Paulie's Picks: Masterful Gervonta Davis made one-dimensional Ryan Garcia quit

During the course of his defeat by Gervonta “Tank” DavisRyan Garcia was exposed as one-dimensional.

I’d been back and forth about who I was expecting to win. When I was talking on ProBox TV I picked Davis, but by the time the fight was upon us I was again backing Garcia. 

Garcia just didn’t fight with enough deception. We know he has a big left hook, but if you compare him with Tank – Tank showed a lot of levels, and with it deception. Tank was changing pace, and varying the nature of his attacks. Garcia wasn’t, so by the time Tank was timing Garcia, Garcia was struggling with Tank’s variety. 

He threw almost everything with power, and without throwing other punches to set that power up. He didn’t feint, and he didn’t change his approach. His sort of firepower needs to be complemented by subtlety to beat the best fighters in the world; the difference in quality between the two fighters became clearer and clearer as the fight progressed. 

Garcia started with confidence – ignorance can be bliss. But that confidence visibly eroded as the fight progressed. The fact he didn’t feint or show any changes of speed or subtlety makes me question his boxing IQ. 

Those are the types of things that a fighter can develop with good sparring, because it can force them to figure those things out, so it also makes me question the quality of his sparring, and his desire to spar – particularly given it was an athletic southpaw he had been preparing for. 

Ultimately, after that body shot went in in the second round, I think he quit. As the fight progressed Tank’s timing improved, and he moved closer to Garcia – he’d established an increased presence in front of him, and was starting to land better, more powerful punches and from closer range, all without sacrificing his level of deception.

Garcia was struggling to hit Tank despite Tank being in front of him, and he was also getting hit more in return. The body shot wasn’t hard enough to end the fight. You could see he was hurt, and hurt enough to take a knee, but when he was down there, Ryan knew that the second half of the fight was going to be even more difficult than the first. Garcia was out of answers to the questions he was being asked; Tank was still answering every question and might well have had others in reserve. 

This could even be a consequence of making stars of fighters via social media. When a fighter’s comfortable financially they’re less likely to dig down in those situations, and have less of a passion to learn about the subtleties of their craft. Both can come back to haunt a fighter in a fight.

The catchweight of 136lbs and rehydration clause shouldn’t be overlooked, but when Garcia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya spoke to ProBox TV last week he said that not only was Garcia making weight well, but that he would stay at lightweight for a while – which someone struggling to make weight wouldn’t do. The 10lbs the rehydration clause stipulated he was allowed to gain is, for a lightweight, quite a big allowance. 

I saw more layers to Tank than I ever had before – and he’d already shown plenty. His boxing IQ and the levels he brings to his aggressive style – it really is something to watch. When the best lightweights – master boxers in Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney and Vasyl Lomachenko – are compared to Tank, Tank’s regarded as a pretty good boxer and really good puncher. Tank clearly has the ability to punch, but against an opponent capable of lasting into the second half of the fight while asking questions of him, you get to see how intelligent a fighter he is. He was very, very impressive.

He’s one of the best fighters in the world. To my mind, Stevenson’s the best lightweight in the world, but Tank – like Haney and Lomachenko – also belongs in that conversation, and a performance like his against Garcia should make anyone at least reconsider his claims to that same title.