LOS ANGELES – The way Gervonta Davis and his team see it, if Ryan Garcia actually wanted to fight him, it would’ve happened earlier this year.
“He a Instagram fighter,” Davis said late Sunday night following his 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Isaac Cruz at Staples Center. “We don’t worry about him. [He’s a] YouTuber, yeah. He’s a pretty girl. That’s what he is. He just talk.”
Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO for Mayweather’s promotional company, later discussed during Davis’ post-fight press conference how they tried to make a bout between Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) and Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) early this year. Ellerbe negotiated with Garcia’s representatives, but he ultimately was informed that Garcia instead wanted to pursue what he thought would be a more lucrative showdown with Manny Pacquiao.
Nothing ever came of Pacquiao-Garcia talks, primarily because the supposed funding for that fight never materialized. Once Garcia walked away from a fight versus Davis, however, the knockout artist from Baltimore temporarily moved up from the lightweight limit of 135 pounds to the junior welterweight maximum of 140 pounds to face Mario Barrios.
Davis dropped Barrios three times and stopped him in the 11th round to win the WBA world super lightweight title from him June 26 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Mexico City’s Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) took Davis the 12-round distance for the first time in Davis’ career Sunday night and ended his 16-fight knockout streak in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
Garcia, meanwhile, still has not fought since those initial discussions about boxing Davis. The Victorville, California, native withdrew from a July 9 fight against Javier Fortuna to focus on his mental health and then pulled out of a November 27 bout with Joseph Diaz Jr. due to an injury to his right hand that required surgery.
His inactivity and withdrawals didn’t stop Garcia from criticizing Davis in the aftermath of the most difficult fight of Davis’ eight-year pro career.
“We all know Luke Campbell is better [than] all of [Tank’s] opposition,” Garcia wrote on Twitter in reference to his own toughest opponent. “Tank can’t beat me. He knows that and Mayweather knows that. I’m too fast and I got too much accuracy. C’mon Mayweather, you can’t protect him forever.”
Davis, Mayweather and Ellerbe didn’t pay Garcia’s trash talk much mind.
“I don’t know what he said, but we tried to make this fight,” Mayweather said. “For those that don’t know, we tried to make this fight before, [with] the kid, Ryan Garcia. We tried to make the fight. He chose – what happened, Leonard? You know. Give the whole breakdown.”
Ellerbe replied, “I tried to make the fight and they didn’t wanna fight – bottom line.”
The 23-year-old Garcia overcame a second-round knockdown to stop England’s Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) with a body shot in the seventh round of his most recent fight, which took place January 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Discussions regarding Garcia challenging Davis began after Garcia impressively beat Campbell.
“He said that I guess he was gonna do an exhibition with Pacquiao instead of fighting [Davis],” Mayweather said. “You know, you get to do an exhibition when you retire. So, you can’t be doing no exhibitions when you young and active. Real fights.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.