Ryan Garcia won’t be fighting Mercito Gesta on January 21 as a prelude to his major clash with Gervonta Davis in April. He, actually, won’t be fighting anybody.
The 24-year-old rising star, who alternates between being known for his flashy ring performances and his disappointing fight pull-outs, says that he doesn’t want a tune-up fight, doesn’t need a tune-up fight, and, as a matter of fact, is making that decision out of respect for the fans.
“I refuse to do another tune up,” Garcia said via social media. “I’m ready for this moment. In my heart I didn’t want to do that to you guys! We are coming straight for Tank! I apologize to any that wanted to see me in Jan but this fight is everything let’s get. You guys seen me from the garage training and now to the biggest stage #April #2rounds
“F**k the tune up. Bring on Tank. SPARKING HIM OUT IN 2
“Been thinking about it during the time they were figuring out this fight and I feel the fans and everyone who supports boxing have seen these tune ups already it’s time that we give the fans what they want. Also he requested the tune up not me so let him handle business. LETS GO”
Garcia would double-down on his sentiment in a recent interview.
“I had time to think about if I really wanted to do this,” Garcia told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “Tank has always wanted to do things that are going to make him as comfortable as he could be and as ready as he could be going into a fight. I didn’t need to tune up and I don’t need to tune up. I want to put on the biggest fights for the fans. So I’ve decided that I’m done f*****g around. I’m ready to go right after Tank.”
“I’m just used to [long layoffs] at this point,” added Garcia. “A lot of my fights have come off layoffs. [Luke] Campbell [in January 2021], that came after about a year off. As long as I’m staying in the gym right now, I’m good. I already feel in amazing shape. So I pretty much am now just focused on preparing my body and my mind as best as I can for that fight with Tank.
“It’s not about the money for me. It’s not about having easy fights. This is the best thing for me. For my mindset, going into a huge fight, I don’t want to be worried about Mercito Gesta real quick. I know they say it’s easy, whatever, but I want to really focus on the fight that matters to me and that’s Tank.”
Not everyone agrees with Garcia’s decision or the thinking behind it. Notably, his own promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, has publicly questioned the choice.
“Look, Tank Davis is gonna have a tune-up fight [Against Hector Luis Garcia, January 7],” De La Hoya told FightHype.com. “His tools are going to be very sharp for when he faces Ryan Garcia in April. Ryan decided to bypass the tuneup and go straight to Tank.
“I strongly feel it’s a big mistake, but [what] we all have to do is wish him the very best and [tell him to] stay in shape, stay in the gym, continue training, sparring, stay focused, and wait for that big day.”
De La Hoya’s concern is clearly based on his fighter’s history of being somewhat unstable when it comes to keeping fight dates. Although Garcia managed to fight twice in 2022, he only managed one fight in 2020, one fight in 2021 and saw his career stalled by injury and mental health issues. There will be a lot of time to drift off into distraction between now and the proposed Davis fight date in April. Keeping the young man in the gym and training with a date in January would, at least in theory, help him stay focused.
Some have attributed nefarious motives to Garcia’s sudden decision not to fight in January. Gervonta Davis, who has asserted in the past that Garcia may be using performance enhancing drugs, jumped on social media upon hearing of the fight withdrawal, eager to share a tweet questioning Garcia’s clean-athlete status.
“Someone is cycling off the juice so they are skipping on the ‘tune up’ huh @Gervontaa was right,” Davis quoted.