Boxing

Will Tank Davis Find a Stepping Stone or a Roadblock in Hector Luis Garcia?

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This Saturday at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., burgeoning superstar Gervonta “Tank” Davis will be defending his version of the WBA lightweight title against unbeaten WBA super featherweight champ Hector Luis Garcia.

The oddsmakers don’t see it as much of a challenge, making Davis a -1600 favorite in some books. The odds, however, don’t necessarily reflect the complex nature of the matchup this weekend. Davis, a Baltimore native making his return to his home area, very well may win this fight, but it shouldn’t be as easy as the betting lines suggest and victory won’t come without the 28-year-old favorite working his way through some real complexity.

In the ring, Garcia is a poised and mature fighter who makes few mistakes and has a knack for subtly seizing control of a fight by setting the pace and gradually wearing down opposition.

A 2016 Olympian representing his native Dominican Republic, Garcia forced his way on to the world stage when he upset highly-regarded mega-prospect Chris Colbert in February of last year. He followed that shocker up by capturing the WBA 130 lb. title against defending champ Roger Gutierrez six months later.

The 31-year-old Garcia is no soft touch by any stretch of the imagination and won’t be intimidated by the immensity of the upcoming event.

But Tank Davis is not just facing Hector Luis Garcia this Saturday. Davis has got a world of distraction muddying up his focus and potentially taking his attention from what the Dominican brings to the ring.

The 5-time, 3-division world champ is just a week removed from a domestic assault arrest that threatened to stall his career and, at the very least, wipe this upcoming bout off the slate.

Before that, Davis publicly parted ways with Mayweather Promotions, making this event his first as a headlining promotional free agent.

Next month, Davis has a court date in a hit-and-run case that, in a worst-case scenario, could result in prison time.

Then, there’s the big-ticket showdown against Ryan Garcia in April, a mega-score of a bout that fades into oblivion if Davis gets upset this Saturday or suffers some sort of freak injury.

There’s a lot on Tank’s plate right now, a lot hanging over his head. This upcoming bout represents a gateway to next-level stardom, with the big fights and big opportunities that come along with it. A loss, injury, or even a poor showing puts a stop to everything.

Davis has been relaxed and even jovial with media in the lead-up to Saturday’s contest. He insists that his focus is entirely on Hector Luis Garcia, not Ryan Garcia or any of the outside-the-ring issues swirling around him.

“I know that Hector Luis Garcia is going to come to fight and we’re going to give the fans what they want to see,” Davis recently told media.

“Garcia did what he had to do to earn this fight. He beat a top contender and then won the belt. Giving him the shot was the perfect timing for everyone. He’s earned his stripes…

“Our main focus is Hector Luis Garcia. We know that he’s a threat to everything I want to do. The goal is to put on a great performance, nothing else.”

Yeah, but…

Being human is being human and it’s only human to look down the road—especially when you’re so favored to win– or to lose sight of matters at hand when there’s so much insanity pulling at your focus.

Tank Davis is blessed with explosive one-punch power and elite-level reflexes. We all know that. We’ll see on Saturday if he’s also blessed with a strong mind.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: [email protected]