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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: TANK-GARCIA, THE POSTMORTEM

By Paul Magno | January 09, 2023
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: TANK-GARCIA, THE POSTMORTEM

Gervonta Davis is a star. 

Seems like I have to say that every time the Baltimore native fights. 

Honestly, though, I kind of get a little charge from drilling home that point. It serves to remind the absolutely useless, supremely self-important boxing media (and the fans who buy into anything the media posers shart into the public discourse) just how inconsequential they are. 

These people have buried Davis in criticisms over the years. They say his level of competition is weak, his championships are fake. They leave him off their pretend pound-for-pound rankings. They practically come in their musty boxers whenever they get to report on any negative outside-the-ring situations involving Davis. 

But none of it matters. 

Davis still sells out houses-- eight in a row (at seven different venues) with Saturday’s 19,000+ paying crowd at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. He headlines pay-per-views-- Saturday’s bout with Hector Luis Garcia was his fifth straight. And, given the buzz swirling around this bout, he commands star-level attention, the kind that even has chronic Tank Davis media cynics crawling all over themselves for the privilege to Tweet from press row. 

Only a true star can deliver that unmistakable big fight feel in a bout where he’s a -1600 betting favorite. 

Sure, pay-per-view buy rates have not been at the superstar level yet and they may be similarly modest for this bout. But making that first crossing over the threshold to next-level stardom in the pay-per-view arena usually requires a bankable B-side. Davis may find that in Ryan Garcia if/when that bout happens in April. 

For now, Gervonta Davis is, arguably, America’s biggest boxing star. Without question, he’s Top 3 at the very least. And his success comes despite clear efforts to bury him. 

Someone else can figure out the whys when it comes to his appeal, but I would imagine that, like with any boxing star of the past, it comes down to having a fan-friendly style and a penchant for delivering big. It sure as hell is NOT about having the “right” belt around his waist or being represented by the “right” management team. 

As for the fight itself? 

I was telling everyone for the longest time that this bout wasn’t the absolute mismatch it was painted to be by the media. 

Although it was likely that Davis would eventually catch and stop Garcia, the relentless dismissal of the Dominican’s abilities and big-fight worthiness was downright disrespectful. Guys like Garcia, with steely resolve, who are controlled, efficient, and self-aware as to what they do best in the ring, are never to be counted out. Garcia’s 2022 was stellar and he earned his way to this major fight. Period. 

And to those who are claiming that Garcia lacked heart and faked his way out of a further beating-- well, what can I say? Social media bitching makes it beyond clear as to who has and who hasn’t ever taken a punch. The guy was out on his feet. It was a miracle and a credit to his resolve as a man that he was able to stand upright and even make it back to his corner. He had no idea where he was. It was a good stoppage, no matter who made the decision.

Saturday’s showing was a classic Tank Davis performance. He fought on even terms in a close bout (despite three disgustingly wide pro-Tank scorecards), sizing things up and picking out his angles, until he could land a kill shot. He has supreme confidence in his ability to close the show when he finally gets that right angle and opportunity. And, although that may work to his detriment against someone with the savvy to build up an early lead and then stifle his ability to deliver that kill shot, he’s yet to come across someone who could withstand the firepower he brings. That may or may not change in the future. For right now, though, Davis is brutally efficient and effective. Boxing fans are appreciating this reality while the media is caught up in their feelings about the man.

Expect bigger and better things to come.

Btw, notice how I went through this whole recap and only mentioned Ryan Garcia once? That’s because Tank-Ryan ain’t happening in April.

Undercard Notes:

– Non-expert experts on social media and all across Wordpress blogs have been quick to shit on Boots Ennis after he won every minute of all twelve rounds against Karen Chukhadzhian on the Tank-Garcia undercard. The same sissy bloggers and blow-hard fake experts who hailed Ennis as a next big thing are now slamming him for this showing. They have lots of theories on why he looked bad Saturday night-- and, honestly, all of them hold water like a pasta strainer. The reality is that Boots was facing an unknown entity in Chukhadzhian who, as things turned out, was a tough guy with a good chin and an awkward, mobile style. If anything, Boots was pressing too much, like a guy who’s been reading too many of his own press clippings. He’s the same guy, though, that we’ve been seeing. People need to stop trying so hard to be experts. 

– When people were saying that this Tank-Garcia card was all mismatches, I pointed to Rashidi Ellis- Roiman Villa as absolutely not a mismatch. Villa is a heavy-handed fighter who’s tough as hell. Plus, I wasn’t 100% sold on Ellis. I thought Ellis eked out a close decision by building up the early lead, but he was clearly beaten up and done by the end of the fight, so the loss shouldn’t be an affront to any sensibilities.

– Demetrius Andrade started quick against Demond Nicholson in his super middleweight debut. It was almost as if he had finally learned his lesson about entertainment value going hand in hand with drawing power. Then, he fell back into being Demetrius Andrade. Another safe, safety-first and absolutely meaningless decision for Boo-Boo.

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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