Gone are the days when Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson would create hysteria that would transcend the sport of boxing. In today’s age, boxing is fighting a losing battle against the UFC, with many analysts and fans who follow both combat sports acknowledging that boxing’s inability to fight the best is causing long-term chronic damage to the global popularity of one of the world’s oldest sports. The “face of boxing” is a subjective and rather unusual saying, but in its simplest form, it means which fighter is the most current, active, recognizable name.
Previous Faces Of Boxing
Throughout the last 25 years, many names have had a rightful claim to this title, including Roy Jones Jr, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, and more recently, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio. Many believe that Mexican legend Canelo Alvarez took this role following Mayweather’s retirement and Pacquaio’s slowdown. Some believe he still has this position, which we will examine today.
Tank Vs. Garcia Fight
There’s no disputing that Tank Davis brings in significant numbers. His last bout vs Ryan Garcia raked in a staggering 1.2 million PPV buys and had the whole sporting world tuning in. As with any big event, the betting numbers were huge, too, and while it didn’t reach Super Bowl levels, there was colossal interest.
Betting superstitions are plenty, but the now-infamous Drake curse was catching on throughout 2022 and early 2023. The Grammy-award-winning Canadian rapper regularly posts his colossal cryptocurrency bets on his social media channels. For a long time, his curse meant that whoever he bet on lost. Gervonta Davis was the first big sporting name to break this curse when he knocked out Ryan Garcia, netting Drake a cool $1.2 million in Bitcoin for his troubles. This is one of many crypto betting interesting and fun facts, as more bettors take to crypto platforms to place bets on the sport.
The truth is that Tank sells out stadiums and often brings in significant interest in the gambling market. The Garcia fight generated more due to Garcia’s immense social media following.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for boxing fans is that the market is clearly there, as this bout showed. However, due to a combination of promoter and fighter ego, the big fights aren’t being made, or if they are, they’re happening years too late, like Pacquiao and Mayweather, which occurred about six years later than they should have.
The Canelo Argument
This is a tricky question, as many believe Saul Alvarez is still the face of the sport. Given that he has sold out 70,000-seat stadiums and is the only boxer in the Forbes highest-earning athletes of 2023, you could make a strong case that he deserves this moniker more than Tank. Canelo has also defeated more world champions, has brand deals with some of the world’s biggest companies, and essentially grinds Mexico to a halt whenever he fights. In addition, Canelo has also beaten a higher number of world champions and won more championship belts in more weight divisions.
What Could Cement Tank As The Face Of Boxing?
Nobody disputes how skillful Tank is; he is part of a potential new Fab Four who could generate excitement in boxing again. Alongside Tank, there’s Olympic silver-medallist Shakur Stevenson Teofimo Lopez, who has two wins against former undisputed champions, and Devin Haney, who is the reigning king at 135 pounds, currently looking to dominate 140, as he moves up to fight Regis Prograis.
Only one of these fighters has a loss on their professional record, and many believe that Tank is the best of them all. If he chalked up wins against all three, there’d be no denying that he is the face of the sport. However, with the current state of boxing and the herculean effort to make the right weight and get decent, non-undisputed title fights over the line, boxing fans aren’t optimistic that any of these fights will materialize at the right time.
There’s no trophy or belt for the face of boxing, and you could take to social media and say Tank isn’t the face of boxing and be met with a set of passionate boxing fans arguing either with or against your point. However, by any conceivable measurement, Canelo is the face of boxing. He has more longevity, wins against champions, has sold out stadiums, and is the highest earner in the sport – and he has been for a few years.
Ultimately, Tank must test himself against truly elite opposition like Shakur, Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, or other top names around the 135 division. Even a slowly fading Vasyl Lomachenko would be the best name he’s faced. The most frustrating part of this whole story is that Tank could beat them all. Many fans and experts believe it is between him and Shakur Stevenson. His skills are elite, but without these fights, there’s no legacy, and there’s no significant, actual argument for the Baltimore man as the true face of the sport, not yet anyway.