The promotion for the “superfight” between Jervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia kicked off in earnest last week with several press conferences in New York and Los Angeles. And this is a superfight, despite the fact that no one has yet had a truly career-defining victory. It is a testament to their interesting styles and marketability. But these press conferences lacked the feeling of that real big fight, something García himself noted. The 24-year-old highlighted how the promotion was “in a hurry” to deal with Davies’ “personal issues”.
He’s referring to the four counts to which Davis recently pleaded guilty and the sentencing he will face on May 5 because the judge presiding over the case rejected the deal.
A vague reference to Garcia was the only mention of this dark cloud hanging over Davis during two moderated news conferences. The assembled media weren’t allowed to ask about it, and you can bet everyone at the top table was told not to directly mention it either.
This is a continuation of a disturbing trend of covers being seen all too often in boxing. Keeper Writer Brian Armen Graham wrote an excellent article on this issue last weekend, highlighting how boxing’s power structures allow fighters who operate as private contractors to behave shamefully and even break the law with little or no impact on their careers. :
As Graham points out, this is because effective discipline must come from promoters and broadcasters. Sports commissions and governing bodies can impose penalties, but there’s nothing stopping a fighter or their team from simply going elsewhere. Just look at what’s going on with Connor Benn.
Referring to networks, Graham writes: “They are a publicly traded company accountable to their shareholders. They want to be responsible, but they also want to stay in business.” When a fighter attracts audiences and generates revenue like Davis has, there’s no incentive for networks and promoters to give them up. Financially, it wouldn’t make sense.
It should be noted that this is not just a boxing issue. The UFC, the global MMA promotion, also has a knack for looking the other way when a popular fighter breaks the rules, or indeed the law. Jon Jones has recently been welcomed back to the top of the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings despite a storied history of domestic violence and run-ins with the law. Conor McGregor remains the UFC’s biggest star even after his many transgressions outside the Octagon. The UFC is a business and giving up assets like Jones and McGregor would be very bad for business.
So instead of focusing on the very real prospect that Davis would face jail time, we in the boxing media, and indeed the fans as well, focused on the rehydration clause that Davis and his team required Garcia to adhere to. There will be a check-in on the day of the fight, and Garcia cannot weigh more than 146 pounds, which is 10 pounds over the official weigh-in limit the day before.
Much of the criticism of Davis centers around the fact that he is already the more proven fighter and the betting favorite going into the contest, then the argument that he unfairly hinders Garcia’s ability to perform at his best on fight night. This sentiment has been downplayed by people like Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, who work with Garcia.
Davis himself didn’t have much to say in support of the clause, except that he would be a “fool” not to include it in the contracts, which only confirms that he was exploiting his position as an “A-side” fighter. He’s not the first and won’t be the last, though that makes it all the more frustrating.
After some worrying reports that a monster heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk was looking increasingly unlikely, it now appears that the two sides have come to an agreement. At least that’s what they told the WBA.
As is the trend in boxing these days, Fury made some demands on Usyk on social media, stating that the Ukrainian should agree to a 70/30 purse split in Fury’s favor. Usyk handled it quite brilliantly. In a video response on his own social channels, Usyk agreed to a 70/30 split on the condition that Fury donates £1m of his own purse to Ukraine to help fight Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Usik’s commitment to his country in these desperately trying times has never been in doubt, but his response was yet another reminder of how much he wants to help, and for others to do the same.
The main thing is that now there seems to be some kind of agreement. How ironclad that deal is at present remains to be seen. they were ultimately just buying time with the WBA, but if the proposed April 29 date sticks, time is not what they have.
Hosted by former super-middleweight champion and journalist Declan Taylor, George Groves Boxing Club has been a welcome addition to the podcast space since it launched in August last year. In the latest episode, the pair spoke to British Boxing Control Board general secretary Robert Smith, who said the Board could change its anti-doping regulations in light of the Conor Benn situation.
Benn and his team have made their feelings clear about the way the matter has been handled by both the Board and the anti-doping agencies Vada and UKAD. He admitted that once the Ben case is resolved, they may “tweak” their current policy.
He wouldn’t elaborate, but it’s a positive sentiment. His main point was that when there is a positive test result, something needs to be done.
Boxing on the box
Jean Pascal-Michael Eifert
Coverage begins at 12 p.m
Cyrus Pattinson-Chris Jenkins
Coverage begins at 7 p.m
Gilberto Ramirez-Gabriel Rosado
Coverage begins at 2 p.m