NEW YORK – Ryan Garcia made many concessions during negotiations for the high-profile fight he wanted most of all.
Garcia gave Davis a one-sided rematch clause that only Davis can exercise if Garcia upsets him April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Davis’ rival also agreed to face the powerful southpaw at a contracted catch weight of 136 pounds, despite that Garcia fought at the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds in his last appearance.
The 24-year-old Garcia must adhere as well to a rehydration clause that prohibits him from weighing more than 146 pounds when he enters the ring for their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
From Garcia’s perspective, he feels like he said yes to virtually every request because he wanted this career-defining fight so badly. The popular, polarizing Garcia knew, too, that the sport needed this enormous event at a time when some marketable bouts between elite-level fighters failed to materialize.
“During this whole journey I definitely put boxing first and the fans first, because I had to accept a lotta stipulations,” Garcia said Wednesday during a press conference at Palldium Times Square. “They know it. You know? Going down in weight, rehydration clause. I don’t wanna bring up too much, but those are the little things that I said to myself, ‘You know what? If I put myself first, I should say no.’
“But my heart don’t let me. I got the character of a champion and my power comes from within and from above. No matter what weight I’m down to, no matter what I have to do, my strength comes from here [pointed to his heart]. I don’t look like I hit hard, but I do hit hard. The punches, they just come quick. But when they hit you, you’re just down.”
Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs), of Victorville, California, hopes he and Baltimore’s Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) have encouraged other boxers to overcome obstacles that too often prevent the most fascinating fights from coming together. Neither Garcia nor Davis allowed the facts that they work with competing promoters and a different network (Davis with Showtime) and streaming service (Garcia with DAZN) to stop them from finally coming to an agreement February 24.
“We really came together and conquered the poison that’s been stopping boxing from having the biggest fights,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t easy, but we found a way. This has been a fight that I’ve wanted for a very long time because, for me, to be a champion you have to beat the best. It’s not about the titles. It’s not about, you know, like I said the titles. It’s about who you beat.
“And for me, it’s a testimony for the respect I got for him as a fighter. To me, I believe he's one of the best and I’ve had that type of mentality since I was a young kid, growing up in the amateurs. I never thought about the weight class. I only thought about who was in it, because I wanna be the best.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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