Gervonta Davis took his time getting there, but he and Ryan Garcia did have their first press conference today in New York, with each expressing a lot of respect for the abilities of their April 22 opponent, but a certain intensity when they went face-to-face.
Davis (28-0, 26 KO) and Garcia (23-0, 19 KO) clearly have a lot of appreciation for one another in the ring, and for the magnitude of this event, but they did finally get chippy toward the end of a press conference that was supposed to begin around 12:30 pm ET and actually got going around 2:15, with Davis not showing up on the stage until about 2:25.
“When I say things like second round, you asked me for a prediction and I gave you one. I’m gonna be ready for 12,” Garcia said about his previous statement that he’d stop Davis in two. “You have to respect the fighter going in, you can’t just jump in and expect a knockout. It might be more of a thinking fight than people expect. There’s a lot of intricacies in fights that cause you to make adjustments. I don’t know how I’m gonna come out.”
Gervonta jumped in, saying simply, “You was talkin’ out your ass.”
“Somebody has to promote it,” Garcia fired back, noting Davis’ lateness to today’s event.
“He’s getting an ass-whooping. That’s what he’s getting,” Davis replied.
“I’ll guarantee you a classic. It’s gonna be a classic fight. I guarantee that. You’ll remember it for a long time,” Garcia said in his final statement.
“An explosive fight. Two young guys that are hungry. It’s just who wants it more,” Davis said. “Who’s built like that? That’s who’s gonna win. That’s who’s already won. Nobody can fight for him, nobody can fight for me. It’s about who’s really got that dog in him. That’s who’s gonna win.”
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“We’re back at it. We’ve got another dance partner. Coming up, I watched Floyd and Oscar, also Bernard Hopkins, Joe Goossen. It’s gonna be tough. This fight’s gonna be tough. This is what we came to do.”
“I’m just happy to be part of this moment, sharing the ring with a young fighter like Ryan Garcia who’s willing to dare himself to be great. He talked his way into this fight, and now he’s gonna have to be able to show it.”
“I’m just happy to be a part of this fight, this event.”
“I have a great team. They’ve kept me up. I’ve been keeping my head down, stay grinding, in and out of the gym. We have a lot of people that talked down on us, but we stayed focus and kept our head down, and continued to grind. That’s what really matters.”
“Both of us are young. I’m a little older than Ryan, but I think that both of us are at our peak. A lot of young fighters don’t fight each other. This is a stepping stone for the other younger fighters to get in the ring with each other. We both made our name coming up, and the time is now.
“He’s a great fighter. I’m a great fighter. We’re putting it all on the line.”
“(Critics) will always find something else to say. All I gotta do is keep my head down and continue to grind, beat whoever they put in front of me. That starts with Ryan Garcia.”
“If he comes in fast, or he comes in slow, I always want to take my time. It all depends on Ryan Garcia and what he brings.”
“We’ve come together and conquered the poisoned that’s stopping boxing from having the biggest fights. It wasn’t easy, but we found a way.”
“For me, to be a champion, you have to beat the best. It’s not about the titles, it’s about who you beat. For me, it’s a testimony to the respect I’ve got for him as a fighter. I believe he’s one of the best, and I’ve had that mentality since I was a young kid. I never thought about the weight class, I thought about who was in it. I wanted to be the best.”
“I put boxing first and the fans first. I had to accept a lot of stipulations. Going down in weight, a rehydration clause. But I said, ‘If I put myself first, I should say no,’ but my heart don’t let me. I’ve got the character of a champion.”
“I don’t look like I hit hard, but I do hit hard. The punches, they just come quick, and when they hit you, you’re down.”
“This is the time where the words don’t matter no more. The truth will come out. He’s a great fighter, I’m a great fighter, we’ll settle it in the ring.”
“It’s been hard to get top fighters together. Usually it’s too late or somebody’s way past their prime. Boxing has been waiting for this for a while. You really can’t make a bigger fight than this. I feel like this is the moment for both of us. This is a defining moment in our careers, this is legacy. We finally got it, two prime fighters together, going at it. This is the moment for both of us.”
“Obviously Tank has the image of a devastating puncher, dangerous, and to me he’s a great fighter. Within myself, I know for sure what type of fighter I am. I’ve been doing this since I was seven, over 200 amateur fights. This is what I’ve always wanted. This is it. I think (this is) destroying (people) judging the book by its cover. I’m an easy person to target. ‘He’s not serious, he’s doing TikToks,’ whatever, but I wouldn’t be here if that was true. If that was my main focus, I wouldn’t be on this stage. This is the fight right here.”
