By Percy Crawford



Philadelphian fighter looks to boxing to deal with adversities!

Philadelphia is known to some people as the city of champions. Having bred fighters like Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Bernard Hopkins and Meldrick Taylor, the moniker only seems appropriate. Although the road wasn’t easy for any of those guys, they survived the notorious Philadelphia gym wars to become great fighters and even better champions. Hell, even Sylvester Stallone didn’t have it easy in his roles as Rocky Balboa; a Philadelphian club fighter. So why should Jamal Davis expect it to be easy when he turned pro almost 4 years ago? He didn’t. In fact, much hasn’t come easy for the 25 year old South Philly product that goes by the nickname “Da Truth.”

Jamal was the typical kid trying to find his way in the world. He was making good grades in school and everything was on course. He moved to West Philadelphia with a cousin when he got into high school and began to hang with the wrong crowd. “I was skipping school, hanging with the knuckleheads staying in trouble all the time.” A fight on the school bus would lead Jamal to being kicked off the bus and sent to live with his uncle in Virginia. While in Virginia, he joined a job core, but was still hanging with the wrong crowds. After a couple of incidents, his aunt sent him back to Philadelphia. Jamal felt his life was at a standstill and really didn’t know which way to turn. His father passed when he was 17. With all the trouble he was finding himself in, he remembered one of the last things his father told him. “My dad told me if I’m going to fight, I should at least get paid for it.” 6 months after his daughter Jabrea was born, Jamal traveled to Pittsburgh to train with Eddie Chambers. After winning a couple of Golden Gloves, Jamal turned pro. “I thought everything was about to be poppin, but it wasn’t.” After losing his pro debut on points, Jamal’s spirits were down. A year later, his fiancé Patrilla gave birth to Jamal Jr., their second child. Jamal then ran off 7 straight victories with 6 coming by the way of knockout. Securing fights began to be a problem for Jamal, but an even bigger problem was brewing outside of the ring. His fiancé was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer.

“It was hard for me because, I was in the gym every day and couldn’t get fights when I could’ve been at home with her and my kids.” While Patrilla was going through chemotherapy and having different types of surgeries performed on her, Jamal was keeping busy in the gym trying to get noticed. He caught the attention of female trainer Sharron Baker. “Me and Sharron just clicked. She’s in the gym everyday with me and I thank her for that.” Brother Naazim Richardson also noticed Jamal and presented him with the opportunity to go work with Shane Mosley for the Vargas rematch and Prince Badi Ajamu for the Roy Jones fight. “I definitely want to thank Brother Naazim for that. I had a blast helping those guys. Brother Naazim is like a father to me.” The positive Jamal draws from the whole situation is that his kids don’t suffer. His daughter goes to chemotherapy with her mom and asks the doctor questions about what’s going on so she can fill him in once they get home. When asked if it’s hard for him to travel with his fiancé being sick, Jamal says, “no, this is what I do. I have to devote a lot of time into boxing and she understands that. The part none of us understands is why I keep getting pulled off of cards.” Having counted at least 10 fights where people have pulled out on him, including Andy Lee, Jamal says he’s still in the gym every day. “I think I get that from Steve Cunningham. He would be a number 1 challenger and his fight would fall through and he’ll be in the gym like nothing ever happened. I respect him a whole lot.”

Jamal has a lot of respect for the fighters coming out of Philadelphia. “I have a lot of respect for Rock Allen, Bear Richardson, Mike Dargan; everyone from Champ’s and Shuler’s gym and Yusaf Mack.Yusaf is kind of going through the same things as I am.” The person he admires most is his trainer, Sharron. “She’s amazing to me. She’s in a man dominated sport and shows up to the gym with me every single day. No matter how either of us is feeling, when we see each other, it’s like an energy pill.” Through all the adversities Jamal has been through, he doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. He just wants an opportunity to fight and be heard. “I feel like I’m the new era Bernard Hopkins and I just need to be heard. I’ve been making DVD’s and sending them out to people just to get the opportunity. I don’t need a handout. Once they see me in that ring, they’ll fall in love with me.” Stuck at a crossroads with only 8 fights in nearly 4 years Jamal Davis is definitely still hungry and has a stern warning for whoever his next opponent may be, “I feel sorry for whoever has to fight me next because I have a lot of frustration to let off.”


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