Sorry, Gervonta v Ryan Is Big, But Not a Super Fight
This Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia matchup puts two of the most prominent faces in the sport in the ring. That in itself is cause for joy.
The problem has always been getting there. Who was the genius who provided that ill-labeled “Four Princes” to these youngsters? That is aging like fast food left out now.
Besides, we still need to get intel on where it will officially happen for a fight of this magnitude. While boxing is all about testing everyone's patience when it comes to making contests, many have already failed and dropped out in anticipation of what is being hyped as the fight to save boxing.
Spoiler alert: It won't.
As this writing goes to publish, it will have been one week, Barenaked Ladies style, since the latest “done deal.” Does it take a week for Paramount Global, Premier Boxing Champions, or whoever else is involved to tell you where it is and how much? Of course not.
Instead, we're left with crumbs as clues of a targeted April 22nd date and somewhere in Las Vegas on pay-per-view to happen. It's a reminder that since the pandemic, boxing has become a slow-tease strip show with no nudity regarding big-time fights and the process for them to get done.
“Take a look at the way they take their shoes off” is where we are at while we still wait for some form of cleavage.
Let me answer the first question mentioned: is this a legitimate super fight? By definition, not at all. From what has been made public, the battle is at 136 lbs. As much as the sanctioning bodies are proving to be useless, there isn't a WBA 136 belt or any stakes outside of who will win. Not even a “regular” title at that weight. Labeling this as a “Superfight” is misleading—a big-time fight, just not a super one.
That leads me to the answer to the second question, as this fight is easily the biggest one out there. The “belts don't matter” crowd is right in this aspect. Not even close, regardless of weight class or titles. Davis and Garcia are currently boxing's biggest draws, which is what the sport needs more of. Top young prospects that are taking on one another.
Stop me if you have yet to hear that from almost everybody in boxing already. I'll hold.
The landscape for boxing and any proclamation of business expectations or “how many pay-per-view buys?” will it do is lofty but unrealistic. Then again, every promoter does this, and it's all about selling you the moon on these shows. Bob Arum expected a million buys for Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder 2. It didn't. Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin 3 reportedly made over a million buys. Of course, it's something that their provider put out, so take that as you will. Especially since all of them don't release numbers consistently for privacy reasons or another (unless it's these figures they throw out to everyone to brag about) nowadays.
This fight is a friendly reminder that the business of boxing, like all other businesses, is boring. Boring as hell.
Whenever this fight has a home and a ticket price, I can tell you it will happen in due course. In the meantime, once the biggest fight of 2023 happens, and it is this one without question, what can the sport do to ride that wave? So far for the year, this has been a solid slate of cards, albeit none bringing new eyes to the sport. Everyone knows what this fight means; it's a matter of what they'll do with it.