On Nov. 17, both Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia took to social media to announce that they’d agreed to fight each other in what all in the sport agree will be a mega-fight at super lightweight if it goes forward.
Davis went so far on Twitter as to say the fight was “signed sealed delivered…done.”
But Oscar De La Hoya, the Hall of Fame fighter and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, created somewhat of a commotion Saturday, when he put out a tweet issuing a Monday demand for a signed contract from the Premier Boxing Champions and Davis, or he would walk away and the fight wouldn’t happen.
That tweet raised more than a few eyebrows, but on Tuesday, De La Hoya posed with Garcia in the GBP offices holding what appeared to be a contract. He wrote on Instagram, “Devil is in the details. April 15 let’s go!!!” He then tagged Garcia and Davis in the post.
Yahoo Sports reached out to Golden Boy president Eric Gomez, who confirmed that his company had received the deal from PBC and that lawyers were going through it.
It means the fight is all but official now. Stephen Espinoza, the president of Showtime Sports, used to be De La Hoya’s attorney and negotiated many of his fight deals. Espinoza told Fight Hub TV that it was common for De La Hoya to sign deals as late as the week of the fight.
But Espinoza said everything had been agreed upon in November, when Davis and Garcia tweeted it was done.
“On the day that they had announced it, the fighters announced that they had a deal, everyone was in agreement — DAZN, Golden Boy, Showtime, PBC — everybody was comfortable with the fighters saying, ‘We have a deal,’” Espinoza told Fight Hub. “So why a couple of days later it changed, it’s a mystery to me.”
The Davis-Garcia fight is the first of three mega-bouts that boxing fans have been eagerly anticipating, but none of the three is completely finalized yet. Davis-Garcia looks the closest to crossing the finish line, and there is still work to be done to make a deal for the undisputed heavyweight title fight between unified champion Oleksandr Usyk and lineal champion Tyson Fury.
A bout for the undisputed welterweight title between unified champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO champion Terence Crawford is much more problematic.
Kudos are due to Davis and Garcia for demanding their teams make the fight. It’s a fascinating battle that will probably see Davis as the favorite, given his experience.
How Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia might play out
Davis is ranked 10th on the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound list and is generally regarded as one of the (at worst) 15 best in the world. Garcia is not ranked, but he has the speed and power to be a legitimate threat to beat the hard-hitting Davis.
Garcia is 23-0 with 19 knockouts. He’s not the hard, thudding puncher that Davis is, but he generates his power from his blazing quick hands. He’ll have the faster hands and better feet, and Davis will have the better power.
For Garcia to win, he’ll have to control the distance, keep Davis on the end of his jab and avoid mistakes. He’ll need to keep the fight in the center of the ring and punish Davis whenever he tries to slip inside.
Davis has greater leeway. He’s a much smarter fighter than he’s given credit for, and defensively, he has become adept at slipping punches as he’s working his way inside.
He’ll need to regularly touch Garcia to try to slow him down. He doesn’t need to be racking up the rounds on the scorecards because he has that home-run-type power that could end a fight at any moment.
However, Davis needs to make Garcia wary of his power and not just allow Garcia to fire at him from the outside without repercussions.
The great thing is it’s an important fight for the division. It’s likely to do significant business, somewhere along the lines of 500,000 to around 650,000 pay-per-view buys and with a paid gate if it’s at T-Mobile Arena that could do as well $10 million, if not more. This is a fight boxing fans want to see.
The schedule in the first quarter is sparse, and there’s next-to-nothing on tap to get fans excited.
A Davis-Garcia bout will generate plenty of excitement.
It seemed official when all of the entities involved tweeted Nov. 17 that the fight was happening. But this being boxing, weird things happen sometimes, and it’s always wise to be cautiously optimistic until things are official.
This isn’t going to be a fight that will, ahem, save boxing or one that will change the course of history. But it’s going to be a fun, competitive fight that fans have been clamoring to see and should thoroughly enjoy.
At the end of the day, it’s never a bad thing to listen to and then satisfy one’s customers.