Ryan Garcia praised Gervonta Davis as a “great” fighter before promising to teach his rival a “lesson”.
They finally meet on Saturday at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, on an occasion that could prove both fighters’ defining fight.
That the 24-year-old Garcia is recognised as an exciting, heavy-handed and improving talent has contributed much to its appeal, but even with his natural size advantage he is also considered the underdog.
It has long been personal between he and Davis, 28, who as recently as at the start of fight week over social media suggested he and Garcia bet what will represent, for both fighters, their career-high purse.
Garcia regardless spoke about him with greater respect than Davis has ever appeared inclined to towards him, and speaking at his grand arrival on the Vegas strip, said: “Gervonta’s a great fighter. I want to make that clear – he’s a great fighter. But he cannot stop what’s going to happen Saturday night.
“In the blink of an eye it’ll be finished. That’s what going to happen April 22nd. In the blink of an eye – everybody will be shocked. Nobody will have anything to say. No words will be spoken.
“I just hope that he’s not talking about the purse he wears. That’s all I’m worried about. We’re not talking about that purse he wears. We’re talking about the whole fight purse. Let’s bring it on.”
In Garcia’s corner on Saturday will be Joe Goossen, a trainer so respected that in June he will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Unlike Goosen neither fighter has been involved in a fight of this magnitude, and it is his wisdom that Garcia recognises could yet give him an edge.
“I got so much experience right next to me,” said Garcia, who before recruiting Goosen had worked under Eddy Reynoso, recognised for his success with Saúl Álvarez. “Been in the game for so many years. Twenty-plus years, Hall of Fame coach. You could imagine what that brings to the table. I’m just thankful and blessed to have a man like that in my corner.
“This moment is one we’ve been preparing for for a very long time, and we’re ready to conquer it.
“All the hours I’ve put in at the gym, and I’m just so grateful for this moment. I had a mission and a vision to make the fight with Gervonta Davis, to bring the fans what they really wanted to see, and I made it happen, and that’s what I’m happy for more than anything in life right now.
“Staying focused; being ready for this fight. Staying where I’m at right now.”