Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia can’t hold back bravado at kickoff news conference
Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia tried to play nicely with one another Wednesday at the kickoff news conference for their 136-pound pay-per-view fight on April 22 in Las Vegas.
They spoke respectfully and played up the magnitude the highly anticipated fight between gifted young boxers who also have massive social media followings, which has generated an unusual buzz. It’s seen as one of the biggest possible matchups in the sport.
However, these are two extremely confident, sometimes brash young men. And they couldn’t hold back for long.
Take one exchange during the formal portion of the news conference, which took place at Palladium Times Square in New York City. Garcia was asked whether he stands by an earlier prediction that he would knock out Davis in two rounds.
“I was asked for a prediction and I gave one,” Garcia said. Then he seemed to back off somewhat, saying, “I’ll be ready for 12. You have to respect a fighter going in ….”
Davis interrupted. “You’re talking out the ass,” he said as he laned forward so he could see Garcia on the other side of the dais.
“Someone has to promote it (the event),” Garcia responded, an obvious shot at Davis, who arrived more than 1½ hours late to the news conference.
“It’s supposed to be like that. It’s cool,” Davis said.
Davis was then asked what Garcia can expect on fight night. “An ass whooping, that’s what he’s going to get,” he said.
Of course, that sort of trash talk is meant to sell the fight. Both fighters explained more rationally in one-on-one interviews why they feel they’ll emerge victorious.
Davis was asked what he and Garcia said to one another when they were nose-to-nose during the obligatory stare down, which went on for a few minutes. He didn’t want to come off as arrogant but his message was clear: He doesn’t think Garcia has what it takes to beat him.
“He just said what he said, and I said he ain’t like that,” Davis said. “I don’t want to sound like a tough guy but I know what it takes. Some of these guys, they don’t got it. They’re frontrunners. They play the tough guy role.
“They ain’t really that much, they ain’t got that dog in them.”
Both fighters are perceived to have unusual speed and punching power. Some believe that Davis, more experienced in big fights, might have an edge in technical ability.
He was asked whether he’s the better boxer. He looked at the interviewer almost incredulously before responding.
“You the know the answer,” he said. “Nah, I don’t think skill wise he’s on my level. Things can change. I don’t want to be the guy who is so above people. I still respect him as a fighter. … As a fighter I just don’t think he’s on my level as far as skills go.”
Garcia was interviewed while he was waiting for Davis to show up.
And he wasn’t kind to the former two-division titleholder, questioning his professionalism and character for arriving so late. It’s a pay-per-view bout, after all. The fighters are expected to help generate buys.
Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) also made it clear that he is something Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) has never encountered in the ring.
“He gives away rounds in the beginning, letting you blow off steam like most guys do,” he said. “… Then later he starts applying pressure and hopefully lands a big shot. Now he’s facing a guy who isn’t going to blow off steam. Now it’s a fight. If I hit you, it’s not going to feel good. You’re not going to keep coming forward and taking chances.
“If I find a good shot, nine out of 10 times it should hurt him. If not, I’ll just outbox him. … You don’t see it that much because I knock everyone out but I’ll [box] if I have to.”
And so it will be in the lead up to the fight, a lot of spicy words to build interest in the event. The second of two news conferences is set for 1 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
Actual punches won’t be exchanged for another six weeks. We’ll learn a lot more about both men at that time.
“On April 22 words won’t matter anymore,” Garcia said. “The truth will come out.”
Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia is "official" for April 22 in Las Vegas