Ryan Garcia’s wish after his KO win: ‘I’m going to fight Tank Davis’

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Even though Ryan Garcia looked better than ever with a sixth-round KO of Javier Fortuna on Saturday in Los Angeles, it feels like we’re moving farther away from a super fight against Gervonta Davis.

The impressive performance — knockdowns in Rounds 4, 5 and 6 — was Garcia’s second consecutive fight at 140 pounds after he campaigned at 135, where Davis still resides. “Tank” Davis did compete at junior welterweight once, a June 2021 TKO of Mario Barrios, but the weight disparity feels like yet another wrench in the spokes of any efforts to consummate a Garcia-Davis deal. “I’m never going back down to 135, I’m going to stay at 140, I’m going to fight ‘Tank’ Davis if he wants it at 140,” Garcia, 23, said. “And if he doesn’t, then I’ll go fight some 140-pounder. But he’s going to want to do it … there’s going to be riots if he don’t want to do it.

“I know that I’m committed to it and I told everybody that that’s where my heart’s positioned and I’m not going to waver for nobody.”

It’s clear that Garcia genuinely wants to meet Davis in the ring, but it’s less certain how Davis feels about fighting a larger man at a higher weight — Garcia is 5-foot-10, Davis is 5-foot-5 and a half.

Davis did tweet afterward that he was ready for the fight.

The weight is simply one of many obstacles to the highly anticipated fight. Garcia repeatedly stated this week that he wouldn’t allow boxing politics — he’s promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions while Davis is with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) — prevent a deal from being reached.

That is easier said than done.

So that’s two obstacles to the potential super fight and the biggest roadblock of all: competing networks.

Garcia fights exclusively on DAZN, while “Tank” competes on Showtime. This same problem held up a potential middleweight title fight between Jermall Charlo and Jaime Munguia. Charlo is with PBC/Showtime, while Munguia is with Golden Boy/DAZN. The inability to agree on which network would televise that fight killed the deal.

And the same sticking point may block a fight between Davis and Garcia. The purse split will certainly provide yet another obstacle, although it’s clear who the A-side is. After all, Davis sold out Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for his May KO of Rolando Romero and packed over 15,000 into Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles when he outpointed Isaac Cruz in December.

Garcia, meanwhile, attracted 11,288 fans at that same L.A. venue on Saturday. But if the sides can somehow compromise on the various issues, Davis-Garcia shapes up as a can’t-miss action fight between two of the youngest stars in the sport.

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Two explosive punchers with lightning-quick hands and large followings to boot, it’s the kind of fight boxing desperately needs. Win or lose, the type of jolt an event of that magnitude would make Garcia a far bigger star than ever. He would be positioned nicely for many meaningful fights in a suddenly red-hot junior welterweight division.

The 140-pound ruler Josh Taylor could meet Jack Catterall in a rematch this fall but has vacated two of the four titles. There’s also Jose Ramirez and Jose Zepeda, who are lined up for another title rematch. Teofimo Lopez makes his 140-pound debut against Pedro Campa on Aug. 13, and plenty more top-notch fighters are campaigning in the division. Regis Prograis and Subriel Matias are both looking for big fights. Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney has indicated he’ll jump up to 140 pounds sooner than later (probably after a rematch with George Kambosos Jr. this fall). If Garcia can’t land Davis before the end of the year, those are some of the names he could be looking at, but it would be a consolation prize at this stage. After all the trash talk and insults, “Tank” Davis is the only opponent who matters for Garcia. And now that Garcia is once again active, with two fights in four months, along with a statement win over Fortuna, the time is ripe for Garcia and Davis to finally meet in one of the biggest fights in all of boxing. “That’s going to get me the respect I deserve,” Garcia said. “And I’m never afraid. I have the spirit of competition in me, and you’ll see that come out when I fight Tank and whoop his ass.”

 

Bold predictions: Fury will fight again, GGG will retire and Spence-Crawford will finally happen

The first half of 2022 in boxing delivered plenty of action — and surprises — but that simply served as a table setter for what shapes up as a far more impactful final six months filled with genuine superfights.

Anthony Joshua will attempt to become a three-time heavyweight champion when he meets Oleksandr Usyk in a highly anticipated rematch on Aug. 20 in Saudi Arabia. One month later, Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin will close out their trilogy with a Sept. 17 fight in Las Vegas for the undisputed super middleweight championship.

Then there’s Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, who remain on a collision course for a November clash for the undisputed welterweight championship.

What else might be in store? Here are five bold predictions for the rest of 2022:

Tyson Fury will agree to fight the Usyk-Joshua winner
You’re not buying Fury’s retirement following his win over Dillian Whyte in April, are you?

It’s possible Fury won’t fight a second time in 2022, but the wheels will already be in motion before the year is over. I’ll be bold and say he’ll be back in 2023.

The prospect of a fight against the winner of Usyk-Joshua will simply be too much to pass up, especially if Joshua emerges victorious. Fury-Joshua would be the biggest fight in British boxing history by a wide margin. It’s an event years in the making.

But even if Usyk beats Joshua again, it’s hard to see Fury passing up the opportunity to fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship — and grab more piles of money in the process.

Fury is still just 33 and at the peak of his powers. Surely, he won’t walk away when he still has so much more to give to the sport. Fury has floated the possibility of an exhibition with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, and while that could happen, it won’t get in the way of a fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship and the riches that accompany it.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was prepared to pay $155 million for the rights to a fight between Fury and Joshua last year, and it is set to dole out a reported $80 million for Usyk-Joshua 2. According to sources, what the KSA truly values is the undisputed championship, and all four belts will be on the line whether Fury fights Usyk or Joshua.

Simply put, Fury is a fighting man, as he often reminds everyone, and it’s true. Forget one more fight: The smart money says Fury has several more high-profile fights left in his Hall of Fame career.

Spence and Crawford deliver a classic that leads to a rematch
First, both teams must agree to a deal, but it seems they are committed to making the fight happen. It would be a surprise if the current talks didn’t lead to a meeting for all four welterweight titles before the year is out.

And when they do finally fight, Spence and Crawford will undoubtedly deliver an instant classic that more than lives up to the hype. These are two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, and the clash of styles should present an action-packed bout.

Spence is a natural welterweight and can box going backward or forward, but so can Crawford, who is also a switch-hitter with a killer instinct. It’s hard to envision anything but an ultracompetitive fight that leads to a rematch or even a trilogy.

Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano will deliver an unforgettable rematch
When they met in April, Taylor and Serrano combined for the biggest boxing match in women’s history. That’s not hyperbole.

A sold-out crowd at iconic Madison Square Garden in New York watched Taylor and Serrano lay it all on the line over 10 brutal rounds for pound-for-pound supremacy. But Taylor’s victory didn’t arrive without controversy.

A rematch is natural, and it could take place in December in Ireland, Taylor’s home country. Serrano first will return to featherweight for a defense of her three titles against Brenda Carbajal on the Jake Paul-Hasim Rahman Jr. undercard on Aug. 6.

After that, Taylor and Serrano should once again find themselves on a collision course for the biggest rematch in women’s boxing history. Taylor, the undisputed lightweight champion, has no fight scheduled.

Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia will strike a deal
Davis and Garcia were in serious talks last year before Garcia broke off negotiations to chase a fight with Manny Pacquiao that never materialized.

Now that Garcia is back in the swing of things — assuming he gets past Javier Fortuna on Saturday — the time is now for this superfight in the lightweight division to finally happen.

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“Tank” Davis, 27, and Garcia, 23, arguably boast the biggest followings in boxing among younger fans, and this shapes up as a terrific fight in the ring, too. It would no doubt be a financial bonanza at the gate and on pay-per-view.

Both possess quick hands and immense power, yet they are untested on the top level. The winner would be in line for plenty of lucrative fights, whether it’s against undisputed champion Devin Haney or former champ Vasiliy Lomachenko.

