The excitement was understandable. The hype leading up to this past Saturday’s bout between Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Hector Luis Garcia said that, should Davis win, an April 15 mega-fight between Davis and Ryan “King Ry” Garcia would be next.
As things turned out, Davis won spectacularly, via ninth round corner stoppage. Tank vs. King Ry is next…right?
Any savvy boxing fan knows that nothing is guaranteed in this sport. And, given the two human beings involved in this dynamic, this April 15 date is FAR from guaranteed.
The 28-year-old Davis has had his outside-the-ring problems and distractions, most recently a December 27 arrest on a charge of domestic battery. He also has a court date in February for a serious hit-and-run charge that could conceivably result in prison time.
The 24-year-old Garcia, meanwhile, has gone through long stretches of inactivity throughout his career, pulling himself from fights due to injury and mental health issues. Most recently, the rising star pulled out of a tune-up contest with Mercito Gesta on January 21, declaring that he only wanted to focus on Tank Davis.
So, what happens if one (or both) fighters flake out and their April fight date falls apart? Here’s a look at both fighters’ likely alternatives.
If boxing were a “regular” sport, the goal would be the undisputed championship. That would mean Tank targeting 4-belt unified champ Devin Haney. Boxing, however, is not “regular” (or normal, for that matter). A bout with Haney would be equal parts hard to sign and stylistically undesirable. Same deal goes for former 3-belt champ Vasiliy Lomachenko. Instead, a Davis in search of a “big” fight without Ryan Garcia would likely pick around the perimeter of the top dogs in the 130-140 lb. weight range. WBA junior welterweight champ Alberto Puello might get a call. A rematch with Isaac Cruz would be a possibility. Rising contender Frank Martin, who beat Michel Rivera in a clash of prospects, would also be a doable next bout. Sandor Martin, who beat Mikey Garcia in 2021 and nearly beat Teofimo Lopez this past December, could also be an option. Former unified lightweight champ George Kambosos Jr. would be a winnable big fight with significant bankability. Beyond Ryan Garcia, there are some big, important fights to be had at 130-140. Unfortunately, politics and boxing business will keep opponents such as Haney, Lomachenko, Shakur Stevenson, and Teofimo Lopez off the table for now.
By taking on Gervonta Davis, Garcia is making a huge jump to the front of the line. Realistically, he hasn’t proven himself at the elite level of the sport yet and will be skipping all sorts of developmental tests by going straight at Davis. What we DO know about Garcia, though, is that he’s supremely talented and in possession of a rocket-like left hand that already rates among the pound-for-pound best offensive weapons in the sport. In terms of skill-level, he doesn’t look like he’s ready for the elite of the 135-140 lb. class. But he also may have the raw ability to make his way to the very top while still developing. Without Tank Davis in April, there are number of doable, high-end fights for the kid. Unified lightweight champ Devin Haney could step forward and strategically call out a still-developing Garcia for a high-profile bout he’d see as more winnable now than in the future. Fighting Sandor Martin would make sense for Garcia for the same reason it would make sense for Davis. Tough Australian Steve Spark, fresh off his upset of Montana Love, would be a stylistically favorable matchup with some substance behind it. Former 3-belt lightweight champ George Kambosos Jr. could make for one-half of a big bout that could also serve as a developmental challenge. If the decision is made to play it safe, Garcia might be matched against someone along the lines of Mercito Gesta or Jezreel Corrales.