Should Ryan Garcia have taken tune-up for Tank Davis match?

By Boxing News - 12/23/2022 - Comments

By Brian Webber: More and more boxing fans feel that Ryan Garcia should have stuck with his original idea of taking a tune-up fight against Mercito Gesta on January 28th to get ready for the biggest fight of his career against Gervonta ‘Tank Davis on April 15th.

Ryan (23-0, 19 KOs) stated on his now-deleted Twitter account that he doesn’t want a tune-up, and he just wants to go straight into the Tank Davis fight and knock him out in two rounds.

Both Tank (27-0, 25 KOs) and his trainer Calvin Ford see something fishy with Ryan’s decision not to take the tune-up fight, as if he’s hiding something. Tank feels that Ryan is “juicing” by taking PEDs and he didn’t want to chance it by taking a tuneup.

“Ryan Garcia has elected not to go ahead with a stay-busy fight with Mercito Gesta. Instead, he’s going to keep training to go onto the fight against Tank,” said Chris Mannix on his Boxing podcast. “Presumably for mid-April, but we’ll see what happens with Tank over the next couple of months.

“Let’s start with Ryan’s decision not to take the stay-busy fight. We’ve heard some criticism from Golden Boy from Oscar De La Hoya himself. What did you make of Ryan’s decision not to fight Gesta?”

“I thought it was a very mature decision and the right decision,” said Dan Rafael about Ryan Garcia opting not to face journeyman Mercito Gesta. “I told Ryan that myself.

“I told him that I thought it was a good decision and a mature decision. In my mind, when you do tune-up fights, bad things happen, and we have a hard enough time in this sport making the big mega-fights.

“Ryan Garia fought two times in 2022. He’s not going to be coming off of some wacky layoff. If he’s in the gym training with his trainer Joe Goosen, there’s absolutely no reason for him to have a fight that does nothing for him other than get him some money, I guess.

“Let’s just be frank about this reason that Golden Boy is upset that there’s no fight. Oscar De La Hoya has made some remarks about it. Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy, made some comments to me.

“Maybe from a competitive point of view, Oscar, a Hall of Famer, thought it was a good idea to have a tune-up fight like he did before he fought Chavez, for example, when they fought on the same card.

“But I think it’s more specifically, they need the money that they’re going to generate from a Ryan Garcia event. Golden Boy doesn’t have a lot going on right now.

“They didn’t have a big year in 2022, and Ryan Garcia is far and away their biggest money-maker and their biggest name. So, of course, they’re disappointed that he’s not going to fight.

“I feel that Ryan Garcia, as long as he’s going to train and be in shape, not taking an interim fight was the wise thing to do because anything can happen. Conversely, I’m not knocking Tank Davis for taking his interim fight against Hector Garcia.

“I actually think that’s a much tougher fight than I anticipated when he announced he was going to have a showdown with Ryan Garcia. So, I see both sides of the coin. So I don’t think Golden Boy should be criticizing Ryan Garcia. It’s his career, it’s his life.

“It’s not like he’s backing out of his fight against Gervonta Davis. That’s the fight he wants. Ryan is the type of athlete and has the type of personality that unless he’s motivated for something, it’s hard for him to get up for a fight.

“Not all boxers are like that. Some can get up for the lesser fights. For Ryan, he needs to be pushed, he needs to be motivated. Tank Davis, a guy that he’s been calling out for two years, that motivates him.

“Fighting Mercito Gesta where we already know what the outcome is does not motivate him. So let him go get his skills sharpened up in the gym, do the roadwork, get in shape and focus on Davis and fight that big mega-fight in April.

“He doesn’t need to fight in January for whatever reason just so his promoters can make some money,” said Rafael.

“If this fight was going to be at the 136-lb limit as the Tank Davis fight is scheduled to be at, I would understand it to a certain degree,” said Mannix about Ryan Garcia.

“It could almost operate in a kind of staging ground for Ryan to get ready, make that weight in a healthy manner and do it that way. But this was going to be at a full-fledged 140, so there’s no upside there.

“As far as the finances go, Ryan is not going to miss that money. Ryan makes a lot of money outside of the ring. He’s not going to miss whatever he’s going to make for the Mercito Gesta fight.

“He’s doing just fine financially with everything he’s got going on outside [the ring]. His social media following alone generates a lot of money for him. So, it’s not an issue of money for him.

“If he and [trainer] Joe Goosen believe it’s better for him to stay in the gym for an extra couple of months to just hone in on Gervonta Davis, then I’ll take their word for it. I agree with you, I think Davis deserves all the credit in the world.

“Not just for taking a fight before a mega-fight against Ryan Garcia, but for taking on someone as challenging as Hector Luis Garcia. This is a guy coming off two big wins in 2022. He beat Chris Colbert and he beat Roger Gutierrez.

“I think Bob Santos, his trainer, has a case of being trainer of the year this year. This is a real fight for Gervonta Davis on January 7th, one that could derail a multi, multi-fight against Ryan Garcia. He’s going through it, and he deserves credit for it.

“At the same time, I’m with you. Ryan doesn’t deserve any criticism for saying he doesn’t want a tune-up fight. My issue with Tank is the nonsense that he keeps spewing about Ryan being on PEDs. You can’t just throw that s**t to the Universe. You can’t.

“More importantly, not only has Ryan said, ‘I’ll do advanced testing for a fight,’ Golden Boy has said the same thing. There’s still no contract yet for Garcia vs. Tank in April. That’s still on the PBC side of the ledger.

“When that comes through, both Golden Boy and Garcia has told me that they want advanced testing for that fight. Tank sees one picture of Ryan on social media and he’s like, ‘This guy is definitely doing something,'” said Mannix.

“I don’t even know where that came from because you and I both know there are certain guys where there has been rumors that ‘maybe they’re using or maybe it looks like they’re using,'” said Rafael.

“Ryan Garcia was never one of those guys. You never know for sure hat goes on behind gym doors or with any of these guys. He’s not one of the guys that come to mind that is using PEDS.  I just don’t buy that, really.

“But to bring it up without a shred of evidence is low class and not called for. You want to insult his mother or tell him he’s this or he’s that, that’s all grist for the mill if you’re promoting a fight and you may not love the guy you’re going to be fighting against.

“But to throw those allegations out there, to me, that’s just not called for at all, and I would just ignore it, to be honest with you,” said Rafael.

“Maybe, he’s trying to play a mind game with Ryan Garcia. I don’t know. Maybe it’s as simple as him looking at a picture of him and saying, ‘Wow, he looks a lot bigger than he used to.’

“Ryan, of course, is 24 years old at this point. So his body is going to keep on growing. He’s 5’9″ or 5’10”, so he’s a big guy. He’s eventually going to put on more weight.

“Look, Tank is going to have the advantage ag 136. Ryan is going to have to squeeze down. That’s going to be a big variable for when they fight. How healthy will Ryan be when he gets down to 136?

“Is he drained and just barely making it? That’s going to be a factor in their fight. It’s going to be a real advantage for Tank Davis,” said Mannix.