GGG will retire after trilogy fight with Alvarez
Golovkin is now 40 and nearing the end of his storied career. For so long, all he has wanted was a third crack at Alvarez, which he’s now getting. This is his one last chance to settle a bitter rivalry between them.

Whether he wins or loses, Golovkin will enter the Hall of Fame on the first ballot as one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time. He has already earned tens of millions of dollars, and his greatest payday yet could be his last one.

Golovkin already acknowledged that the financial windfall coming his way will help secure his retirement, and it would be fitting that the final fight is against Alvarez.

Twenty-four rounds couldn’t separate them (a split draw in the first fight and a majority decision for Alvarez in the rematch), and there’s nothing left for Golovkin to accomplish afterward.

 

Ryan Garcia knocks out Javier Fortuna, calls out Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney for 140-pound bouts

Following a disappointing performance in April, Ryan Garcia impressed against a far better opponent on Saturday with a sixth-round knockout of Javier Fortuna in a 140-pound bout in Los Angeles.

The 23-year-old star floored Fortuna in Rounds 4, 5 and 6, all the result of Garcia’s lightning-quick left hook. The first knockdown was produced by a body shot — and set up by a feint — but the following two hooks crashed into Fortuna’s chin.

After the last knockdown, Fortuna received the referee’s 10 count on one knee, the end of the fight coming 27 seconds into Round 6.

“I know that I was sharp. … I know how good of a fighter I am, I just had to put it all together,” Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) said. “The fight speaks for itself. … When I face harder punchers, I box better. … I hit hard; it doesn’t take a lot to hurt somebody.”

Garcia is ESPN’s No. 6 boxer at 135 pounds, but his last two fights have been contested at 140, a weight he said he’s far more comfortable at.

“I’m not going back down to 135 for nothing, but I will fight ‘Tank’ next,” Garcia said, referring to a super fight with Gervonta Davis. “If ‘Tank’ wants it at 140 … let’s get it.”

Davis, also a star fighter, campaigns at 135 pounds, but did fight at junior welterweight once, an 11th-round TKO of Mario Barrios last June.

A matchup between Davis and Garcia is one of the biggest commercial events boxing can deliver, but consummating a deal won’t be easy, given the promotional and network divide. Davis is aligned with PBC and fights on Showtime, whereas Garcia is aligned with Golden Boy and fights on DAZN.

Whomever Garcia fights next, he plans to fight December, and it’s apparent he’s improving after a tumultuous 2021.

Following a January 2021 TKO of Luke Campbell in a career-best victory, Garcia was set to fight Fortuna last July but withdrew to address his mental health. A November fight with former champion Joseph Diaz Jr. was scrapped after Garcia underwent surgery to repair his right wrist.

He returned in April to outpoint Emmanuel Tagoe, but there wasn’t much action in the fight and Garcia surprisingly never put the Ghanian away despite hurting him several times.

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Garcia had no such issues against Fortuna, a 33-year-old Dominican who is ESPN’s No. 10 lightweight. He appeared to inflict damage every time he touched him. But Garcia wasn’t just far bigger than Fortuna, he was also much quicker. He consistently beat Fortuna to the punch and kept him at the end of his jab.

Fortuna rarely threw a punch, and when he did, the shots rarely met the mark. The right eye of Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KOs) was swollen by the end. It was Fortuna’s second loss in three fights; he was outpointed by Diaz last July.

“They told me I was some guy who doesn’t care about boxing and who made up mental health [issues],” Garcia said.

He added: “It’s not weakness. It’s strength. It’s courage.”

With Garcia now returned to form, and with a second fight under the tutelage of Joe Goossen, he should be ready for far better opposition, whether it’s Davis, undisputed lightweight champ Devin Haney or any of the best fighters at his new weight class.

“Let’s get the big fights going,” Garcia said. “I’m sure Devin can’t make 135 either, let’s be honest. That dude is big, too. … None of us are gonna be at 135, let’s be real.”

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