Perhaps true to form, Ryan Garcia attended the public workouts for the undercard fighters hosted at the MGM Grand, and Gervonta Davis, despite suggestions that he would, did not.
In many respects, in his absence – word was Davis was simply elsewhere in the MGM – he was in good company. The promising David Morrell Jr also did not attend because – as Davis is almost certain to do if he has not done so already – he supposedly had missed his flight.
While Garcia risked repeating much of what he said at Tuesday’s grand arrivals, in doing so he gave a potentially interesting insight into his frame of mind. By again speaking of his faith and in so doing reminding his audience of his sense of spirituality, it became tempting to conclude that much of his confidence in defeating Davis is tied, simply, to his confidence in his understanding of his faith.
It was while Bektemir Melikuziev spoke, via an interpreter, to the crowd present about his rematch with Gabriel Rosado that Showtime officials prepared for the arrival of a previously unannounced guest. Showtime’s host Ray Flores concentrated on filling airtime until, to that crowd’s excitement, the photogenic Garcia swept down the stairs, followed by his obligatory entourage, and into the makeshift ring.
While speaking with a sense of confidence, even more than a fighter he looked like a teen idol promoting his latest, and presumably ghastly, hit. He appeared both relaxed and comfortable until his sudden exit, having ensured he remains relevant – not that he needs to attempt to – as the biggest night of his life nears.
Perhaps fittingly, there are also frequent suggestions about the extent to which Saturday’s fight has crossed over into the celebrity community. None other than Mike Tyson has confirmed that he will be attending, and word is that Mark Wahlberg and Mario Lopez could be among those sat nearby. It has also been said that many of the musicians recently performing at Coachella in California are expected, as are numerous inactive NFL players – at a time when the contacts books of PBC’s Al Haymon, once so influential a promoter in music, and Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza, a veteran of the red carpet, can also be expected to be in use.
That Saturday’s fight is not competing with the NFL season, nor the NCAA’s March Madness – of college basketball – has no doubt contributed to its potential to attract a wider and higher-profile crowd.
The perhaps inevitable conclusion is that much of that still owes to Floyd Mayweather. Even beyond being so destructive a fighter, and the fact that, perversely, the notoriety he has gained from a succession of unsavoury incidents outside of boxing has enhanced his profile and in many respects appeal, Davis’ long-term association with Mayweather is the biggest reason he has such a following.
Years after he was last in a worthwhile fight, and despite having split with Davis in 2022, Mayweather, whose similarly questionable conduct outside of his career also did little to harm his popularity, continues to shape the very highest level of his sport.