“The struggles of making this fight and the things that had to be done, how long it was dragging out, I just didn’t want to put it at risk (by taking a January fight). Not for a loss, but you can hurt your hand, headbutts, lot of different issues that could occur. I chose not to, to secure this fight and make sure it was guaranteed. I didn’t wait that long just to mess it up at the finish line.”
Joe Goossen, Garcia’s trainer
“Everyone else has talked about these two men, and they’re gonna go down in history, they’re gonna make history. This is an incredible pairing of two guys at this level. You don’t see it too often. You don’t want to miss out on this one. This is one I would plunk down the money for and pay for it. I can’t wait to be a part of it. I can’t wait for that night.”
Calvin Ford, Davis’ trainer
“Ryan, I want to thank you, man. Y’all don’t know how important this fight is, y’all. This Generation X, they’re bringing boxing back.” (This is not Generation X.)
“This fight isn’t about us, it’s about the next generation of boxing. Two great, young fighters, undefeated, ready to do their thing. After this fight, who’s gonna sit on that throne? Who’s gonna get the passing of the torch?”
“We’ve been waiting for something like this for years. This is the fight that’s gonna make the other fighters fight, to show y’all how it’s done. Man, y’all got me trembling. I can’t wait for that night.”
“Going against a great coach. You were smart, getting an old school coach.”
“Y’all gotta embrace this energy right here. (Garcia) is the ‘King,’ but (Tank’s) the savage of this thing. Y’all are gonna get a great fight, man.”
Tom Brown, TGB Promotions
“Unlike Luke Campbell, if Tank Davis puts you on your ass, you’re not getting up.”
Bernard Hopkins, Golden Boy Promotions
“This fight has the ingredients and also because of the two fighters, who will be future Hall of Famers, want to prove that come April. Enjoy it. Like I said, this is the top of the year of the biggest fight of this year. And the biggest fight even before it got to this point. We all should treat it that way again. Enjoy the fight. And tell everybody to tune in to this one.”
Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions
“One word that really comes to mind is ‘mega-fight.’ The word gets thrown around a lot when somebody hears a pay-per-view is happening. There’s some boxing insiders who will call it a mega-fight, just because it’s on pay-per-view. But how often will you get two guys who are undefeated, two fighters who have huge fan bases, two fighters who are early in the peak of their career, and two guys that are represented by different companies, different broadcasters. To me, that’s what a mega-fight is all about. Bringing everyone together.
“The best two fighters in their weight division in that same ring, and getting everyone together to work together for a big, mega-fight. That’s what it’s all about.”
“This is one that the world is not gonna miss. Trust me, when we were promoting fights back in the day with Mayweather and myself and everybody, those big mega-fights is what made boxing. When two personalities come into the ring together and create the perfect storm. That’s exactly what they’re gonna do, create the perfect storm.
“And yeah obviously, I’m with my guy. This is the reason why we’re gonna bring back those glory days, those big, pay-per-view glory days, because of Ryan Garcia.
“These two guys are gonna battle it out, they’re gonna fight. They wanted this fight. Nobody else. Ryan Garcia wanted this fight years ago. And now it’s here. May the best man win. I have a lot of respect for Tank. He’s an amazing fighter, a great fighter, he’s a special fighter. And I have a lot of respect for Ryan Garcia, he’s a great fighter and a special fighter, as well.”
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports
“This fight is one of the cornerstones of our very ambitious 2023 schedule. It’s a battle of two of the most popular young fighters in the sport, two fighters in their primes, two of the most exciting fighters in any weight division. Put that together, and you have the biggest fight on the boxing schedule.”
“While Tank might be one of the biggest punchers pound-for-pound in the sport of boxing, Ryan certainly may be one of the fastest.”
“John F. Kennedy famously said, ‘Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.’ When a fight this big gets made, no shortage of people rush to take credit. But as someone involved, I can tell you who deserves most of the credit: Tank Davis and Ryan Garcia.”
“It’s about these two star fighters who have taken it upon themselves to accept the biggest challenge of their careers.”
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather Promotions
“I remember Ryan once came up to me and said, ‘I wanna F your boy up.’ I said, ‘Look here, slim, you don’t want none of that work.’ And he told me this was the fight he really, really wanted. That was a few years ago.”
“Tank has been very adamant about getting this guy in the ring. When you’ve got two young, undefeated guys coming together, it’s gonna be nothing but fireworks.”
“When it comes down to it, the fighters gotta want it. If it was up to (Ryan’s) promoters, this fight would not be happening, so we gotta give the fighters all the credit. Ryan forced his promoters to make this happen.”