Malignaggi Questions Ryan Garcia’s Mental Toughness Versus Davis

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Commentator and former two-division world champ Paulie Malignaggi questions Ryan Garcia’s mental toughness in a rough scrap against Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

When asked his take on who wins the proposed big ticket Davis-Garcia clash in April, the Brooklyn native had doubts about the inner resolve and mental fortitude of the 24-year-old “King Ry.”

“We’ll see if the Ryan Garcia fight gets made in the spring,” Malignaggi told ESNEWS, regarding the bout that has yet to produce finalized contracts, name a venue, or even firmly establish a date. “I think Gervonta has more dog in him. I think Ryan has the physical attributes to beat Gervonta, but I don’t know if he has the mindset to beat Gervonta.

“Gervonta, from what I gather of him, is more willing to be in that trench fight [than Ryan]. Even if you hurt him, he’s willing to be in there. I know Ryan got up off the canvas to stop Luke Campbell, but then he kind of disappeared after that. It’s almost like the fight scared him.

“I’m not quite sure about Ryan’s mentality. I haven’t seen enough of it to know that it’s bonafide and it’s legit. I know that Gervonta’s mentality is bonafide and legit. He’s been in there and been in a dog fight. Against guys like Pitbull [Isaac Cruz], he fought. He was behind against Rolly [Romero], but stayed calm and knocked him out. He got this win [against Hector Luis Garcia] in a tactical affair and got a knockout against [Jose] Pedraza. I think his reputation is bonafide. I think if things get tough, he knows what to do.”

The former world titlist finished off his analysis with another questioning of Garcia’s all-around wherewithal.

“I do lean more towards Gervonta, but I do say that Ryan has the tools to win the fight,” Malignaggi asserted. “It’s just a matter of his mindset, which I really can’t really predict because I don’t know enough about him. I don’t think anybody can really know Ryan’s mindset. He’s a boxer today; he’s a fashion model tomorrow; he’s a commercial guy another day; he’s a Youtuber the next day. He’s hanging around like a groupie with the Paul brothers the day after that. So, I don’t know. I do think he’s a good fighter and has potential, so we’ll see.”

The 28-year-old “Tank” Davis disposed of tough super featherweight champ Hector Luis Garcia this past Saturday in front of a sold out Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. The ninth-round corner stoppage victory was hyped as a prelude to an April bout with Ryan Garcia. The reality, however, is that, despite reports of both fighters and their respective teams being in agreement when it comes to the terms of the deal, no contracts have been signed and none of the logistics have been truly finalized.

Widely thought to be one of the biggest money fights to be made in the sport, Davis-Garcia has been brewing for awhile and just late last year pushed as a “for real” proposition.

But, while optimism and excitement spread the word of this proposed bout, reality spotlights the precarious nature of this pairing and the distinct possibility that the verbal deal may fall apart before a binding contract can be signed and before the fighters make their way to the ring.

Outside-the-ring legal issues for Davis and a knack for falling into non-boxing related real world drama threaten to hold up his side of things. A February court date for hit-and-run-related charges could, conceivably, result in prison time. Meanwhile, Garcia’s history of inactivity and of pulling out of fights due to injury and metal health issues puts his ability to make the April fight date in question. He already pulled out of an interim fight on January 21 against Mercito Gesta, claiming that he only wanted to focus on Davis and needed no tune-up.

If Davis and Garcia make it to April with a deal in place, though, the event and its lead-in will be insane.

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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,, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: [email protected]