The reported fight between Ryan Garcia and Mercito Gesta, meant as Garcia’s January tune-up for Gervonta Davis in April, is now reportedly signed for Jan. 28 in Phoenix, which could also mean Glendale, Ariz.
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reports that both fighters have signed the contracts, and the fight will be at 140 lbs. Garcia plans to fight Davis — who returns Jan. 7 against Hector Luis Garcia — in April at a 136 lb catchweight.
Garcia (23-0, 19 KO) fought twice in 2022 after a 15-month layoff, working with new trainer Joe Goossen in wins over Emmanuel Tagoe and Javier Fortuna. The 24-year-old campaigned hard for a fight with longtime social media rival Davis, and the deal got done, though not easily.
The Tank vs Ryan bout is currently planned for Apr. 15 in Las Vegas, produced by Showtime pay-per-view and also available to buy through DAZN, along with the other normal Showtime PPV outlets.
The 35-year-old Gesta (33-3-3, 17 KO) never quite lived up to early hype as one of many “Next Pacquiaos” out of the Philippines, sort of like how Steve Forbert was once a “Next Bob Dylan.”
And while he’s not a natural junior welterweight, he has been at 135 for a long time, and Gesta will give Garcia an opponent who is about the same size as Tank Davis, and also is a southpaw. He’s not Tank Davis, but it’s the right sort of opponent for a January tune-up.
This fight, if it does happen on Jan. 28, will go head-to-head with Showtime’s Jermell Charlo vs Tim Tszyu fight, which is not ideal for either Showtime or DAZN, or for boxing fans who don’t like having to pick between fights all the time when there wind up being so many empty or basically empty Saturdays throughout the year, but it would be about par for the course from everyone.