Details of delicate dealings among competing promoters and television networks or streaming services often are kept private.
That was the case early in 2021, when representatives for Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia quietly made progress toward matching those two popular, undefeated lightweight knockout artists. Garcia feels he has unfairly been blamed for their fight falling apart last year, supposedly because Garcia and his team chased a more lucrative showdown with Manny Pacquiao that never materialized.
Garcia contended during a recent conference call that he was misled regarding a potential Pacquiao bout by Sean Gibbons, the president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions.
Regardless, Davis eventually decided to temporarily move up to the 140-pound division for a fight against Mario Barrios, then the WBA world super lightweight champion. Baltimore’s Davis stopped San Antonio’s Mario Barrios in the 11th round of their June 2021 fight at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Garcia, meanwhile, withdrew from a July 2021 fight against Javier Fortuna soon after it was announced to address his mental health.
Garcia (22-0, 18 KOs), of Victorville, California, is consistently listed as at least an 11-1 favorite to defeat Fortuna (37-3-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC) in their rescheduled junior welterweight bout Saturday night. If Garcia gets past Fortuna in a 12-round main event DAZN will stream Saturday night from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, he wants to be as open as possible if negotiations resume for a showdown with Davis (27-0, 25 KOs), who owns the WBA’s secondary 135-pound championship.
“I think it’s quite obvious where we’re headed towards,” Garcia said during the aforementioned conference call. “I mean, I’ve spoken about it so many times. Obviously, once I get past Fortuna, definitely I’m gonna be campaigning for that fight with Gervonta Davis. And like I’ve said as well in the past, I’m down to really be transparent about the negotiations, the whole process through, to really prove to the people that I really want this fight and in no way would I not actually want this fight, that it’s not a front. So, however I could be transparent legally, as much as I can, to show that I’m definitely willing to make the fight happen, I’m willing to do that. And yeah, I wanna fight Gervonta Davis next, after I beat Fortuna.”
Garcia is bothered by what he insists is a rampant misconception about his willingness to fight elite lighteweights, most notably Davis. The hard-hitting, 23-year-old contender intends to disprove his skeptics by pushing as hard as he can to finally make his long-discussed fight versus Davis a reality.
Constructing a Davis-Garcia deal will become complicated because Davis, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather’s company, and Garcia, who is represented by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, also are affiliated with competing platforms. Showtime has televised Davis’ last 11 fights, either live on the network or on pay-per-view, whereas DAZN has streamed Garcia’s past six fights.
Garcia has publicly indicated he’ll do whatever is necessary, presumably within reason, to make a Davis deal work. It won’t be his fault, according to Garcia, if he doesn’t fight Davis next.
“I think I’m all about the truth,” Garcia said, “and, you know, the way the media has always – and not even the media, just the way these managers and people just try to spin off me, because it’s so easy to look at me and say that I’m ducking or we’re not because of all the things I’ve said. But it’s really been set up by traps and illusions by these promoters and these managers, to make it seem like I ducked out of the fight in some way, when the facts are just that I never ducked the fight, and I just always tried to make it happen.
“So, now I just try to find ways to really exploit the truth and just try to really, you know, clear the smog or clear the fog in the way of the truth, and this is the way I feel like I could do it, is really being transparent as I can be in every step of the way, just as I was with the [Isaac] Cruz negotiations. And it came to show that they didn’t wanna fight, and I wasn’t the one ducking. Regardless of people always trying to fit the narrative that I’m not trying to fight, that’s really not the case.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.