford said. “Hector is coming to fight. He’s had two impressive wins and is a real world champion. This is a fight that we asked for.”
Davis also asked for the Ryan Garcia fight, so he needs to win Saturday and make sure he is available for the bout since he is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 16 in Baltimore on 14 charges related to an alleged hit-and-run accident in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2020 that injured four people.
Saturday’s fight was put in jeopardy when Davis was arrested less than two weeks ago for misdemeanor domestic violence against the mother of one of his children and spent the night in jail near his Miami training camp. But after he was released on $1,000 bail, the woman backtracked on her story and what she said on a 911 call. Davis’ court appearance in the case has not yet been scheduled.
Meantime, Hector Luis Garcia does not have those distractions and plans to make Davis pay for the decision to fight him. He also has an idea of what he’d like to do next.
“We’re coming to make this a battle,” he said through an interpreter. “Whether it’s toe to toe or he wants to move and box, me and my trainer are ready. I want to make my name in this sport and make it last a lot longer after I’m around. I’m taking it one fight at a time, but I have big goals that I’m looking to reach.
“If I beat ‘Tank’, I’d be happy to go after a fight against Ryan Garcia. I don’t think he’s on the same level as me and Gervonta.”
Davis-Garcia PPV lineup
(9 p.m. ET on Showtime PPV, PPV.com and all major cable, telco and satellite providers in the U.S. and Canada)
Lightweights: Gervonta Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) vs. Hector Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs), 12 rounds, for Davis’ WBA “regular” title
Welterweights: Jaron “Boots” Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs) vs. Karen Chukhadzhian (21-1, 11 KOs), 12 rounds, for vacant IBF interim title
Welterweights: Rashidi Ellis (24-0, 15 KOs) vs. Roiman Villa (25-1, 24 KOs), 12 rounds, IBF eliminator
Super middleweights: Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs) vs. Demond Nicholson (26-4-1, 22 KOs), 10 rounds
Davis photo: Ryan Hafey/PBC
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Hector Garcia is going to cause an upset
I’m sure there’s a female Garcia or two he wouldn’t mind roughing up, but I guess these are the two priorities for Tank. I’ll sit this one out.