Boxing gets a lot of flack for failing to make the biggest fights possible, but the anticipated and much talked about collision of undefeated knockout artists Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia finally went down last night (Sat., April 22, 2023) from T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas, Nevada (full results here).
The two met at an 136-pound Catchweight with some additional rehydration stipulations, and it was immediately clear inside the ring who was the bigger man. Garcia was noticeably taller and longer than “Tank,” and he didn’t appear too much leaner to compensate. Size, however, did not prove nearly as effective as experience.
From the first bell to the final liver shot that sat Garcia down, Davis was the picture of composure. He predicted a seventh round knockout win, and he delivered it on schedule like a motivated Uber Eats driver. There was no doubt in his performance, which stood in contrast to Garcia’s more up-and-down levels of offense and aggression.
In the first round, Davis was fully content to give away three minutes to read his opponent, barely flicking a jab. Garcia picked up the first patiently, but by the second, his emotions and the moment were getting to him. He started really chasing the feared counter puncher, firing a bit wildly and really hunting for his signature left hook.
You could feel the knockdown coming before it happened. Several times, “Tank” rolled that hook or pivoted away from it and let Garcia off the hook. Once he was fully confident in the timing and Garcia was absolutely trying to end the fight with his left hand swing, Davis blasted him with a perfect counter left that put him on the floor.
It was one of Davis’ only punches of the round.
Rounds three through five saw Garcia lose a bit of confidence after the knockdown. He was done chasing with the left hook — which was a wise adjustment — but he also failed to really commit to his jabs or crosses all that often. His speed was still there, and Garcia was physically recovered from the knockdown, but the power of Davis’ left had certainly made an impression. With his opponent hesitant, “Tank” picked his shots well, scoring with clean left straights, counter jabs, and occasional body rips.
The sixth was likely the best, most competitive round of the fight — the closest thing to a flaw in Davis’ masterpiece. Garcia rebuilt some confidence and surprised him with a few right hand lands, giving himself hope moving into the latter half of the fight.
Instead, he ended up playing right into Davis’ hands. As the right hand became a more important weapon for Garcia, Davis well understood the burgeoning trend. Garcia was swinging big on the break of every clinch with his right, and early in the seventh, Davis snuck a left underneath that punch directly to the liver.
A moment later, Garcia was forced to take a knee from the debilitating pain. He would regain his feet, but the referee deemed him no longer fit to box, and “King” offered no real resistance.
On his grandest stage yet, Davis lived up to the moment, kept his composure, and picked his shots with the precision of a master. Garcia, meanwhile, fought hard. Maybe another year or two will fine tune the 24-year-old boxer further and allow more consistency and composure, but last night, he ended up playing directly into Davis’ hands.
For more on “Davis vs. Garcia” and other boxing-related events, click here.