Plotting the Rise of Gervonta Davis
By Robert Ecksel on January 6, 2020
“He’s shown the fans across the world what kind of drawing power that he has.” (Reuters)
Anyone can be sold anything if the salesman is unrelenting. We’ve seen it many times, in politics, in movies, in music, on TV, yet it somehow doesn’t breed skepticism, which would require a scintilla of critical thinking, so much as lower the acceptable standards even lower than they’ve already sunk.
Floyd Mayweather has been telling us forever that WBA lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (23-0, 22 KOs), the explosive southpaw from Baltimore, Maryland, is a pay-per-view star in the making. His undefeated record and 95 percent knockout ratio would seem to back up that claim, and if Mayweather, the self-professed “Best Ever” to enter the ring says it’s so, who are we to disagree?
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, in a reveal that fell somewhat short of being revealing, told BoxingScene.com what we knew all along; that Davis, following his12th-round stoppage of former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, a man 13 years his senior who fought most of the fight with a torn Achilles tendon, to win the vacant WBA “regular” lightweight title, will headline his first of many pay-per-view cards in his next outing, whether we like it or not or choose to buy in.
“He’s shown the fans across the world what kind of drawing power that he has,” said Ellerbe. “He puts behinds in the seats. The fans tune in because they wanna see excitement, and that’s what he brings to the table.”
The customer is always right, as is Ellerbe in this instance. Davis attracted an announced crowd of 14,129 to State Farm Arena, with a seating capacity upwards of 20,000, when he recently fought Gamboa in Atlanta. His obliteration five months earlier of Ricardo Nunez, who was coming off a first-round knockout of 22-30-3 Eduardo Pacheco, drew a standing room only crowd of 14,686 to Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.
With his talent and drawing power, there has been talk of a possible unification bout with WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko or recently crowned IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. But Davis is “only 25,” as he keeps reminding us, so he can fight them later, assuming Bob Arum and Top Rank, with whom Loma and Teo are aligned, and Al Haymon and PBC, for whom Tank Davis fights, can sporadically put aside their differences for the good of the sport
While waiting for that eventuality, a fight with the always entertaining featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz is being floated, despite the disparity in weight between the two fighters.
“Sure,” said Ellerbe, “why not? [Santa Cruz] wants the fight and we’re gonna see if we can make it happen. I’ll have a discussion with Al and Floyd, and Tank’s team, and we’ll go from there.”
Santa Cruz also happens to be a PBC fighter.