By Francisco Salazar
Donovan George loves to fight.
Whether on a club show or a big fight card, George has demonstrated his passion through the sport by taking on all comers and giving it his all.
His style and mindset reflect brawler, fighter, and warrior. It is a style that gets fight fans eager to watch him again on television or in person.
While the joys of fighting have given George many victories, especially by knockout, and some defeats, he is not about to change what he does in the ring.
"I love to fight."
George will fight Dyah Ali Davis in a scheduled 12 round bout tonight at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill. Both fighters will be vying for the IBO super middleweight title.
In his last bout on April 18, George stopped Troy Lowry in the sixth round. The bout stopped a two-bout winless streak for George, which included a stoppage defeat to Caleb Traux and a disappointing 10 round split decision loss to David Lopez.
George sited in previous interviews that attempting to make 160 pounds drained him and fox his reason to move up to 168 pounds.
While fighting for a championship belt is worthwhile and exciting for any fighter, tonight has some underlining tones for George. The fight will be held at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. He fondly remembers the days as a youth watching baseball games with his family and to fight not only in his hometown. To headline a fight card there for George is surreal.
"It's an incredible feeling," George told BoxingScene.com over the phone on Tuesday evening. "I remember watching games from the nosebleed seats because that's all my family could've afford. To be fighting in my hometown in front of my family and hometown fans, it couldn't be any bigger."
He faces Dyah Ali Davis, the son of Howard Davis, who won a gold medal at the 1976 Olympic Games. While George has faced the better opposition, both have fallen short in their attempt to win a big fight or a world title.
It is a classic crossroads fight where a victory moves them in legit contender status at 168 pounds, while a loss moves them to gatekeeper status.
George acknowledges that the fight against Davis will not be easy. Despite the benefits of being the harder puncher, fighting the better opposition, and fighting in his hometown, George is not taking Davis lightly or for granted.
"I've watched a lot of his fights," said George, who has been fighting as a pro for almost 10 years. "He's a very skilled boxer with natural ability. We're polar opposites. He's a slick and smooth boxer while I like to turn fights into wars from the opening bell. I'm going to do my best to take the fight to him and mix it up and work the body."
While the take-no-prisoners mentally has mostly worked for George, gaining fans and notoriety, his mindset changed ever so slightly last year. He married his longtime girlfriend Aleksandra. They're expecting twins in a few months.
Like most men, George has devoted his passion of boxing to now provide for his family. He has acknowledged that there is pressure of providing for three additional mouths to feed rather than just himself.
However, he is not thinking about himself as he used to. But he does not want to let up on what has made him successful in the ring. He is positive he can appease both.
"I used to not care about anything. Now I'm dieting. I had the mentality of fighting to the death. Now I go in the ring physically and mentally prepared. I embrace being that fighter, where I keep coming and I'm a bloody mess. I want the fans to get their money's worth when they come to the fights."
"But now I think of the future. I have mouths to feed. I'm going to become a father along with being a husband. I'm not that selfish person anymore. Everything in my life now has given me that extra motivation."
Who knows how long George could provide those tremendous wars. George has that reputation, which has allowed diehard boxing fans to appreciate him for what he is and to look forward to his fights.
While winning a world title and the significant paydays are a goal of his, he is eager to go through anything to get there.
His current financial status has toughened him mentally where future wins could provide with that path towards those goals. For a likable guy like George, it is likely fans and boxing people want the best for him.
"I'm broke. I'm sick of being poor. I don't want a '9 to 5' job. I love to box and take care for my family. Winning a world title will allow me to provide for my family."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing