Looming over the top table at Thursday’s final press conference for Saturday’s fight between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia were posters promoting the exciting main event.
Whether intentional or otherwise, there is little question that they portray, in Garcia, the archetypal boy next-door and that the menacing Davis appears every inch the villain.
Such is the disproportionate value invested from the most egotistical and insecure of cultures in being the so-called “A-side”, however, that anyone looking at said poster for the first time could easily be misled.
To feature A-side’s Davis towards its left has meant the photo being reversed, and therefore one of the world’s leading southpaws being given the appearance of fighting with an orthodox stance. Towards the right similar applies to Garcia – a fighter portraying not only a southpaw stance, but, equally puzzlingly (surely there were other photos?) pictured with his eyes closed. Whether so little care was taken because he was only the “B-side” remains unclear.
For all that it is Davis being given the bigger billing, it became increasingly apparent as they spoke that those around him have developed a siege mentality not unlike that often seen around Floyd Mayweather. Both Leonard Ellerbe and Davis’ trainer Calvin Ford appeared to take offence to Oscar De La Hoya, in his role as Garcia’s promoter, suggesting that they were guilty of an error of judgement in demanding a catchweight of 136lbs.
Sat to De La Hoya’s left, regardless, was Garcia looking drawn and licking his lips in an attempt to avoid enduring a dry mouth. His baby face has been transformed since Tuesday’s grand arrivals as he attempts to make the catchweight he has agreed to, and if it was already tempting to wonder how much he was struggling, his increasing irritability made that more tempting still.
When he and Davis faced off, on stage, at the press conference’s conclusion, it was Garcia who accused the more comfortable-looking Davis of appearing dehydrated. Garcia, once stood up, looked even less healthy once he was no longer behind a table, and potentially guilty of projecting on to Davis the struggle he is enduring.
All along his experienced trainer Joe Goossen consistently remained the most composed and quietly confident figure of all – even given Davis wore a hat that read “I Heart Sex”. If he listened to what was being said during the press conference he remained unaffected, and when his fighter was being interviewed after the same press conference he had so little interest in what was being said he instead scrolled through his phone. Incidentally Garcia, often promoted as a Mexican fighter in an attempt to attract a wider audience, needed the questions asked in Spanish to be translated before he would speak.