- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2023

Gervonta Davis’ arrest for a domestic violence incident wasn’t directly referenced during the boxer’s press conference Thursday to preview this weekend’s fight against Hector Luis Garcia at Capital One Arena. But sitting at a dais, trainer Calvin Ford acknowledged the obvious.

“It’s been a rocky camp,” he said. 

The woman who called the police to report Davis — charged with a misdemeanor after police said the Baltimore native used a “closed hand slap” to strike the woman — recanted her story last week, writing in an Instagram post that the boxer never harmed her or their daughter. 

But the arrest marked the latest legal trouble for Davis, one of boxing’s biggest rising stars who is set to stand trial next month for his alleged involvement in a November 2020 hit-and-run. Davis’ repeated run-ins with the law — he had another domestic violence-related arrest in 2020, only to see the case discharged — linger over the lightweight’s bout with Garcia

Between the three days that Davis was arrested and the woman recanted, there were serious questions about whether the bout would go on as planned.

Davis (27-0, 25 knockouts), though, said he wasn’t worried. 

“I wanted to clear my name,” Davis said. “That’s it. That’s it.” 

In a now-deleted Instagram post, the lightweight denied the allegations with an all-caps post that emphasized “I NEVER PUT MY HANDS ON MY CHILD MOTHER NOR MY [expletive] DAUGHTER ARE YOU [expletive] CRAZY!!” He wrote that he wasn’t a monster, adding he had been quiet for “too long.” 

As a boxer, Davis has developed into one of the sport’s leading attractions. A three-division titleholder, the 28-year-old’s eye-popping power has drawn sizable crowds and promoters again for a near-sellout for Saturday’s card. Davis’ scrap with Garcia marks his fourth straight bout in headlining a pay-per-view event, typically reserved for the sports’ main fighters. 

Davis has an even bigger fight on the horizon scheduled. In April, he’s tentatively set to meet rival Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) in a scrap that the sport’s die-hard fans have been clamoring for, for years.

But to get there, Hector Luis Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) stands in Davis’ way. On Thursday, Davis urged fans to skip concessions and pay attention to the action in the ring once Saturday’s main event starts. He boasted that he didn’t want fans to miss a fight that could end in a blink. 

Yet, Garcia is more than an average tune-up. Named a candidate for Fighter of the Year in 2022, the 31-year-old is coming off the biggest wins of his career by beating Roger Gutierrez to capture a belt at 130 pounds and upsetting prospect Chris Colbert. 

Garcia, in theory, poses a risk to take everything away that Davis has earned. But then again, so might Davis

“I just tell him to ride the wave,” Ford said. “Just be yourself. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If it’s not, it’s not. You can’t do anything. … The only thing that you can do is take that negative and turn it into a positive.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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