It’s often an overplayed phrase. Stick to the task at hand, avoid the danger that comes with underestimating opponents with more lucrative opportunities planned. WBA (Regular) lightweight world champion Gervonta Davis faces a tough task next Saturday, something his upcoming foe – WBA super-featherweight titlist – Hector Luis Garcia stressed to Spanish media.
hector Garcia’s warning a fitting one for davis to start 2023
Editor’s note: This article was written ahead of time and scheduled almost a week in advance. Since then, Gervonta was arrested and bailed on a reported domestic violence charge and it’s unclear whether the matchup will continue ahead as planned. If not, I’ll cover tennis instead.
To read more on this developing story
Earlier today: Woman says boxer Davis did not assault her
ESPN: Gervonta Davis accused of hitting woman, released on bail
NY Post: Davis breaks silence after chilling 911 call emerges from arrest
Chris Mannix: Boxing must take a stand after Davis arrest
Gervonta Davis, who turned 28 in November, enters the new year – a decade after turning pro – keenly aware he’s solely responsible for what’s to come going forward. Thankful for the opportunities afforded to him under Floyd Mayweather’s tutelage, that is now no more.
Just like possible opponent Ryan Garcia had to figure out with a coaching change in 2022, Tank knows time is fleeting as far as his career resume and goals are concerned. Speaking of…
- “I deserve this kind of opportunity, my career has been transcending and everyone already knows me… however, many see this as a formality for Gervonta. He thinks he’s already won, I think that is not possible,” Garcia tells El Nuevo Herald’s Jorge Ebro
- “Nothing is impossible, nothing is written,” 31-year-old southpaw rubbishes notion that Davis has already won their matchup, considering a megafight between 28-year-old and Ryan Garcia is all but confirmed for April 15 presuming he emerges unscathed here
- After comfortable UD wins over previously-unbeaten Chris Colbert (16-0) and Roger Gutierrez in a career-best 2022 year, the reigning WBA world super-featherweight champion represents Tank’s toughest challenge since Leo Santa Cruz in 2020
31-year-old Hector Luis Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) presents a real threat to Davis next weekend, is a stiffer tune-up fight than most expected and is precisely the sort of fighter many feel he wouldn’t have faced in previous years while still under the Floyd Mayweather promotional banner.
“When a boxer like me – boxing my whole life – gets an opportunity, he takes it. I am an experienced fighter, getting me out is going to be a problem.
Davis’ boxing qualities are good, he’s at the top but that is what motivates me the most and makes me want to fight him.”
- Hector Garcia on what he’d say to those who doubt him
In the interview hyperlinked above (subscription-required), Hector Garcia also spoke about how much a potential surprise win over Davis would mean – not just personally – but for the Dominican Republic, who have a cluster of top boxers across multiple weight-classes right now.
Although Javier Fortuna lost to Ryan Garcia (KOR6) in July and lightweight prospect Frank Martin outclassed Michel Rivera (UD12) earlier this month, compatriot Alberto Puello won the vacant WBA world light-welterweight title on the same night Hector beat Roger Gutierrez.
Two months later, Carlos Adames won the WBC interim world middleweight title with a R3 KO against Juan Macias Montiel, so it’s fair to say the country aren’t doing too badly at the top.
Mutual respect between the pair is clear
Add all of that together, with the fact Garcia enters this matchup with an unblemished pro record – never been knocked down either – and a 52-fight amateur career spanning five years, he has serious pedigree. The underdog tag won’t faze him, like was the case against Chris Colbert.
“I’m definitely not sleeping on, or overlooking him. You saw what he did against Colbert, I know that he’s technical, got a little pop… I just want to put on a great performance. I’m going back, watching tape and studying him.
I’m not a guy who overlooks my opponent just because social media says someone is trash or anything like that. I don’t think he’s trash.”
- Davis insists underestimating Hector Garcia won’t be an issue
While there’s mutual respect between the two, Davis – whose boxing IQ and skills are often an afterthought to his power – knows he can’t just rely on his patented left hand to knock him out.
He set up the stoppage against Rolando Romero beautifully back in May, but most had him losing on the scorecards through six rounds before the decisive punch.
Davis suffered an injury, but Isaac Cruz certainly did much better than everyone expected – and that win has aged well since. Mario Barrios, a much bigger man, gave him problems before the stoppage last June and fans were enthralled during his Leo Santa Cruz scalp the year prior.
Tank’s style is fan-friendly but he’s not a defence-first boxer, despite often having a significant height and reach disadvantage to work with come fight night. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares next Saturday, in a matchup I’ll be covering on moandsports.com. Stay tuned for that.
Picture source: Getty Images, BoxingScene.com and quote sources hyperlinked