Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight: Five biggest storylines to follow for the blockbuster main event

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Two of the biggest young stars in the sport of boxing, each armed with their respective crossover fan base, will collide this weekend as unbeaten lightweights Gervonta “Tank” Davis and “King” Ryan Garcia square off in Las Vegas.

The 136-pound catchweight bout headlines a Showtime PPV (8 p.m. ET) card from T-Mobile Arena in a fight many have summarized as the one to crown boxing’s next face of the sport.

The undercard in Las Vegas is loaded up with interesting matchups before we get to the main event. Secondary WBA super middleweight champion David Morrell is back in action when he takes on late-replacement Yamaguchi Falcao in the co-main event. Morrell is hoping to earn his shot at Canelo Alvarez and the undisputed crown at 168 pounds if he continues to win.

As we draw closer to fight night, let’s take a closer look at the biggest storylines heading into fight week as Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) and Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) prepare to square off.

Boxing: Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia: Canelo Alvarez, Mike Tyson and Devin  Haney debate fight of the year | Marca

1. It’s what we don’t yet know that makes this fight so great

Can Garcia’s chin withstand Davis’ frightening power? How much will Garcia’s nearly five-inch height advantage play a role in frustrating Davis? Has either fighter faced anyone remotely as dangerous as each other? Given the fact that these two unbeaten boxers are choosing now to test themselves rather than waiting until this fight is even bigger (see below) fuels so much of the pre-fight banter regarding who will win. Yes, at its core, this fight is about Garcia’s size and speed against Davis’ power and experience. But especially for Garcia, who is taking on by far the toughest test of his pro career, it’s what we don’t know about him at this level that makes the intrigue of finding out so much fun to consider. Garcia is sublimely talented from an offensive standpoint yet will likely need to lean on his intangibles to score such a career-defining win. Davis, meanwhile, might enter as the betting favorite but he has yet to face someone this capable of bringing real danger to his doorstep. Somebody’s “0” must go, as the old adage goes about their combined 51-0 record. But the data we have in order to be decidedly sure which one gets their hand raised remains inconclusive, at best.

2. Could Davis-Garcia create a ripple effect across the sport?

It wouldn’t be a superfight if someone wasn’t peddling a tired narrative about how this is the fight to save boxing. In that case, Davis-Garcia doesn’t apply. But as Garcia promoter Oscar De La Hoya said this week, it could be “the fight to grow boxing.” With two fighters representing opposite sides of the political street from the standpoint of promoters and networks, this was a fight that was very difficult to make. Yet instead of making fans endure a multi-year buildup similar to Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao, which took place when each was in their mid-30s (or the Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford showdown that still hasn’t happened), the 28-year-old Davis and 24-year-old Garcia chose to find out who is better right now. Not only is this an old-school move from both fighters — particularly Garcia, who was forced to give up more in the negotiations — the hope is that it starts a healthy trend of elite young boxers demanding those in power to more consistently make the type of events that create true crossover momentum. Davis-Garcia has the potential to be exactly that. Each fighter brings large and separate fan bases to the table that extend far beyond the sport. But even more importantly, the risk each one is willing to take could become contagious provided the fight lives up to expectations in a weight class (in and around the 135-pound division) that is already overloaded with young talent.

Gervonta Davis knocks out Ryan Garcia in seventh round – as it happened |  Boxing | The Guardian

3. The constant threat of a KO should breed steady drama

With both fighters combining to have finished 87% of their opponents, it’s no secret how many fans and pundits are expecting a knockout. The speed and power of both are world class, which means the tension should be high throughout as each boxer navigates distance in the early going before testing each other’s chin. While Garcia has received criticism for being dropped hard in his toughest fight to date against former Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in 2021, he did get up off the canvas to stop (and retire) his opponent five rounds later. For Garcia, his speed is his power as a dynamic combination puncher who has also worked hard at becoming a KO threat to the body. And then there’s Davis, long referred to as “the Mike Tyson of the lower weight classes,” who is among the best one-punch finishers in the sport today. Both boxers can also move while utilizing great technique, but the setting of Las Vegas feels apropos because of how much this is expected to be a wild west duel where the first boxer to land their best shot could be the one who gets the win. And that should be enough to leave most on the edge of their seat until it happens.

4. The hydration clause has seemed to only harden Garcia’s resolve

Even in a matchup between two established stars, someone has to be the alpha from the standpoint of leverage and negotiating. In this case, that turned out to be Davis, whose home network of Showtime will produce the PPV despite Garcia’s network DAZN still being involved in the distribution and promotion. That also meant that the naturally smaller Davis was able to get Garcia to agree to a 10-pound rehydration clause aimed at preventing Garcia from bulking up too much during the final hours after Friday’s weigh-in. Garcia claimed he accepted the terms strictly because that was the only way the fight would happen and he hasn’t been shy at questioning Davis’ character publicly for doing so. But Garcia appears to have used the slight as motivation. While the pressure is on Garcia in his third fight with Hall-of-Fame trainer Joe Goossen to repair some technical issues (i.e. head movement) that have appeared to leave him vulnerable at times, the young star has appeared fully up for the task publicly at each turn. If the bright lights come Saturday have the potential to be too much for Garcia, he hasn’t shown anything throughout the promotion to suggest that it’s true. Garcia has stood firmly looking down at the shorter Davis during each of their pre-fight face offs, and has slung a fair share of his own trash talk in the direction of his opponent, too. Garcia’s confidence is riding high and his maturity and focus appear in lockstep entering such a dangerous test.

5. The winner will be in the driver’s seat at 135 pounds

Yes, it’s a statement that feels difficult to make considering this is a non-title bout and unbeaten Devin Haney is still in possession of all four lightweight world titles. But Haney, who defends against former champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in May, isn’t the same box-office star as Davis or Garcia and the path to true global recognition in and around this division (Garcia has already announced a move up to 140 pounds next) still goes through Saturday’s winner. With dynamic names like Shakur Stevenson, Frank Martin, Teofimo Lopez, Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis and Isaac Cruz also lingering in the gap between lightweight and junior welterweight, the potential for the winner of Davis-Garcia to continue on into even more big fights remains high. And from a financial standpoint, whoever wins will almost undoubtedly be calling the shots.

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