Gervonta Davis vs Héctor Luis García
Who will win the first world title fight of the year?
Photos from Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME®Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Héctor Luis García have done all their training and all their talking and now all's that's left is for the unbeaten WBA beltholders to step into the ring to contend for Tank’s World Boxing Association lightweight title this Saturday, January 7, headlining a SHOWTIME PPV from Capital One Arena in Washington.
The Baltimore-native Davis will return to fight in D.C. for the first time since 2016, as he headlines a stacked PBC pay-per-view lineup against the dangerous former Olympian Héctor Luis García, needing a win to pave the way for the recently announced blockbuster clash against unbeaten star Ryan Garcia in the Spring of 2023.
Here's what the boxing experts think of the fight:
Tim Rickson, BBN Editor
"I don’t believe “Tank” is distracted by the Ryan Garcia fight, instead I give the man credit for lining up two unbeaten boxers in a row, both very tough challenges to get through.
"Not only is Davis an impressive, skilful fighter; he is also a tough dude, brought up in a harsh environment in crime-ridden towns in Baltimore. This is what has shaped him into the hardened, violent puncher he is today.
"Garcia is also tough, and very experienced; you don’t get to go to the Olympics for no reason. He has earned his status as an Olympian and a world champion because of his incredible skillset and attributes. Against lesser opponents, he pumps out his southpaw jab, probing, teasing, setting traps to come around the side with his swift hooks, but will that work against someone as defensively sound and skillful as Tank? I doubt it. He's also coming up to lightweight for the first time and couldn't find a tougher opponent for his 135lbs debut. It wasn't that long ago that he was campaigning at featherweight – two divisions down from here.
"Davis is also an experienced amateur, amassing a record of 205-15 after beginning boxing at the young age of five, winning several Silver and Golden Gloves trophies. He is currently ranked No.2 lightweight by The Ring Magazine, sandwiched inbetween Vasiliy Lomachenko and future foe Ryan Garcia.
"Both are experienced amateurs, southpaws, and unbeaten world champions, but I predict Davis to win by knockout between rounds 7-12."
Matt Astbury, DAZN
"There is a lot riding on the shoulders Gervonta 'Tank' Davis in this fight and should not take his opponent on Saturday night lightly.
"Currently the WBA world super featherweight champion, Hector Luis Garcia is moving up in weight as he looks to register the biggest win of his career so far.
"When it comes to how the fight will play out, a quick knockout for Davis is unlikely, instead I expect Garcia to provide some problems for 'Tank'. The Puerto Rican also possesses impressive punching power with 10 of his 16 wins coming by way of knockout.
"This contest is likely to reach the latter stages but I can see Davis producing a late stoppage against a tired Garcia, who will have had to absorb numerous power shots from Tank who will look to send a message to Ryan Garcia ahead of a potential mega-fight later this year.
"Gervonta 'Tank' Davis to win in round 11."
Daniel Yanofsky, Sporting News
"For many, this is considered a tune-up fight for Davis. However, don't let the idea of a Ryan Garcia fight block the consideration that Garcia could be a challenge for Davis. Like Cruz, Garcia has a chance to take Davis to the limit. There is also a chance for a quick knockout for Davis. Given the defensive prowess of Garcia, Davis may have his work cut out for him. Davis can showcase his power while also playing it close to the vest.
"After almost eight months away from the ring, the fight against Hector Luis Garcia is the first step for Gervonta Davis to prove he is ready for a legendary 2023. Can he step up to the plate and deliver?
"Davis via unanimous decision."
Punch Perfect Boxing
"I think Hector Luis Garcia is a really, really solid victory for Gervonta Davis. This could be the best win on Tank Davis' resume.
"For me Hector is not only an unbeaten world champion, he's a fighter now with world class victories on his record. He's got Olympic pedigree and was actually robbed in the Olympics, deserved to go further.
"I think 'Tank' will break him down to the body and then the perfect shot will come, and he'll just beat the life and the soul out of Hector Luis Garcia and eventually he'll get that stoppage, so for me, I kind of seeing around round six to round eight."
"I think this fight would be very interesting if Hector Garcia were already activated to the lightweight division. Facing Tank Davis as your first opponent in a new weight class moving up is a steep hill to climb.
"His skills alone would give anybody problems but you're probably facing the most powerful puncher in the division. On top of that are the issues of lacking head movement which got Hector dropped against a lesser opponent.
"If it lasts, Garcia may have a little more success in mid to late rounds as he's shown to adjust with the good step back game. However, I'd take Tank by knockout and I wouldn't be surprised if it was an early knockout."
What have they said?
GERVONTA DAVIS: “We trained hard. He’s been saying some things that have turned me up. You definitely don’t want to miss this one. We’re going to make sure this is a tough fight for him. Don’t get no popcorn during this fight. Keep your butt glued to the seat. I promise you it’s gonna be fireworks.
“This is my job. I’ve been doing it since I was seven. I know that a lot comes with it, but if I stop now, then I wouldn’t have done what I came to do.
“D.C. has always been exciting when it comes to boxing. There’s a lot of talent here that people sleep on. It’s a boxing town and I’m excited to come back and be fighting here. We used to have to get through D.C. to get to the national level in the amateurs, so I always treated this place like a second home.
“Garcia earned his spot in this fight for what he’s done this past year. He’s been in good fights and beaten good fighters. He’s not someone to sleep on. He’s a tough opponent and this is going to prepare me for a Ryan Garcia fight next.
“I just want to put on a great performance in front of a nice crowd and show everyone that I’m one of the top guys.
“There’s been a lot of talk from other fighters in the division. I’m putting them on notice with this fight and the Ryan fight. I can’t get to Ryan unless I get past Héctor. I’m showing everyone that I’m one of the elite guys.
“The last thing I want to say to Héctor is just, be ready. I’ve had a great camp and I know that Héctor’s coming. Just don’t make a lot of mistakes, because if you make too many, it might be an early night.
“This is a stacked card. Saturday night, boxing wins. From the first fight to my fight, you don’t wanna miss it.”
HÉCTOR LUIS GARCIA: “My camp could not have been better. My team is tireless, and we work so hard. Everyone is going to see the results on Saturday night.
“I feel equally comfortable at 130 and 135 pounds. I took this challenge because I always want to surpass my own limits and go after the very best. At the end of the day, it’s up to me to be at my best on Saturday night.
“The bottom line for me is that I can fight at whatever distance the fight requires me to. I can use my reach or my power. I’m going to be ready.
“I think the back and forth we’ve had is normal and in good fun. It brings more heat to the fight and it probably motivates us both more.
“Gervonta better watch out on Saturday night. Because he lit the competitive fire under me when he put his hands on me during the face off.
“The real Garcia is right here. I don’t care who he’s focused on, because I know that I’m the true challenge. Fans are going to see a thrilling fight. It’s going to be a show that everyone is gonna enjoy.”