Every other week in The Coach’s Box, Timothy Thomas explores the various lessons that can be learned from the world of sports.
If you’re a boxing fan who was anticipating the Gervonta “Tank” Davis versus “King” Ryan Garcia fight, it was a bout worth every second of hype. Even casual fans might have heard enough of this fight’s promotion and drama to purchase it on pay-per-view. Regardless of your level of fandom, though, the Davis/Garcia fight gave us all a good reason to start paying closer attention to the sport of boxing again. Their fight helps us rediscover the metaphoric beauty and struggle of life.
Boxing is the quintessential sport if you’re into dramas filled with storylines and backstories that could give the writers at Marvel a run for their money. Except boxing stories aren’t fictitious. They’re more real than ever. And round by round, punch by punch, the main characters write a new story in real time, and we get to watch their story unfold before our eyes.
Unfortunately, fights often get bogged down by contractual disagreements or excuses. Fighters will publicly call each other out, but fans usually must wait an extended time before the fight actually happens. By that time, the anticipation and intrigue have mostly faded away.
But not this time. To the surprise of fans aware of the ongoing war of words between Davis and Garcia, the fight would happen. “Twitter fingers had, for once, led to an actual fight,” writes Mike Coppinger for ESPN.
In an era where social media continues to garner prestige and status, the amount of “followers” both fighters have (Davis with over 4 million Instagram followers and Garcia with over 9 million) made this a match bringing people from two different worlds together.
Davis hails from Baltimore, Maryland, and came into the fight with 28 wins, 26 of which came by knockout. Garcia boasted an undefeated 23 wins with 19 knockouts.
Davis is a speedy, confident power puncher who is just as bold and unforgiving with his words as his punches. Garcia, also sure of himself, is a finesse fighter from Southern California with the face of a model that could rival any GQ cover.
Davis is unapologetically focused and offensive. Garcia does not shy away from a religiously Christian aesthetic. Garcia entered the ring first to the melodies of “Oceans” by Hillsong. Then, Davis walked out to a live performance of Chief Keef rapping “Love Sosa” with him.
This fight was East Coast versus West Coast, bad boy versus pretty boy, heathen versus Christian (and any other dichotomous battle lines you can think of). For many of us, these are the identity struggles we endure as we’re trying to find ourselves.
When the bell began the first round, neither fighter came out swinging. Instead, the “sweet science” was at work as each boxer felt the other out. In the second round, however, sparks began flying. Garcia threw a flurry of combinations that connected with Davis until Davis ducked one, threw a jackhammer hook that connected with Garcia’s face, and knocked the young southern Californian on his keister.
Garcia would get up immediately as he did in his previous fight, where he was knocked down and finished the round. However, Garcia was much more measured in his approach for the rest of the battle and was visibly more defensive when throwing punches.
During the fight’s promotional tour, Davis predicted he would knock Garcia out in the seventh or eighth round. Davis would not call himself a prophet, but his words were prophetic. Ultimately, Gervonta “Tank” Davis brought the “King” to his knees with a seventh-round body shot technical knockout that Garcia could not recover from. And just like that, boxing solidified a new face to energize hype for the sport.
If we needed a reason to explore boxing (again, maybe), Davis and Garcia just gave us one. No matter who you root for, you can’t help but love these dramas. They’re filled with complicated characters and sides to choose from, all within the dimensions of a square boxing ring. They help us tell the stories of our complicated worlds and the good versus evil dichotomy within ourselves. Boxing is our human story in action, which can resonate with us all. Thanks to Gervonta “Tank” Davis and “King” Ryan Garcia for reminding us of this.