Four years ago, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis were all fledgling lightweights with oversized personalities who were overflowing with talent.
Speed, power, quickness, intelligence, charisma, punching accuracy, courage — you name it, this quartet had it all.
And now they’re in their primes and it’s time for them to be the modern version of the Four Kings. Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran together became known in the 1980s as “The Four Kings,” largely because of their ethereal talent and their willingness to fight anyone, anywhere at any time to prove they were the best.
The same opportunity at legendary status now awaits Garcia, Davis, Haney and Lopez. They are 94-1 with 72 knockouts and they’ve basically put themselves head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
It’s time for them to fight each other.
Garcia did his part on Saturday, dismantling former champion Javier Fortuna by dropping him three times and knocking him out 27 seconds into the sixth round of a fight he controlled for every second.
Fortuna asked for the fight to be at 140, not 135, because he admitted he couldn’t make 135. And he was a pudgy 157 in the ring after rehydrating. He was slower and not as sharp as he’d been in the past.
But it mattered little. Fortuna at his peak would have had no chance against the Garcia who entered the ring at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Haney is the undisputed lightweight champion, while Davis owns a secondary belt. But Garcia called out Davis, who is seventh on the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound list, for his next fight.
It’s a fantastic fight that should be made. Of course, the issues between Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions and the broadcasters DAZN and Showtime will make it a high-wire act to get it done.
But these are great fighters in their primes who both sell out arenas. They want to fight each other.
This is a fight that should be made because it has the potential to be one that is talked about for decades.
Garcia’s hand speed was evident on Saturday, though Fortuna didn’t show him the respect he should have. by coming in good shape. He was slow and pudgy and out of his league.
He was dropped three times, once in the fourth with a wicked left hook to the body that was reminiscent of Micky Ward’s best body punches. He then put Fortuna down with a left to the head in the fifth and stopped him with another left to the head in the sixth.
Fortuna went to a knee and spit out the mouthpiece, a telltale sign of surrender. Referee Jerry Cantu counted to 10 to give Garcia the win.
“I hit hard,” Garcia said. “It doesn’t take a lot for me to hurt someone.”
But Davis is one of the best fighters in the world and certainly would be ready if and when he fought Garcia. Yahoo Sports texted Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions to see if he would be interested in a Garcia-Davis fight, but he failed to respond.
Davis would likely be the favorite in that fight, as he’s levels above anyone Garcia has fought, but the fight would be madness in the ring. Each has a strong and supportive fan base and this is a fight that would sell out whatever arena it was in and would probably surpass 500,000 on pay-per-view.
What else would need to happen to make it a reality?
Garcia did his part by looking spectacular in the ring and then mentioning only Davis’ name afterward. He said he’ll never go back to lightweight because he’s outgrown the division so he challenged Davis to a fight at 140.
Davis stopped Mario Barrios for a secondary 140-pound title on June 26, 2021, so he is plenty familiar with the super lightweight division.
Davis needs Garcia just as much as Garcia needs him. DAZN’s broadcasters repeatedly referred to Garcia as a superstar on Saturday, and though he has superstar potential, he hasn’t hit that level yet.
It will take an upper echelon win over the likes of one of the other modern-day Four Kings to put him there. Defeat Davis next time out and yeah, anyone at that point who doesn’t acknowledge Garcia as a superstar is a hater. But it goes both ways, and the same is true for Davis.
There have been so many great fights in 2022 already and the promise of a slew more exists. Talks are advancing promisingly to put together a bout between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight title.
Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin will meet in September for the undisputed super middleweight title.
And what a way it would be to cap off the year if Davis and Garcia met in a mega-event at 140 pounds.
Who cares if it’s for a sanctioning body belt? Those groups are more of a problem rather than a solution.
It’s the fight, and the fighters that matter.
And it wouldn’t get much better than a super lightweight battle between Garcia and Davis.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Garcia said.
Make it happen without delay.