After months of back and forth, Twitter deadlines, potential criminal cases, and rematch clause negotiations, Gervonta “Tank” Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) vs. Ryan “King Ry” Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) has been finalized and is set to take place on April 22nd on Showtime PPV.
Although both fighters primarily fight in the lightweight division, the bout will take place at a 136-pound catchweight.
As of now, it's unclear if Davis' version of the WBA lightweight title will be on the line.
Regardless of the bout's implications in the lightweight division, it is a relief for boxing fans that the fight has been officially announced and hopefully will take place.
However, the question then becomes how big Davis vs. Garcia is. Is this a legitimate super fight that can be the start of more significant fights to come? Or is this merely a fight that is bigger due to its relevance in today's boxing world?
I see it one way and Marquis Johns another, on what #Davis Garcia means for boxing in 2023. Here is the Marquis column.
Davis and Garcia are both under the age of 30, and respectively are two of the names in the sport that get traction outside of boxing circles. The unfortunate reality check for boxing fans is that outside of Canelo Alvarez, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua in the United States, the boxer that gets the most attention is the social media darling Jake Paul.
Look on any sports show on ESPN and FOX or even on MMA websites; there wasn't a mention or story on Subriel Matias' thrilling stoppage over Jeremias Ponce this past weekend; instead, anything boxing related was about Jake Paul's loss to Tommy Fury.
Thus the importance of Davis-Garcia is amplified as it stands as a major fight between two undefeated stars. Now that Terence Crawford-Errol Spence looks to be a candidate for future articles on ‘fights that should have happened,' Davis-Garcia is one of the few bouts that could attract mainstream attention.
Until recently, for the majority of his career, Davis was promoted by Floyd Mayweather Jr. under Mayweather Promotions. Garcia is currently promoted by Oscar De La Hoya under Golden Boy Promotions. Neither Davis nor Garcia has shown to be as huge at the box office or PPV as either Mayweather or De La Hoya. But, in today's boxing landscape, there isn't anybody on the two Hall-of-Famer's levels from a financial standpoint. Davis and Garcia don't need to match their respective (former) promoters to make a match between the two significant.
Davis, 28, is arguably the poster boy for any news being good news. Similar to fighters of the past, like former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, Davis' run-ins with the law have endeared him to some fans and have yet to impact his drawing ability.
Over his last four contests, all in differing markets, Davis has been able to draw large crowds in Washington D.C. (19, 731) against Hector Luis Garcia, Brooklyn, NY (18,970) against Rolly Romero, Los Angeles, CA (15,880) against Isaac Cruz and in Atlanta, GA (16,570) against Mario Barrios. That is four significant markets that all sold out or came close.
On PPV, Davis has yet to be as successful as in the live gate, but he has consistently sold over 200,000 on all four of his matches on the platform.
Garcia, 24, will be headlining his first PPV with Davis. Like his rival, he has been prosperous at the box office, with his previous two bouts attracting over 11,000 fans in Los Angeles and 14,000-plus in San Antonio, TX. So, wherever Davis-Garcia takes place, it should have a fruitful box office return, especially if it takes place on the west coast. Whether the fight has enough mainstream appeal to generate 1 million PPV buys is debatable.
“If there is a fight that would do over a million (PPV) buys, it's Ryan Garcia and Tank Davis,” stated Oscar De La Hoya to Boxingscene.com in 2022.
The two most recent boxing matches that garnered a 1-million dollar buy rate on PPV in the United States were exhibition bouts. Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul sold a million in 2021. And the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. contest sold 1.6 million in 2020. Even Canelo Alvarez has failed to hit the 1-million mark on PPV since his rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018.
As far as why Davis-Garcia is a mega-fight for boxing in 2023, it is not just for the fight itself but also for the sport's future. It can be a barometer for how much interest the sport can generate with its current crop of stars. With both fighters having a high knockout ratio, the probability of the fight living up to the hype is likely. More importantly, it could lead to more fights between the two in the future. And just like all sports, boxing is in need of rivalries. So, while Davis-Garcia may not save the sport, it can be the catalyst to put it back in the right direction.