Max Warren breaks down possible fights
Ryan Garcia’s (20-0, 17 KOs) two first-round knockout wins in his last two fights have fans taking him seriously. One year ago, fans would claim that Garcia didn’t have a chance against either Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) or Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs). In all honesty, many believed that Garcia was a fabricated social media star that benefited from his looks and less-than-credible opposition. When Garcia knocked out Filipino fighter Romero Duno last year, people began to consider him once again as a talented prospect with lots of potential. But still, some wondered whether the knockout was lucky, and doubted that Duno was the threat people perceived him to be. He made quick work of Duno as if it was Garcia’s professional debut against an overmatched opponent.
Once again, Garcia scored an impressive and shocking first-round knockout win versus Francisco Fonseca. He did it with the same weapon he used to floor Duno, a whipping left hook. He maintained his distance well, and countered Fonseca. It’s difficult for young fighters to have the patience and timing to take advantage of an opening, and Garcia did it in impressive fashion. The crowd at the Honda Center in Anaheim went wild, and the quick win sets up an eventual clash against former lightweight world champion Jorge Linares in July. While a bout versus Linares has fans buzzing, the two fighters that many have been wishing for Garcia to face are Devin “The Dream” Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
Interestingly, Garcia and Haney fought each other six times in the amateurs. Both fighters are 3-3 in their six matches, which will make a great promotion heading into their professional bout. Fights in the amateurs tend to be fought in a drastically different manner, but it’s still a solid indication for how a fighter’s talents could translate to the professional ranks. Haney and Garcia are immensely talented with speed and power, which would make a great fight.
If one were to compare both young fighters to automobiles, Garcia is a speeding and somewhat out-of-control Ferrari and Haney is a durable Mercedes. We’ve seen Haney go 12 rounds and remain consistent throughout the whole fight without showing noticeable signs of fatigue. He even went the distance and dominated in his last fight despite suffering a dislocated shoulder. Most young professionals couldn’t handle that. On the other hand, we haven’t witnessed Garcia go 12 rounds. In fact, when he has fought 10 rounds, he has slowed down and lost steam on his whipping power punches.
Haney is more versatile. He can fight on the inside and utilize an effective jab. He counters well, and mixes up his attack to head and body. Garcia’s offense is best when he maintains range and connects on the end of his punches. He struggles at times when he is being backed up, and doesn’t boast a strong inside game. Garcia wins because his speed can be too much for opponents to handle. When Haney and Garcia eventually square off, Haney will be the favorite. There are more routes in which boxing experts could see Haney winning than for Garcia. Haney can outbox Garcia with his jab, and effectively go to the body. We’ve seen Garcia hurt to the body before, and Haney can take advantage of this vulnerability. Garcia can win if he can catch Haney early. His timing has been impeccable in his last two outings, and he could time Haney with a lethal left hook. Haney doesn’t give opponents many opportunities to counter, but Garcia’s hand speed reaches the target faster than most fighters. If Haney beats Garcia, it will likely be via late round stoppage or decision. If Garcia wins, it will have to be by early knockout.
Gervonta Davis has been billed as the “Mini Mike Tyson.” Just like in Tyson’s early years, Davis has made quick work of lesser opposition. But just as Tyson looked more vulnerable against stronger opponents, Davis may struggle once he faces true resistance. Could Ryan Garcia be the one to test Davis? “Tank” didn’t perform as expected in his last outing against Yuriorkus Gamboa. To make matters worse, it was later revealed that Gamboa fought ten rounds with a torn achilles and “Tank” didn’t stop Gamboa until the 12th round. Heading into the fight, Davis struggled to make weight, and his performance may have been an indication of his training techniques. Regardless, he is on a 14-fight KO streak and has an incredible following. Any fight he is in from now on will be a major event, and Davis vs. Garcia is one of the biggest fights to be made in boxing.
Davis is strong, boasts a great inside game, and can also fight well on the outside. His talent is undeniable, but some speculate whether he is fully committed to boxing. He has been involved in some legal disputes, and on several occasions has struggled to make weight. If he faces Garcia, he will be seen as the favorite. He has the inside game and man-strength that will be very difficult for Garcia to overcome.
For Garcia to best Davis, he needs to keep using his jab and remain at range as much as possible. He can’t afford to be backed up or on the inside. Davis will need to drag Garcia into deep waters, and force him to fight in the trenches. Davis has a solid chin, so it’s difficult to imagine him losing by early KO. If Garcia wins, it will be because he kept Davis on the end of his punches and remained in the center of the ring. Davis has the potential to knock out Garcia, and will need to attack the body and back him up to the ropes as much as possible.
These two mega-fights between some of boxing’s young notable superstars will be a must-see. Fans want to know sooner rather than later the credibility of these three young fighters. It’s great to witness fresh talent entering the sport, since it’s something new for fans to witness. The strength of boxing’s momentum needs young stars like Garcia, Haney, and Davis to be in quality fights. Fans will be entirely satisfied when the three end up facing each other, but until then people will not continue to tolerate fights against overmatched opposition.