The Fight That Saved Boxing

Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Ryan “Kingry” Garcia finally crossed paths in their boxing careers, in a spectacular fight that had been teased for years.

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In an era of promotion and promising “what-if” fights, the boxing world had become accustomed to being disappointed by lackluster fight cards. After the suspense of multiple blockbuster fights––from top heavyweights in Fury vs. Taylor to the skilled showdown of Spence vs. Crawford––built up to nothing at all, fans could not wait for the fight that could potentially save boxing. In a fight that would finally entertain years of social media hype and back-and-forth between top lightweights Ryan “Kingry” Garcia and Gervonta “Tank” Davis, the two put on a show for Showtime, something fans believed would never take place. “This is the fight to save boxing,” boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya said.

Back in 2021, after picking up a career-best win against Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell, Garcia, fueled by emotion after a brutal left hook gave Garcia a commanding KO, challenged “Tank” in his post-fight interview. For months after the fight, the two had gone back and forth on social media whenever the opportunity arose, but any confirmation was tactically avoided by either of the fighters’ teams. Soon enough, Garcia took some time off after his fight in early 2021 to work on his mental health; Davis, on the other hand, returned to 135 pounds to fight Mario Barrios, a fight that would ultimately make him a three-division champion and continued in his success with a 12-round win against Isaac Cruz. Later that year, Garcia intended to make his poised return, but an injury during his training camp sidelined Garcia’s hopes. 

Finally, Kingry made his long-awaited return to boxing in April 2022 after a 15-month layoff, scraping the dust off his gloves, while Davis continued to stay active in the sport. After a huge win, Garcia once again called out Tank, who remained unfazed by the constant challenges and did not allow them to deter his continuous dominance. Garcia, however, was determined for Tank to recognize his challenges, calling him out again in July 2022, and essentially forcing a deal to be made. However, a lengthy stalemate ensued until, to everyone’s surprise, the two fighters finally announced in November that they would face off in early 2023. 

Of course, with both boxers fighting for different promotions, the potential fight of the year saw many risks in the negotiation process. The boxing world had only seen a handful of cross-promotion collaborations in years before Garcia/Davis, making contract talks that much more difficult to be completed. However, the younger fighter, Garcia, yearned for the fight to take place, willing to sacrifice money in the process. “He pushed for this. He wanted this fight. We had to literally give in on the percentage slip. I was adamant about making this a 50-50 fight. Ryan didn't care,” Garcia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya said. Nonetheless, the fight did not fall through after years of negotiations, and it was finally time for the world’s top two lightweights to face off in the ring. 

Come the night of the fight, as the two walked out to a packed crowd in the famous T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the atmosphere was set; one fight to decide who the best lightweight in the world was, regardless of the social media hype and records. At this moment, the belts did not matter, the experience was negligible, and the only thing that could define the match was the “amount of fight in the dog.” After the first six rounds, the judges’ scorecards read 58-56, 59-56, and 59-55, with a unanimous consensus that Tank was winning the fight. Though Garcia was looking promising with his high-volume shots and his lethal left hook, he couldn’t quite catch Davis, who was very selective of his shots throughout the fight, scoring a knockdown in the second round. As the crowd rose for the latter half of the fight to begin with the seventh round, Garcia and Davis exchanged crushing blows, with Davis reigning triumphant in their exchanges. With a deadly left hook of his own to Garcia’s body, Davis had shut down the young superstar, winning the fight by TKO. While many had expected this to happen, the world was still shocked as the formerly undefeated star, Garcia, had finally been beaten by none other than the best lightweight in the world, Davis. As their tale came to an end and respect had been established between the two fighters, there was a new question on everyone’s mind: What did this match mean for the future of boxing? As more and more fighters intend to have matches across promotions, Garcia vs. Davis was not only a great fight, but it was the fight to save boxing, promoting cross-promotion fights in an era of greedy promotions.