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Coming of Age

When will we learn just how good Gervonta Davis is?

By John Zemel   - @intuboxing

 

 If there’s one thing most boxing fans can agree on about Gervonta Davis, one of the most controversial prospects in recent memory, it’s that he’s special. His combination of size, power, and physicality make him a matchup nightmare for any opponent. The man they call “Tank” has been an absolute wrecking ball throughout his young career and has the record and accolades to prove it. However, in the wake of his upcoming opponent dropping out after a lengthy period of inactivity, fight fans the world over are starting to wonder- just how special is he? Even more so, how much longer until we can find out?

Davis grew up in Baltimore, MD, where he started training at just five years old. It was evident from the start that he was a blue chip prospect, and he accrued many medals and achievements en route to an impressive amateur record of 206-15. When he turned pro, he hit the ground running, knocking out his first eight opponents, all but one in the first or second round. With every step up in opposition, he proved that he was as good as advertised. Against Filipino prospect Recky Dulay on the undercard of his mentor and promoter Floyd Mayweather’s bout with Andre Berto, the Filipino with the 8-1 record was finished in just 94 seconds. Against unbeaten IBF junior lightweight titleholder José Pedraza,  the 22-year-old Davis was able to wrestle that belt away in only seven rounds in emphatic fashion. He was climbing the ranks to boxing superstardom before our very eyes.

Recently, however, Davis’ ascension has been stagnant. Firstly, there was the incident on the undercard of the Mayweather-McGregor fight where he missed weight and was stripped of his belt. Secondly, there’s the inactivity. Leading up to this Saturday’s fight, he has fought only three rounds in the last eighteen months. Fans were starting to wonder, where in the world is Gervonta Davis? He was involved in legal troubles as well as public disputes with his promotional team. It was beginning to look like the young Davis’ career was ending before it even had a chance to begin. Things finally looked up in November of last year, when it was announced that he would be fighting former three-weight world champion Abner Mares this year. Although Tank was widely expected to win, it appeared that we would finally have a chance to see him against elite competition. That all changed this past week, when it was revealed that Abner Mares suffered a second detached retina, needing surgery and potentially ending his illustrious career. Hugo Ruiz was found as a last minute replacement to save the card, but once again boxing fans are stuck wondering when we’ll get a chance to see Davis truly tested and find out exactly what he’s capable of achieving. There is the potential matchup against pound for pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko on the horizon, but Gervonta is more than likely too young and underdeveloped to take on such a lofty trial. So the question remains, as we watch Gervonta “Tank” Davis walk through yet another unworthy challenger this weekend, how much longer until we can find out just how transcendent of a talent he is?