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Anger flares as Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia move up weight for big fight

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Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia had to be physically separated when they came together at Friday afternoon’s weigh-in ahead of their eagerly anticipated fight.

Garcia (28-0, 26 KOs), who emerged in a black tank top before stripping to yellow shorts on a clear 84F afternoon, was on the scales first and came in at 135½lbs, a half-pound below the contracted catch-weight. of 136lbs.

Davis (23-0, 19 KOs), who entered wearing a black T-shirt and black shorts, tipped the scales at 135lbs before a crowd of several thousand spectators at Toshiba Plaza, the public square outside the 20,000-seat arena, Where Saturday was the day, there will be a tough fight between two of America’s most popular boxers

They later came together to take center stage for Stardown, where the long-standing animosity between the pair reached a boiling point. After jawing and bickering at each other for 45 seconds, Davis punched Garcia in his chest and Garcia pushed back, before the men were pulled backwards to their respective sides of the stage.

Garcia said Davis was spurred on stage by Bernard Hopkins, the former middleweight champion turned partner with Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes the 24-year-old Southern California native.

“To be honest, I really don’t know (what happened),” Garcia said. “I think he and Bernard started getting into it, then it got kind of crazy. But I was focused, I’m staying focused and I’m ready to do my job.

Davis did not elaborate on the exchange, but took a swipe at Hopkins before exiting the stage.

“He (was) talking about how, ‘about that life,’” Davis said. “Nobody’s worried about their old ass. He needs to sit down and let the youngsters do it.

The weight issue was always the biggest sticking point in the already laborious negotiations to make Saturday’s blockbuster fight: a rare showdown between two undefeated stars in their prime represented by warring companies and broadcasters.

Davis, who weighs in at four and a half inches in height, has held world titles at 126lbs, 130lbs and 135lbs, but has fought only once at 140lbs, where Garcia’s two most recent bouts have taken place.

His compromise for Saturday was a catch-weight of 136lbs, a pound over the lightweight division limit. The contract also includes a same-day weigh-in for Saturday at 10am with a rehydration clause, which states that no fighter has gained more than 10lbs since stepping on the scales on Friday afternoon , lest they have to pay a heavy financial penalty.

The clause will likely prevent Garcia’s advantage as a naturally big, strong man from eating and rehydrating freely, as he typically does on Friday afternoons.

But while the back-and-forth over weight stipulations has dominated the discourse in the run-up to fight night, Garcia said Friday that he was focused on only one thing.

“I feel good now. I had breakfast in the morning so I feel fresh.” My focus is now on Gervonta Davis. I’m ready to destroy it. That’s it.”