Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia Beforemath: How Davis can end the Garcia hype train?

The biggest boxing event of the year is this weekend, and we have to take some time to look at it. Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia are set to fight in a catchweight bout with nothing but legacy on the line. Both fighters need a marquee win the likes of which the other can provide. So how does this fight go down? Who wins and how?

On this week’s Beforemath, we look at just that question. How does Tank win and how does Garcia win? Let’s break down M̶a̶y̶w̶e̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ v̶s̶. D̶e̶ L̶a̶ H̶o̶y̶a̶ 3̶, I mean Davis vs. Garcia!

Ryan Garcia: A Career Performance Required

Ryan Garcia had talked himself into a major fight. While he has some good wins like Luke Campbell and Javier Fortuna, Garcia hasn’t really fought anyone as well known as Davis. Now, it’s time to put his money where his mouth is.

There is a lot that Garcia does wrong. His chin is up high, his footwork is plodding, and he admires his punches a bit too much. He will need to fight the best fight of his life against Davis if he wants to get the win. This means staying behind the jab, not getting drawn into a brawl, and keeping himself safe with his footwork.

One advantage Garcia has in this fight is his experience with the southpaw. His brother, Sean Garcia, is a southpaw and the two have trained together all their lives. Garcia isn’t as baffled with the southpaw as other fighters are. Gervonta Davis is a southpaw.

Against Campbell we see in the figure above that Garcia is looking for that lead hook to the body after being knocked down earlier in the fight. It’s been a reliable weapon for him and one of his go-to’s for southpaws. He will (1) step in and show Luke Campbell that straight right. With Garcia’s hands being so fast, Campbell doesn’t have time to sit and think what punch is coming. Garcia managed to catch his eye with that right hand flashed and Campbell gets the right hand up quickly. (2) But as Garcia steps in, we see the left hook loaded up. Campbell’s guard stays high and will open the path for that left to come through. (3) And as we all saw in the fight it does land and Campbell is not able to get up. Liver shot, knockout.

One thing I want you to notice in that third frame is the position of Garcia’s chin and right hand. He has his chin high and he’s looking at his punch. Pair that with the dropped right and it’s prime for some return fire from Gervonta Davis. Garcia needs to keep the right hand up and his chin tucked safe and away from the power hand of Davis or the consequences can be much worse for him than the one knockdown from Luke Campbell.

For Ryan Garcia, using his size against the undersized Gervonta Davis is a must. In order to keep Davis from getting in the pocket with him. While it can be alluring to land that one hitter quitter, Garcia must be ready for a fight like no other he’s had. He needs to not get caught up in the moment and fold under pressure against Davis.

Gervonta Davis: Your Fight to Lose

On paper, this is Gervonta Davis’ fight to lose. And while he’s been the favorite in most, if not all, of his fights, Gervonta Davis has struggled against Leo Santa Cruz and Mario Barrios. It is important to note that Davis was leading on both of those scorecards, but his aura of invincibility waned in those fights and showed that the protege of Floyd Mayweather is mortal.

But Ryan Garcia shouldn’t be that kind of fight on paper. Normally, Davis struggles when someone is tough and can eat his power shots. Garcia isn’t really that. And with a re-hydration clause in effect, Garcia’s chin could be in even more jeopardy. With a high-profile knockout of Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis will be thrust into a new realm of stardom with big name fights to follow. Think Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson, and Vasyl Lomachenko.

But the path to that lies through Ryan Garcia. We’ve seen Garcia knocked down in the Luke Campbell fight and know he is capable of being knocked out. So how does Gervonta Davis stay safe first and produce a knockout second?

To stay safe, I’m expecting Gervonta Davis to show off some of that patented Floyd Mayweather defense. The Philly Shell, as it’s called. As seen above, the Philly Shell is a great defense, especially against boxers who aren’t as polished and tend to head hunt. In the figure above, we see Davis in the shell. With Hector Luis Garcia pushing the pressure, Davis has his rear hand by his chin to take away the right of Garcia. His lead hand is down and across his body, protecting the liver and the body. To avoid the left, Davis will use his lead shoulder to avoid any unnecessary damage from the left hook.

While the general rule is that the Philly Shell is to be used against the same stance and it’s not as effective against someone of the opposite stance, it can work against someone with a strong of a lead hook as Garcia. He can parry away the jab of Garcia and get behind the shoulder while protecting the body that Garcia is so good at targeting.

But this won’t be the norm for Gervonta Davis. He has a killer instinct in him that won’t allow him to stay in the shell for too long. He will go at Garcia. Should he do so, he will keep both his hands high and square up, utilizing weaving and bobbing to get into the pocket.

In our next figure, we see Davis utilizing just that to get into the pocket, again with the Hector Luis Garcia fight. (1) In the first frame, we see Garcia throw a right hand and (2) Davis slips to the inside and this automatically loads the lead uppercut. (3) With it chambered up, Davis will throw to the midsection of Garcia, crippling him and instead of exiting the pocket, Davis will (4) step back with his rear foot in what essentially becomes a pull counter. It isn’t a true pull counter in the sense that he’s pulling back off 0f a punch and using the pull back to load up his left. But his rocking back from that lead uppercut with his right foot creates the distance all the same. (5) Davis lands the left and snaps Garcia’s head to the side.

The reason I like the Hector Luis Garcia fight so much is not because he has the same last name as Davis’ new opponent. But Davis showed a lot of his game that we don’t usually see. We know he’s capable of these things, but he hasn’t truly put them all together as well as he did in this fight.

With a win over Ryan Garcia, he may end the Mayweather-De La Hoya rivalry. But more importantly, he sets himself up for some very exciting fights in the future. Money is what’s on the line here. And in boxing, it’s all about the money.


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