Ryan Garcia dared to be great on Saturday night against Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis but fell short, and there is nothing wrong with that.
For the last three or so years, Ryan Garcia would take every moment he had in front of a camera or journalist to let them know that he wanted to fight Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis. These days that generally doesn’t lead to a fight as the fighters are typically on “different sides of the street.” But whatever people may say about Garcia being reckless in signing the catchweight and rehydration clause, it showed you through action that making this fight meant that much to him. Davis knew that the fight was a mega event that would generate millions, but timing is everything, and this one couldn’t marinate any longer and had to happen.
After getting the deal done and the buzz of being an event that would make the world stop circulating through the internet, Garcia took a strange approach to prepare for the fight. On fight night, whispers started to make their way around that Garcia wasn’t with trainer Joe Goossen throughout the training camp and would only link up with the Denim Jacket God Goossen during sparring days, and that was it. With a fight this big, you would think that he would be attached to Goossen’s hip, but that was not the case, according to rumors on social media and sources close to the situation. The question started to become whether Garcia took it as seriously as he should have or did the magnitude of the event catch up to him early in camp.
Whether true or not, once that bell rang, Garcia was all in to try and come out with the victory. He did have some moments in the fight, and Davis showed him plenty of respect throughout, but Garcia made mistakes that occur with fighters that aren’t active and/or putting the time with their trainer. Garcia truly believed he could knock out Davis but couldn’t make the in-ring mental adjustments necessary. Davis was far more prepared not only for the moment but also for the fight.
In the end, a body shot by Davis sealed the victory, which some predicted, given the nature of the rehydration clause. MMA legend Conor McGregor mentioned the rehydration clause to Garcia after the fight. McGregor told Garcia, “He’s 1-0 on you,” Conor said, “You’re the two biggest names in the division; I wanna see it again.“ I wanna see it again now, and I wanna see it with no rehydration clause. “All the respect in the world to you. You’re the future.”
This in no way, shape, or form is taking anything away from ‘Tank.’ He is a tremendous talent, and his Ring IQ is off the charts. Garcia just couldn’t do enough to win the fight. Plenty of people are roasting Garcia on social media, but I would argue that he should get a pat on the back for taking on the challenge that most wouldn’t in fear of losing their “0”. Browsing through Twitter, Nayka Tyson put it as direct as she could, and what she said was a very valid point.
Y’all be wanting these fighter to step up for these big fights then talk shit when the fighter loses .
— Nayk Tyson (@boxing_bird81) April 23, 2023
After the fight, Garcia was left to meet the press, but it would be without trainer Joe Goossen and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya. GBP President Eric Gomez was there, but those other two not being present did not look good, and it made it seem like there was more to the story than what we were being told. These actions by those that are supposed to be supporting Garcia are what drives fear in those fighters that do not want to take the risk of fighting elite competition if it means everyone turning against them.
Boxing was finally at a place where you couldn’t throw a rock five feet without someone discussing the event leading up to fight night. Boxing has been missing this, and it’s where the UFC gets it right. Garcia wanted to test himself and prove he was great. On Saturday night, he fell short of doing so but showed everyone else in the division that the excuses are over. If you don’t get the matchups everyone wants to see because you, as a fighter, believe the politics will get in the way, then maybe look at the mirror and blame that person for it not happening instead of anyone else.