Gervonta Davis (pitcured), a former 130-pound title holder moving up to 135, met with members of the media last Saturday in Las Vegas to discuss his next contest, booked for Saturday, December 28th on Showtime at the Atlanta's State Farm Arena. Davis will take on former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa for the WBA's regular lightweight title. On the same show, former super middleweight title holder Badou Jack will challenge former world champion Jean Pascal. Also participating in Saturday’s luncheon at Wolfgang Puck at MGM Grand were promoter Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, and Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. Here’s what Davis and executives had to say:
Thoughts about Gamboa and moving up in weight: “We know Gamboa is a veteran and that he’s had a lot of wars, so we know we have a tough fight. He’s definitely dangerous. He can hit. He can fight. His last fight he made 134, so we know he can get bigger than me at that weight. I’m going into this knowing that he’s a bigger fighter than me. I’m just going to bring my power and capitalize on that weight class and becoming world champion.
“I believe I’m one of the top fighters in the world, but I don’t compare myself to other fighters. I just go out and get the job done.
“Atlanta is my second home. I’m confident I’ll sell it out.”
On his ability and uniqueness as a fighter: "I come from a different cloth than these other guys. I’ve been through everything in my life. A lot of people haven’t experienced what I have. If I ever get beat it would have to be by someone who’s been through what I have been through. It can’t be anyone who’s just been training all their life. Every time I step in the ring I’m willing to leave it all in there. A lot of people haven’t seen my full skills because I haven’t fought an opponent that has brought them out.”
On his potential in the sport: “The boxing world hasn’t seen my true potential as a fighter, they’ve just seen my power. I’m the type of boxer where if you don’t belong in there with me, you won’t be in there too long. Some fighters like to take their time. I’m the type, if I know you’re not on my level, I’m going to show it. The world will see. I’ll fight anybody.”
On Davis’ position and progression in the sport: “We’re going to show everyone how he’s going to become the biggest star in the sport. In 2020 we’re going to blow this out of the water. We’ve been able to think outside the box. That’s how you grow the sport. We’ve made a concerted effort to cross him over to the mainstream; working with the Baltimore Ravens, his parade, now Atlanta.
“Our plan is to make the biggest and best fights out there. We’re going to call the shots and it’s going to be on our terms, and we’ll let everyone know when that happens. Everyone wants to fight Tank. There’s one common thing when you talk about 126, 130, 135, and now 140. There’s one name that’s common among the fighters and that’s Tank. This is going to be a great journey and you better get on it now.
“If he can get past Gamboa on December 28th, then in 2020 he’s going into that pay-per-view world. When you have that kind of star power and you’re thinking outside of the box, not just boxing fans, we’re going to make the biggest fights out there in the world.”
“There are advantages and disadvantages to promoting a show on this date. There has been a lot of success promoting music shows on that weekend. It’s not apples to apples, but it’s one of the factors that went in and there’s a way to turn this into something special and unique because of Gervonta’s fan base.
“It’s great to have skilled boxers but we need, for the health of the sport, guys like Gervonta who are putting butts in the seats. That’s the key in bringing him to Atlanta. Boxing is a part of a culture that crosses over into music and sports. There’s not an athlete who doesn’t watch a pay-per-view boxing match. Tapping into that with a personality like Tank is only going to expand the sport. There’s an authenticity and an openness about Gervonta. There’s a lot of people who’ve had setbacks who don’t talk about it, like Tank. It takes a risk to talk about that and that’s why a lot of people can relate. This is Tank. What you see is what you get. It’s very real. It’s very authentic and I think that’s why people connect with him the person as opposed to him the fighter.”