Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia: 5 questions (and answers) going into the fight

No titles are at stake. Neither fighter has a particularly deep resume, at least compared to some elite rivals. Neither is among the best handful of fighters pound-for-pound yet.

And no one is bothered by any of that.

The 136-pound fight between Gervonta Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) and Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) is simply a fascinating pairing of two hot, young knockout artists with immense social media followings and the potential to become the face of the sport one day.

It doesn’t get much more intriguing than this pay-per-view fight Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Here are five questions (and answers) going into the event.

Is Davis vs. Garcia really one of the best possible matchups in boxing?

That depends on how you look at it. Davis vs. Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson or Vasiliy Lomachenko would be more compelling from a boxing standpoint because those four are considered the best 135-pounders in the world and on most pound-for-pound lists. Garcia, only 24, is still working his way toward that status. However, when you add Davis and Garcia’s obvious popularity and their one-punch knockout power – which Haney, Stevenson and Lomachenko lack – you get an unusually captivating matchup. And fight organizers are well aware of the fact. That’s why the pay-per-view fee in the United States is a hefty $84.99. Fans might be surprised when they first see that figure but they’ll pay it. This is a can’t-miss event.

Is Garcia really a one-trick pony or a genuine threat to Davis?

He’s a threat. Davis has said that Garcia has a good left hook but little else. Of course, that statement is in part an attempt by Davis to get under his opponent’s skin but “Tank” probably believes it to some extent. Yes, Garcia’s best weapon is his lethal left hook. That doesn’t preclude him from being a gifted, well-schooled all-around boxer with punching power that rivals that of his opponent. He just hasn’t had to use all of his weapons to defeat inferior opponents. Garcia is taking a significant step up in opposition. He might get overwhelmed by Davis. However, based on what we’ve seen of him against solid foes, it would be a mistake to overlook him. The odds support that notion. Davis is about a 2½-1 favorite, which means the oddsmakers deem this a competitive matchup.

Could Davis vs. Garcia generate 1 million pay-per-view buys?

Not likely. As popular as the principals are – both have millions of followers on social media – neither has the universal appeal of fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, with whom even non-boxing fans are familiar. Plus, the exorbitant fee could scare away those on the fence. That isn’t to say that organizers made a pricing mistake. They know that hardcore fans will pay almost anything for this fight. And they’re confident that even casual fans will find the matchup so intriguing that they’ll be willing to fork out the exorbitant fee. Fans who don’t care at all about boxing? That’s a hard sell. Mayweather was the best at marketing himself; either you loved him or hated him, which is exactly where you want to be. Pacquiao became a regular on Jimmy Kimmel Live! That’s big. And both of them are all-time greats. Davis and Garcia are still building toward that kind of stardom.

Who has more to lose?

Davis. Tank has built a sterling reputation in boxing knockout by knockout, making him a prime candidate to become the face of the sport if he can continue to win as his opposition gets tougher. And he might be only a few victories – over the Haney-Lomachenko winner and Stevenson — from realizing that goal. And he certainly has the ability to do that, although those would be difficult matchups even for a fighter of his ability. If he loses Garcia, all that is gone. He would bounce back, even from a knockout loss. However, his momentum would be obliterated and he would never be seen the same again. If Garcia loses, he could say, “Hey, I’m only 24. I took a big swing and it didn’t work out.” Perhaps you could compare it to Canelo Alvarez’s loss to Mayweather when the former was 23. The Mexican did pretty well for himself after the setback, right?

Who’s going to win?

Davis. Garcia probably will give Davis problems early in the fight, jabbing, landing power shots here and there and avoiding his opponent’s biggest shots. However, it’s difficult to imagine that he’ll be able to avoid them for 12 rounds. Davis most likely will close the distance on Garcia by the middle rounds, land more and more hard punches and either wear him down and hurt him so badly that he can’t continue. I expect Davis to either stop Garcia sometime in the second half of the fight or win a wide decision going away. Does Garcia have a chance to win? Yes. He has an unusual combination of God-given gifts (incredible speed), ability and punching power. The problem for him is that Davis also has those qualities but is a better technician and has more experience in big fights. That’s why Davis is favored. And it’s why he’ll probably win.


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Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie