Gervonta Davis vs Hector Garcia Card Preview
Boxing is underway in the year 2023 as we have our first major fight card of the year taking place Saturday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. Gervonta “Tank” Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) will headline the Showtime PPV against WBA Junior Lightweight Champion Hector Luis Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) in a twelve round bout for Davis’s WBA “Regular” Lightweight Title. There are a number of notable names on the pay-per-view card and the undercard that I am excited to see back in the ring. They are not the desired matchups we would like to see them in most, but they all could have big fights on the horizon and I also touch on that in this preview.
The pay-per-view card will open up with a ten round super middleweight affair between Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs) and Demond Nicholson (26-4-1, 22 KOs). Andrade, a two division world champion, is moving up to the 168lb division in search of a career defining matchup. Nicholson is not the marquee opponent Andrade is chasing, but he is certainly game and can not be looked past. This is a good matchup for Andrade to knock off any ring rust he might have built up over his 14 month layoff, as I expect Nicholson to test him a bit in the early rounds.
All in all, I expect Andrade to win a decision and turn his attention towards fellow PBC contemporaries around his weight such as Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs), David Morrell (8-0, 7 KOs) and Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs). As a fan of his those are the type of fights that we have been waiting to come to fruition for way too long, and I hope that he can finally get an opportunity to showcase his skills at the highest of levels in 2023. “Boo Boo” will turn 35 in February, and being a fighter who relies a lot on reflexes and athletic ability I hope he gets a chance to prove himself before he starts to slow down.
The second fight on the pay-per-view is a twelve round welterweight fight. “Speedy” Rashidi Ellis (24-0, 15 KOs) will be opposite of Roiman Villa (25-1, 24 KOs) in an IBF title eliminator. Ellis is the favorite in this matchup due to his victory over Alexis Rocha (21-1, 13 KOs) in 2020, along with world class hand speed and boxing ability. Villa is not to be slept on in this one though, he is a hard hitter and picked up an impressive victory on ShoBox against Janelson Bocachica (17-1-1, 11 KOs) last September. Being an IBF eliminator, the winner of this should be in line to fight whoever comes out on top in the co-main event.
Villa has won nineteen fights in a row, and his confidence is at an all-time high coming into this weekend. If he is able to time up Rashidi and land something big in between his combinations, then we could have a real dog fight on our hands. I anticipate this one being competitive with both guys having moments, but I think Ellis will win a unanimous decision in the end.
Jaron “Boots” Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs), who many believe is one of the future superstars of this next generation of US boxing, will fight for the interim IBF welterweight title in a twelve round fight against Karen Chukhadzhian (21-1, 11 KOs) in the co-main event. He was last in the ring in May when he scored a second round KO over Custio Clayton (19-1-1, 12 KOs), and it was a shame that he wasn’t able to secure another fight in 2022. I don’t blame Boots for that, as you can’t force people to get in the ring with you. I do hope that he is more active in 2023 though, and a perfect plan would include the winner of Ellis vs Villa next and then hopefully a crack at Errol Spence Jr (28-0, 22 KOs) for the unified welterweight title later on this year.
Karen Chukhadzhian is hoping to send shockwaves throughout the world of boxing Saturday night. Though I have no doubt that he is motivated and prepared to the best of his ability, I feel that the discrepancy in talent will be too much for him to overcome. He will certainly come to fight, but I view Jaron Ennis already as one of the most talented fighters in the world and I expect him to get the job done and claim the IBF interim title.
Hector Garcia is the “B-side” in this main event and is the underdog on the betting lines, but he has been in this position before and needs to be given his respect for earning this position. He had a 2022 to remember, rising from relative obscurity to picking up two marquee victories and putting himself in the running for fighter of the year. Last February he got an opportunity on short notice against Chris Colbert (16-1, 6 KOs), and made the most of it. Even though he came into fight night a 15-1 underdog, he dominated Colbert over the twelve round duration and won a wide unanimous decision (119-108, 118-109 x2). He scored a knockdown in round seven and really punished Colbert down the stretch.
He then got his first world title opportunity on August 20th against the reigning champion Roger Gutierrez (26-4-1, 20 KOs). This was another impressive outing for Garcia as he dominated the first half of the fight and held off Gutierrez’s late surge to win yet another convincing decision (117-111 x2, 118-110). As it pertains to his fight this weekend, I think his calculated front foot pressure and combination work can cause problems for Tank in the early rounds. Tank has shown a tendency to give up early rounds to get used to his opponent in a number of recent fights. He throws 34.7 punches per round according to Compubox, which is the lowest number amongst championship level fighters. He uses an economic approach and begins to really get used to the timing of his opponents as the rounds progress and I expect the same thing to happen Saturday night.
Gervonta “Tank” Davis will be headlining his fifth straight Showtime PPV, and this one comes with a potential April super fight with Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) looming. He has been adamant in the build up to this fight that he is not letting what the future may hold distract him from the current task at hand. Davis only fought once in 2022, scoring a sixth round knockout over Rolando Romero (14-1, 12 KOs). The oddsmakers had a tighter line for that fight than his upcoming one, which is something that I completely disagree with. Garcia is moving up in weight, but Tank isn’t a huge lightweight and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hector outweighs him when they step in the ring on fight night.
There has been controversy surrounding this event in recent days, as Davis was arrested on a domestic violence charge on December 30th. The charges were dropped after the female involved in the altercation made a statement retracting her original comments, saying in an Instagram post that “while the emotions were running high I made an unnecessary call to law enforcement in an intense moment while I was frantic. Gervonta did not harm me or our daughter.”
Even with this now behind him, many questions have been raised regarding whether or not this incident will serve as a distraction for Gervonta. It came as his training camp was wrapping up, and I am sure that his routine was at least somewhat affected during and after his arrest. While many believe this is all going to negatively affect Davis and his performance this Saturday night, I am of the opposite belief. I think that he will be able to lock in on the task at hand and avoid all outside distractions by getting the job done and making a major statement. We are never totally sure what is going through a fighter’s head, and we’ll find out Saturday just how much if at all Tank is negatively impacted by everything that has gone on.
The non-PPV portion of the card has some intriguing names and matchups as well. There will be three eight round fights on Showtime’s YouTube page preceding the main card. Brandun Lee (26-0, 22 KOs) will square off against a last second replacement opponent in Diego Gonzalo Luque (21-10-2, 10 KOs). Vito Mielnicki Jr (13-1, 8 KOs) is pitted against Omar Rosales (9-1-1, 5 KOs) and Travon Marshall (6-0, 5 KOs) will be up against Shawn West (7-2-1, 4 KOs).
There are some six and four round contests that peak the interest of hardcore fans on this card as well. Former unified 140lb champion Lamont Peterson (35-5-1, 17 KOs) returns in front of his home town crowd against Michael Ogundo (16-16, 13 KOs) in a six rounder. As does his brother, Anthony Peterson (39-1-1, 25 KOs), who will be opposite Raul Chirino (21-16, 13 KOs). Gervonta Davis said during the initial press conference that made it a point when this location was announced that the Peterson brothers were to be included in the card. It is really cool to see and I am sure they will get a favorable reception when they step into the ring Saturday night.
Keeshawn Williams (10-1-1, 2 KOs) will also be featured in a six round undercard bout versus Gustavo David Vittori (27-11-1, 12 KOs). He responded well with two victories in 2022 after his lone pro defeat at the end of 2021 against Kenneth Sims Jr (19-2-1, 7 KOs). Sims is a proven contender and there is no shame in coming up short against him, and 2023 can potentially provide Williams with another high level opportunity if he continues to stay in the win column.
There are two four rounders that will open up the card. Mayweather Promotions rising star Jalil Hackett (4-0) will face off against Joel Guevara (4-8, 3 KOs). Hackett is only 19 years of age, and the feeling around the sport is that he has a very bright future ahead of him. Mia Ellis (5-1, 4 KOs), the daughter of former pro boxer and now boxing coach Kenny Ellis, is also on this card and she will be squaring off against 31 fight veteran Karen Dulin (5-25-1). Her father is involved in both her camp and the camp of Gervonta Davis, so she has been training alongside Tank as they both prepared for their upcoming fights.
The doors at the Capital One Arena will open at 4:00EST for the non-televised undercard. The YouTube undercard will begin at 6:45 EST on Showtime Sports’ YouTube page, followed by the pay-per-view card which stars at 9:00 EST. The main event between Gervonta Davis and Hector Garcia is estimated to begin shortly after 12:00AM EST.