Gervonta Davis steps up to 140lbs this weekend when he takes on fellow unbeaten American Mario Barrios in Atlanta.
“Tank” continues his assault on the pound-for-pound rankings when he challenges the 26-0 man for the secondary version of the super-lightweight title.
Undisputed title holder Josh Taylor has something to say about Davis fighting for a secondary belt in the same weight class, and ‘The Tartan Tornado’ has a valid point. We’ll avoid being dragged into the never-ending debate surrounding versions of titles and the forever changing landscape of boxing politics, and instead focus on the fight itself.
In facing Barrios, Davis is taking on a very live opponent, even if Betfred do make the Baltimore man an odds-on 8/13 to win inside the distance.
Former world title challenger Ashley Theopane has seen Davis up close during his time inside Floyd Mayweather’s gym, and is backing the 26-year-old to continue his knockout run.
“He’s been doing great things,” claimed Theopane. “I think he’ll win this fight by KO, but I’d like to see him go back down to lightweight and fight the other champs.”
Undefeated Davis has won 23 of his 24 bouts by way of stoppage, with German Meraz the only man to hear the final bell when they fought in a six-round bout back in 2014.
Since then, he has recorded knockout wins against elite opposition such as Jose Pedraza, Francisco Fonseca and Yuriorkis Gamboa, as well as a third-round demolition of Britain’s Liam Walsh at the Copper Box Arena back in 2017.
That win over Pedraza saw Davis win his first world title at super featherweight, to then step up and wrestle the WBA lightweight belt from Gamboa three years and six fights later.
His standout victory to date came in his last outing, when boxing royalty Leo Santa Cruz was knocked out cold with one of the most vicious punches you are likely to see. That PPV debut stoppage of the four-weight world champion Mexican saw Davis emphatically claim his lightweight strap, and in doing so became a two-weight world champion himself.
Would a win over Barrios see him win world titles in three divisions? Boxing purists would argue otherwise, with the general hope being that he will prove himself at super lightweight before dropping back down to settle the score in a thriving 140 lbs class.
“The division is just so good,” Theopane continued. “You’ve got Teo (Teofimo Lopez), Devin (Haney), Ryan (Garcia) and Gervonta.
“It’s so good. I’d like these guys to get it on. There are some great fights to be made.”
It’s an opinion that is shared by former lightweight king Anthony Crolla.
Speaking on the Betfred Boxing Show, ‘Million Dollar’ agreed that he would like to see Davis back at lightweight, while also warning against underestimating a potentially dangerous opponent in Barrios.
“It’s a really good fight. There’s some people in boxing who think he could have his hands full, but he’s an amazing talent and an even more amazing puncher.
“You hear from people in the game that he hits so hard. He’s tiny, but he’s a little ball of power.
“If he comes through Barrios, which isn’t straightforward, I’d like to see him back down at lightweight.
“He’s being classed as one of the ‘Four Kings’ and we want to see some of those fights take place.”
The Sportsman had Davis down as one of our five boxers to look out for in 2021, and if he manages to win this weekend then head back down to lightweight for a super fight, we’ll have been justified and then some in doing so.
This is Davis’ second outing as a pay-per-view headliner and, in a climate where Mayweather himself is winding down by accepting exhibition bouts, could the Maryland southpaw be on the brink of becoming the main PPV star across the pond?
With three of his last five fights ending inside three rounds, it’s going to be brutally entertaining finding out.