NEW YORK – Gervonta Davis doesn’t understand why Ryan Garcia skipped his proposed tune-up bout before their showdown April 22.
Davis defeated a previously unbeaten 130-pound world champion, Hector Luis Garcia, not an overmatched opponent, January 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The Baltimore native still considered the risk involved in taking another fight prior to boxing Garcia worthwhile because he didn’t want his layoff to extend to almost 11 months before the Garcia fight.
Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) would’ve fought Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta (33-3-3, 17 KOs), a lesser opponent than Davis faced, on January 28 had Garcia opted to get some rounds in before he opposes Davis. Ultimately, though, Garcia didn’t want to risk an injury or a cut that could’ve prohibited him from fighting Davis in April.
“I just felt the struggles of making this fight and the things that had to be done, how long it was dragging out, I just didn’t wanna put that [at] risk,” Garcia said during a press conference Wednesday at Palladium Times Square. “Not for the loss, but you could hurt your hand, head-butts, lotta different issues that could occur in a fight. So, I chose not to, to secure this fight and make sure that it’s guaranteed. I didn’t wait that long just to mess it up at the finish line, so I made sure we got to the finish line. That’s why I chose not to get a tune-up.”
The 24-year-old Garcia suffered an injury to his right hand that required surgery in October 2021 and caused him to withdraw from a fight against Joseph Diaz Jr. Garcia was supposed to defend his WBC interim lightweight title versus Diaz, a former IBF junior lightweight champ, in November 2021.
Garcia, of Victorville, California, eventually returned to the ring last April 9, when he out-pointed Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe (32-2, 15 KOs) unanimously in their 12-rounder at Alamodome in San Antonio. His victory over Tagoe ended a 15-month layoff, as Garcia hadn’t boxed since his seventh-round stoppage of England’s Luke Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) in January 2021 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Davis’ rival will halt a nine-month layoff when they square off in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event next month at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Garcia last fought July 16, the night he dropped Dominican southpaw Javier Fortuna (37-4-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC) once apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds on his way to a sixth-round knockout at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
The 28-year-old Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) badly hurt Hector Luis Garcia late in the eighth round of their fight for Davis’ WBA secondary lightweight title two months ago. Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs, 3 NC) didn’t answer the bell for the start of the ninth round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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