Good, bad, worse: Could we actually see Ryan Garcia vs. Gervonta Davis?

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A critical look at the past week in boxing

GOOD

Ryan Garcia knocked out Javier Fortuna, not one of the titleholders or top contenders at or near his weight. A one-sided victory was predictable on Saturday in L.A. Thus, we can’t read too much into the sixth-round stoppage.

I’m comfortable in saying this, though: He looked like a star on national television, which is important for a fighter who sees himself as one of the most significant figures in the sport.

The gifted Garcia quickly overwhelmed his veteran opponent with his unusual speed, power and all-around ability, he put the Dominican down three times and he finally delivered a brutal stoppage in the sixth round.

The 23-year-old from the Southern California desert looked in that fight as if he could compete with anyone, including arch rival Gervonta Davis.

That’s exactly the kind of statement he hoped to make after a less-than-scintillating unanimous-decision victory over Emmanuel Tagoe in his previous fight, in April, his first since a 15-month layoff to deal with his mental health and injuries.

Garcia said to his rivals with his performance, “I’m a dominating fighter, not just a social media personality.”

The pay off is that he’s where he was after his sensational seventh-round knockout of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in January of last year, near the pinnacle of the sport and poised to take over at only 23 years old.

I can’t wait to see how “King Ry’s” career plays out. And I know I have a lot of company.

 

BAD

Making a showdown between Garcia and Gervonta Davis will be an uphill battle.

Garcia is handled by Golden Boy Promotions, which is aligned with DAZN and fiercely loyal to the streaming service. Davis is managed by Premier Boxing Champions, which is affiliated with Showtime.

Davis is more accomplished than Garcia and a almost certainly a bigger draw, meaning he and his partners would have more leverage in negotiations. If there’s an “A” said in this matchup, it’s Davis.

And President of Showtime Sports Stephen Espinoza has indicated that he has no interest in doing business with DAZN, which will demand a piece of the pie if Garcia and Davis end up sharing a ring.

“Look, I don’t think that we need two platforms in this. I don’t,” Espinoza said.

Garcia could be the key to reaching an agreement. Golden Boy is contractually bound to DAZN, Garcia evidently isn’t. That means Garcia can order Golden Boy to stand down and allow Showtime to showcase the fight.

Then there’s weight. Garcia is now a 140-pounder, he says; Davis’ last two fights were at lightweight and he seems comfortable there.

However, this shouldn’t be a significant obstacle. One, Davis fought once at 140, stopping Mario Barrios in 11 rounds in June of last year. And, two, they could also agree to fight at 138, give or take a pound.

Of course, there would be other points of contention, money being the most obvious one. The purses are key in any negotiations, though. Garcia and Davis should be able to get past that unless they make unreasonable demands, although many fighters have inflated views of their own value.

We can only hope the fighters and their handlers put ego and greed aside and focus on what the matchup would mean to the fighters and the sport. Then they might find common ground.

 

WORSE

Teofimo Lopez has a look of confidence as he has his hands wrapped in his dressing room.

Garcia vs. Davis is the fight fans want to see.

It simply doesn’t get better than matching two gifted, immensely powerful fighters who happen to be in or approaching their primes. The fact they have massive followings only adds to the excitement of the potential showdown.

If it doesn’t happen – and, again, the odds might be against it – loyal fans would be frustrated once again.

It wouldn’t be the end of the world, however. Garcia said that if he and Davis don’t reach an agreement, he’d like to face former undisputed 135-pound champion Teofimo Lopez in what would be a compelling matchup if Lopez beats Pedro Campa on Aug. 13.

Lopez also fights for a rival promoter, Top Rank, which has a deal with ESPN. However, Golden Boy and Top Rank might be able to work together more amicably than Golden Boy and PBC.

And there are several other good options for Garcia at 140, which is talent heavy at the top. Unified titleholder Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, Regis Prograis and Jose Zepeda are all attractive opponents for Garcia.

And, of course, Garcia is an attractive opponent for them. He doesn’t hold a title but he has that large fan base and a big personality, which would help generate big profits for everyone involved.

The bottom line for Garcia: He has a lot of good options.

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