Over the next month the lightweight division is definitely where it’s at. In a period where most of the world’s elite fighters in other weight classes are meticulously avoiding legacy defining fights, the 135 pounders (9st, 9lbs) are setting the standard.
The Ring magazine and current unified champion is American Devin Haney (29-0, 15 KO’s). He defends his titles against Ukraine’s double Olympic champion and two-weight pro world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KO’s), in an elite match on May 20 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas.
First up tonight, also in ‘Sin City’ at the T-Mobile Arena, is the mouthwatering prospect of two of the top five world ranked lightweights meeting head on. The contest held at a ‘catchweight’ 136lbs will pitch Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (28-0, 26 KO’s) against Ryan ‘King Ry’ Garcia (23-0, 19 KO’s). Both have shown mutual contempt throughout the pre-fight build up. Their lengthy verbal barbs on social media and numerous face-offs, peaking in yesterday’s public weigh-in, have added fuel to the fire.
Both, rare in this current era, bring in undefeated records and long term promise for the division. Davis, at 28, already an ‘achiever’ has won world belts in three weight divisions. From the US city of Baltimore, Maryland he is known for his tough upbringing and equally confident demeanour. To add, he’s a vicious puncher and is coming down from campaigning at a heavier 10st (140lbs).
Latino American, Garcia, featured on The Ring cover way back in May 2021 with a crown inked in and at the time was promoted as the youthful future of the division. This was straight after he’d dropped and stopped former Olympic champion and world title contender Luke Campbell to legitimately announce himself. From then, he unfortunately was derailed by mental health issues and is now firmly on the way back. Over a number of months he’s almost goaded Davis into taking the fight. The Baltimore man has duly obliged.
Garcia holds a significant height advantage over the compact Davis, the latter who from his record and standout victories looks to have the greater power.
The fight is available on the DAZN streaming service and via the Sky network in the UK early hours and on Showtime pay-per-view in the USA. It promises much, to the extent that The Ring once christened it ‘A Matchmakers Dream’ and listed it as a ‘must see’ fight in 2022. Albeit a year late, it’s time for both to deliver.
Waiting in the wings is the Haney-Lomachenko victor and also the perceived future of the division, two-weight champion Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10 KO’s). The American, an Olympic silver medallist in the Rio Games, and winner two weeks ago at 135lbs adds further lustre to the division.
Then there’s recent undisputed champion George Kambosos Jr. (20-2, 10 KO’s) who adds an Antipodean mix to the pot. After losing back-to-back fights to Haney he is looking for some further redemption. Up and coming is also another American Olympic medallist from 2020 Keyshawn Davis (8-0, 6 KO’s). A big star in waiting.
In terms of tonight’s routes to victory; if Garcia can use his long levers and keep Davis at range, backed by power shots, frustrating him as the fight progresses, then he can eek out a points decision.
In an ultimate ‘grudge match’ we though expect Davis to dominate on the inside. His superior power and downright toughness should be telling. We predict him to gradually unravel his Latino foe and win by stoppage anywhere from rounds 8 to 10.
It should be great whilst it lasts and as they say “Someone’s O’s gotta’ go’. Garcia is young and hungry enough to come again in future marquee fights and will make the lightweight division all the better for his continued presence. There should really be no losers tonight and enjoy the fireworks in a genuine peak match up.