Ryan Garcia will not take a stay-busy fight in January and instead focus his training on a planned showdown with Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Garcia revealed his plans Friday in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I had time to think about if I really wanted to do this,” says Garcia. “Tank has always wanted to do things that are going to make him as comfortable as he could be and as ready as he could be going into a fight. I didn’t need to tune up and I don’t need to tune up. I want to put on the biggest fights for the fans. So I’ve decided that I’m done f—— around. I’m ready to go right after Tank.”
Garcia, 24, one of boxing’s biggest young stars, had been closing in on a deal to face Mercito Gesta, a two-time title challenger. While Gesta, 35, was not considered a serious threat—he has fought just once since late 2019 and has just one win in his last three fights—he did present an opponent with similar attributes (5’7”, southpaw) as Davis and would allow Garcia, who stopped Javier Fortuna in July, to stay active. Davis will be in action on Jan. 7, when he takes on 130-pound titleholder Hector Luis Garcia.
“I’m just used to [long layoffs] at this point,” says Garcia. “A lot of my fights have come off layoffs. [Luke] Campbell, that came after about a year off. As long as I’m staying in the gym right now, I’m good. I already feel in amazing shape. So I pretty much am now just focused on preparing my body and my mind as best as I can for that fight with Tank.”
Garcia (23-0) says he feels sharp after two fights in 2022. He ended a 15-month layoff in April, winning a wide decision over Emmanuel Tagoe. He knocked Fortuna down three times before the referee waved the fight off in the sixth round. He feels comfortable with southpaws, having faced two (Campbell and Fortuna) in his last three fights. While Gesta would likely have been an easy seven-figure payday, Garcia says he prefers to keep all his focus on Davis
“It’s not about the money for me,” says Garcia. “It’s not about having easy fights. This is the best thing for me. For my mindset, going into a huge fight, I don’t want to be worried about Mercito Gesta real quick. I know they say it’s easy, whatever, but I want to really focus on the fight that matters to me and that’s Tank.”