Okay, the bout happened and Gervonta “Tank” Davis proved himself clearly superior to “King” Ryan Garcia with his seventh round KO victory Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. So, now what?
Here are some reasonable options for both fighters after this weekend’s big fight.
In a perfect world, the 28-year-old “Tank” would be lined up perfectly to take on the winner of the May 20 clash between unified 4-belt lightweight champ Devin Haney and former 3-belt lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko. It would make perfect sense, actually. The undisputed champ vs. the division’s biggest star. Unfortunately, the boxing world is far from a perfect world and logic doesn’t sync up with the business of matchmaking. Davis vs. the winner of Haney-Lomachenko is a longshot, in great part due to the fact that Haney and Lomachenko fight under the Top Rank promotional banner and Davis fights under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner. Cross-promotional deals do happen (like Davis vs. Garcia this past weekend), but not very often and not when both sides refuse to cede A-side leverage as would likely be the case with Tank vs. Haney/Lomachenko.
A bout with mega-talented lightweight newcomer and former featherweight and super featherweight champ Shakur Stevenson would be stellar. However, again, Stevenson is promoted by Top Rank and Davis is with PBC. So, sadly, Davis-Stevenson isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
With the best and most logical potential foes seemingly out of the question for now, Davis will likely be matched with “next best” opposition.
A rematch with Mexican battler Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz is the likeliest choice for Team Davis. Cruz gave Davis his toughest fight to date back in December of 2021 as a replacement for original opponent Rolly Romero before losing via unanimous decision. Although it might’ve been a bit of a best night vs. worst night situation, the fact still remains that the all-action Cruz stood up to Davis’ best shots and kept coming, one of only two opponents in Davis’ career to see the closing bell.
If a Cruz rematch doesn’t happen, lightweight top contender Frank Martin could be an option. New IBF junior welterweight champ Subriel Matias could also get the call. Don’t be surprised if Spain’s Sandor Martin (who beat Mikey Garcia and nearly upset Teofimo Lopez in two of his last three fights) comes into the picture as well.
A humbling KO loss on the grandest of boxing stages was certainly not what Garcia had in mind when he pursued this high-profile bout with “Tank” Davis. The defeat shined a light on the many deficiencies in the technical/tactical approach of the 24-year-old. This loss can definitely be a learning experience if the Victorville, California native is willing to get back in the gym and iron out the wrinkles in his game. In the meantime, though, he’ll want to get back in the ring sooner rather than later.
Garcia has already stated his desire to move up to junior welterweight and it won’t be tough to find some quality opposition in that talented weight class. The difficulty will be in finding the right opposition coming off this loss.
Bringing former 3-belt lightweight champ George Kambosos Jr. up to 140 may be the safest option for a “big” fight. Kambosos is tough, but not particularly special in any one area and would likely struggle with Garcia’s size and speed. Bringing Mercito Gesta, who was slated to face Garcia this past January before Garcia nixed the fight, up to 140 would also be an option.
Up at junior welter, Garcia and his team will have to be careful with their first opponent selections. A best bet would be against someone like Montana Love, who is not yet an upper-tier fighter, but who still has some name value.