Tomorrow evening at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia, the two undefeated and young superstars, will get in the ring and fight for supremacy. This is the generational fight and reflections of Hall of Famers Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran.
In the 1980’s, those were household names for boxing fans and a mainstream sports fan gravitated to the sport. An outdoor arena at nearby Caesars Palace was erected to accommodate the sellout and box office records, celebrities in all walks of life sat ringside, an era when boxing was moving away from the glamor of a heavyweight division.
Davis and Garcia have that same appeal as Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, and Duran. They have charisma in a different era. They can fight and with millions of followers on social media, will probably surpass records on the televised Showtime Boxing and DAZN joint pay-per-view event.
This is that generational fight that will again have mainstream appeal, bringing in a novice fan of the sport to spark their interest. A fight of this magnitude shows boxing is strong and healthy. Promoters on opposite sides with streaming and cable deals can work together as they did in May of 2015 when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr, fought for supremacy. Then it took two years of talking before they eventually traded punches.
This time, and with a new and younger generation of fans, Davis and Garcia have agreed to meet at a non-title catchweight of 136. It took a year with all the talking of purse splits, PPV revenue, rematch clause, and wording in the contracts.
The hype for 28-year old Davis, (28-0, 26 K0s) from Baltimore, Md. a multi division champion in three weight classes is that proficient and powerful punch to dispose opponents, a fan favorite mixed in between out of the ring lawsuits involving domestic violence.
Garcia, 24-years old (23-0, 19 KOs) an American with Mexican heritage, is a southern Californian with a body and face of a model and national amateur champion. A top rated lightweight with an orthodox stance, he has been knocked down once.
Speed and perhaps the most powerful punch in boxing are his repertoire, the storyline of overcoming mental health issues and a broken hand. Thursday, the fighters vowed there will be jaws broken. A few days ago, Davis and Garcia proposed a bet to put their lucrative million dollar purses on the table.
Of course, purse bets are a part of the hype. Davis (TGB Promotions) and Garcia (Golden Boy Promotions), their respective fight camps, are leaving that decision to the fighters and chances that won’t happen.
Though the sports gaming industry will benefit and profit, they too are looking at a revenue bonanza that equals the Super Bowl.
Here are the Latest odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook:
Davis -230 Favorite
Garcia is the underdog, regardless, the animosity and respect between Davis and Garcia is evident.
Very much similar to the animosity and respect during that era of Hagler, Leonard, Hearns, and Duran. A generational fight that boxing will reintroduce Saturday evening should live up to expectations.
I have covered a magnitude of championship and non-title fights in a span of 40 years, Davis and Garcia, when looking back should be remembered, though this is boxing and always the unexpected result of a quick knockout and controversial decision via the scorecards of three judges, whom I refer to as “Three Blind Mice.”
Consensus, though, a tough one to call. Boxing personnel, the old and new era of former champions and current fighters are divided. Most believe it will come down to the power of Garcia and his speed, also with that height advantage.
I asked a few this week. Indeed they are divided. Optimistic they say with this anticipated fight of the year. Win or lose, both fighters are again putting boxing on the map
“Davis has been tested more and has that signature punch that is more lethal,” said Justin Shackil, DAZN Boxing commentator for Matchroom Promotions. “How that first signature punch is landed and how he (Garcia) receives it. But I am going with a Davis decision.”
PICK HERE: Fight goes the 12-round distance and some knockdowns on both sides. Close and a draw. I would not doubt these judges will have an eventful scorecard. Remember, in their hands, it’s subjective.
THE GARDEN IN JUNE: Though not in the main arena, Top Rank Boxing and Matchroom Boxing will highlight cards in June at the adjacent Hulu Theatre. Top Rank will main event Junior Welterweight Teofimo Lopez (June 10) and Super Middleweight Edgar Berlanga (June 24) has his first of a multi-fight deal with Matchroom, having recently signed after beginning his career with Top Rank.
Lopez, the former unified lightweight champion (Hondorus) Brooklyn, NY and residing in Las Vegas, has had obstacles to overcome in a quest for another takeover to unify the 140-pound division.
Debut at 140, and Lopez looked strong with a 10-round TKO, disposing and wearing down Pedro Campa (Sonora, Mexico) in the 7th round, a successful return to his promoters at Top Rank Boxing. At Madison Square Garden in December, Lopez appeared to lose steam and won a 10-round split decision, though the unheralded Sandor Martin of Spain, to many, got their points on the scorecards, another controversial ending.
The aftermath of questions about Teofimo Lopez, once the top five fighter and not impressive against Martin, an opponent who came to fight. And once a sellout draw, Lopez as the main event in the Garden, 10,000 and many empty seats. They booed Lopez, he was in uncharted territory, skipped the post fight press conference, perhaps no longer with popularity that can sell out venues as the main event fighter.
So the questions will continue when Lopez (18-1-0,13 KO’s) main events at the Garden again, though this time in the adjacent Hulu Theatre that seats a little more than 5,500 and televised on ESPN platforms. He opposes former undisputed champion Josh Taylor, the WBO title holder in a showdown with those implications and a good one.
Berlanga, the super middleweight who commenced his career with 16 consecutive knockouts, and now with Matchroom Boxing, makes his DAZN debut June 24 also at the Garden Hulu Theatre.
With his pride of Puerto Rico, and with a tremendous fanbase, Berlanga opposes Jason Quigley in a main event, adding to the busy boxing calendar in New York City. Berlanga also has much to prove to become a viable contender and threat to dethrone Canelo Alvarez and his unified 168-pound titles.
Rich Mancuso:[email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso.