Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Ryan Garcia are set to meet Saturday night on Showtime pay-per-view from Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena in one of the biggest fights we’ll see all year in the sport.
We could ramble a bit more, but why? You know what the fight is. You know you’re going to tune in. Let’s get to the picks.
Scott Christ (32-17)
On this week’s podcast, I said I was leaning Garcia, but that by the time we made our picks, my mind could certainly change. It did. And then it changed again. So I’ve been “dialoguing” with myself for days.
Let me break a bit of that down in bullet points:
- I’m not real hung up on the contract stuff. The 136 catch, the rehydration clause, the “late afternoon weigh-in” which isn’t even a particularly unusual time for a big fight in Vegas. I just don’t think it plays a factor in the fight.
- I think Garcia can win, absolutely. With his speed and power, his height advantage, he’s a major threat to Davis, far more of one than anyone Gervonta has fought thus far. When I say “far” I mean far.
- I don’t know if Davis will always be the better fighter between himself and Garcia, because time will be a factor. Davis is 28, Garcia is 24, Davis will be missing some amount of his career in the immediate future. But I think at the moment he is probably the better fighter, certainly the more complete fighter, the more “finished product” guy.
I also think this fight, even with its electric atmosphere and great buzz, might stink a little bit in the first half or so. On paper you’ve got two power punchers with quick hands and stuff, but Davis isn’t a guy who comes out throwing a lot of punches. Garcia and trainer Joe Goossen may see that as something they can pounce on early, but I think Goossen is smart enough and has been around long enough to know this is a major gamble, too. Garcia could bank rounds using his length and his jab without taking big risks against Davis and his “downloading” approach early on.
Then there’s the fact that Davis’ best work is as a counter-puncher. That’s good for him, because Garcia does have defensive flaws and all, but the speed of the Garcia punches is gonna be a lot more than what we’ve seen Tank deal with as a pro. Not saying he can’t handle it, but this isn’t cement-footed, telegraphed shots Rolly Romero, either.
I’m going on too long. You just want the bold part. So I’ll just crystal ball it: I think we’re going the distance. And I think we’re heading for controversy. If someone hits the deck, it’ll be Garcia. But it may come down to what judges see in tentative rounds more than anything else.
Or it could be over within three or four rounds. Davis SD-12
Wil Esco (35-14)
This fight has been a long time coming but luckily we’re still going to get it while we have the two fighters in their primes. I probably would give Gervonta Davis the experience edge here despite not having what I’d consider to be all that great a resume, particularly considering his profile over the years. And while I could go on and on about my own personal grievances towards both fighters, this particular match isn’t one I have any issues with.
Simply looking at both fighters inside the ring, it’s clear to me that Tank is the more polished boxer of the two, but he’s also been increasingly dependent on his power turning the tide in recent fights. I suspect Tank is going to start the fight a little bit tentatively as he tries to feel out Garcia’s tactics while looking for openings. That in and of itself will likely cause him to drop some of the early rounds on the scorecards, but I think the middle rounds of this fight is where things really start to heat up.
By the midpoint of the fight I see Garcia with a slight lead on the scores before Tank makes a conscious effort to rally back and put a hurting on Garcia. This, I expect, will be where the fight is ultimately decided. Garcia is used to having the spotlight on him but the lights will be brighter in this outing, and once Garcia has any lapses in his focus because he’s so content with the work he’s been doing, I see Davis tagging him with a punch that quickly changes the tenor of the fight. Garcia has heart so I don’t expect him to quickly fold, but I do think he gets gunned down in a firefight once it starts trending in that direction. Davis TKO-8
John Hansen (36-13)
If you’re a podcast listener, you’ve already gotten the basic outline of my take on this fight. And, if you’re not one, I encourage you once again to make better life choices for yourself.
Ryan Garcia accepted a whole lot of nonsense to get this fight signed. I wouldn’t fault him one bit for telling the PBC side of the table to go pound sand over trying to Harrison Bergeron him through the contract points. He didn’t. He made the fight happen.
Any outcome seems possible here, but I put a lot of stock in the confidence of a younger guy willing to take a bad deal and a skinny paycheck just to get his hands in range of someone else. Especially given that his advice is coming from a smart, top-shelf trainer like Joe Goossen, and not some hot headed sperm donor living vicariously through his talent while suffering none of the physical punishment.
Even if Garcia has too much self confidence, Goossen is no fool. Overly fond of denim? Yes. So, not all of his decisions are bulletproof. But, he’s not the sort to bite his tongue, shrug his shoulders, and knowingly shepherd a young star into a disaster.
That feels like as good a reason to pick this fight as any other story you can spin right now. Give me the guy who had plenty of other options, but wanted the fight on any terms, over the guy who wanted as many contract clauses as he could possibly get to tilt the scale his way. Garcia KO-9
Patrick Stumberg (37-12)
I really, really want Garcia to win this. After years of watching fights fall apart despite both sides bloviating that they’d do it for free, it warms the heart to see someone make every concession imaginable to force a must-see matchup over the finish line. He absolutely, unequivocally wanted the smoke and I’d love to see that ambition rewarded.
Goddammit, I just don’t think it will be.
I’ve harped on Davis’ “f**k you” power in my last few predictions, but it’s his adaptability that’ll win the day here. He’s had his share of rough rounds and tough matchups, but he’s got an underrated ability to switch things up and steadily retake control of a fight. His power isn’t a crutch, and though Garcia is far more than just a left hook himself, beating Isaac Cruz with one hand is a greater feat of on-the-fly adjustment than anything Garcia’s done to date. That’s not even taking durability into account; getting floored by a perfect shot from Luke Campbell does not a glass chin make, but it’s a data point that compares unfavorably to Garcia taking Cruz’s and Rolly Romero’s best shots.
I’m not saying Garcia can’t knock Davis out, just that Davis has historically proven harder to hurt and more able to tweak his way through adversity when the knockout isn’t there. Expect Garcia to bank a few rounds before Davis gets dialed in and floors him in the latter half. Davis TKO-7
Shavkat Rakhimov vs Joe Cordina (DAZN, Apr. 22, 2 pm ET)
- Scott: Rakhimov SD-12
- Wil: Cordina UD-12
- John: Rakhimov TKO-10
- Patrick: Cordina UD-12
David Morrell Jr vs Yamaguchi Falcao
- Scott: Morrell TKO-10
- Wil: Morrell TKO-9
- John: Morrell KO-5
- Patrick: Morrell TKO-3
Gabriel Rosado vs Bektemir Melikuziev 2
- Scott: Melikuziev TKO-9
- Wil: Melikuziev UD-10
- John: Melikuziev TKO-7
- Patrick: Melikuziev UD-10
Elijah Garcia vs Kevin Salgado
- Scott: Garcia UD-10
- Wil: Garcia UD-10
- John: Garcia TKO-6
- Patrick: Garcia TKO-9