Stephen A. Smith says Ryan Garcia will need to box Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and stay on the outside if he’s to have any shot at defeating him in April when they meet in their mega-fight on Showtime PPV.
What concerns Stephen A is whether Ryan can withstand the big shots from Tank because he’s already been dropped before by a non-puncher in Luke Campbell. If Tank knocks Ryan down, he’ll finish him off for sure.
Smith says Ryan (23-0, 19 KOs) should follow the game plan that Tommy Hearns used when he boxed Sugar Ray Leonard in their first fight.
Hearn fought well through the first 13 rounds, but Leonard got to him in the 14th round to score a knockout.
Few boxing fans are any illusions that Tank won’t win this fight, as Ryan, 24, has been facing fluff opposition his entire six-year professional career and lacks the experience to win.
“I was very proud because I had Ryan Garcia’s team reach out, and they said, ‘He has signed on the dotted line. He and Gervonta Davis are going to fight in April.’ They confirmed it,” said Stephen A. Smith to The Fight with Teddy Atlas about Ryan Garcia and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis agreeing to fight in April.
“I called Gervvonta Davis’ side, and they said, ‘We’re doing this. This fight is happening.’ Yes, this is a fight that people want to see. They’ve been talking smack to one another for the longest, and they’re in the same weight class. Let’s make it happen.
“Here’s the thing. Tank can take a punch. I’m not sure he has to take an abundance of punches from Ryan Garcia. With the quickness and the speed, I’m not sure.
“I do know this. I saw Ryan Garcia get dropped. If he gets dropped like that by Gervonta Davis, he’s not surviving. Nobody is surviving after Tank Davis catches you. He’s the lightweight Mike Tyson, as far as I’m concerned,” said Davis.
“Punches are born, Stephen A. Punch are born, they’re not made, and Gervonta was born to punch,” said Teddy Atlas, cutting in on Smith to drive home a point.
“You’re absolutely correct, and I will say this. Who is the miniature dude, Isaac [Cruz] that he fought?” said Stephen A. about Tank Davis’ fight in December 2021 against Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz.
“Let me tell you about the Isaac Cruz fight. Isaac Cruz is not spectacular, but he’s very good defensively; he’s got power, he stalks, and he doesn’t back up. He stalked Gervonta Davis. To watch Gervonta Davis evade his punches. The way that he did was very impressive to me, and I never saw him do that before.
“I saw him willing to take punches in order to catch somebody and take them out that way. I didn’t see a guy that was evasive. I saw that against Isaac. I thought, ‘Do you know something? Gervonta Davis can box a hell of a lot better than I thought.’
“Ryan Garcia is longer, is taller, a tremendous jab, a tremendous hook, and tremendous speed. It can go either way, but if Gervonta catches him, it’s lights out,” said Smith.
“I agree with what you just said about Gervonta,” said Atlas. “He’s a complete fighter; he’s not just a puncher. That guy can box. He can go get you. He can counter, and his defense is responsible. He knows what he’s doing inside that squared circle.
“I would agree with you. It’s the kind of fight where there’s no margin for error with Garcia. Garcia would have to fight as close to perfect fight as possible in that fight where I could see Tank making some mistakes to overcome it.
“For me, Garcia would have to control the outside and make him pay to get in. Charge him punches for real estate instead of ten dollars for a foot of land, and charge him three punches for a foot of land.
“He would have to control that outside, that range, and could not afford to allow Tank Davis to get close enough to catch him,” said Atlas.
“You know what I compare that to? Sugar Ray – Hearns 1, where Hearns stayed away, used the jab, messed up that retina, damaged him, but couldn’t stay away when Sugar Ray finally caught him, and hurt him, not just with headshots but with body shots and ultimately finished him in the 14th round,” said Smith.
“He [Sugar Ray Leonard] would have run out of time today,” said Atlas about Leonard.
“He would have run out of time today, but not then,” said Smith about Leonard. “What I’m saying is, Sugar Ray, when Angelo Dundee said, ‘You’re losing it, baby.'”
“‘You’re blowing it kid. You’re blowing it,'” said Atlas in correcting Stephen A about what Sugar Ray Leonard’s trainer Angelo Dundee told him during the first Tommy Hearns fight.
“And Sugar stalked him,” said Smith. “What I’m saying is, Tank, if Ryan Garcia has a chance, it’s to fight like Hearns fought in that fight and stay away from Gervonta Davis because Gervonta Davis, at some point, is going to stalk him because he’s that kind of fighter where he’s willing to take a chance of getting knocked out in order to come get you. He’s willing to do it,” said Smith.
“Listen, I agree with you. I don’t agree with you that often,” said Atlas. “I agree with you here. It’s the kind of fight where Ryan Garcia has to put his ego in his pocket. He can’t be out there proving anything, like, ‘I can punch too. I’ve got this left hook,’ which he does. He has a beautiful counter-left hook. ‘I can crack too.’
“Forget all that. You better show how you can box and how consistent you can box, and you can own the outside of that ring all night long,” said Atlas.
“He was in Floyd Mayweather’s camp for years,” said Stephen A about Tank Davis. “He’s got to use the skills that Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather used against Diego Corrales.
“That’s what he’s got to use. I’m talking about Gervonta.”
“Floyd took him apart,” said Atlas about Mayweather’s win over Corrales.
“That’s only if Ryan comes at him the way that Diego Corrales came at Floyd because Floyd wasn’t known as a puncher,” said Smith.
“The difference is Gervonta is known as a puncher, so Ryan Garcia should be smart enough, wise enough to keep his distance and stay away,” said Smith.