by David P. Greisman
BoxingScene.com: You’ve had several weeks to reflect on your win over Alfonso Lopez on the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” opener. What are your thoughts on your win, and your performance that night?
Davis: “Happy I got the win. Nonetheless, not satisfied with my performance. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself, and that took the fun out of boxing that night for me, which made it that much more difficult to perform at the level that I know I can perform at. I definitely wasn’t satisfied with the performance, but I’m definitely happy we got the win. We pitched a shutout, just not in the way I want to do, not in a fan-pleasing way.”
BoxingScene.com: What happened with that? Some people might not understand that sometimes when a fight is bad, it’s not necessarily the fault of both fighters but can be the fault of just one. Do you think that the way the fight went was because of your opponent, because of you, or because of a clash of styles?
Davis: “I would say it’s a combination of all of the above. A clash of styles. Lopez definitely, in my opinion, didn’t come to fight. Like I said, I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and didn’t go out there and do the things that I know I can do. So it was almost like a cluster-fuck of everything, which just made for a bad mix of boxing. I’m sorry. I apologize to all the fans that tuned in.
“But, you know, it is what it is. I’m much happier to say that I performed bad and got the win than to say I performed bad and got the loss and nobody cares and to hell with me. At least I won and am still in the picture. I moved another step closer in the rankings and I’ll have another opportunity to shine, even if it’s not on TV. If I’m fighting off the radar and underground, if you want to call at that, as long as I’m winning, I look to definitely get my spot back on TV.
“That’s what I feel. I feel I have to earn my way back up to TV based on that performance.”
BoxingScene.com: When you talk about the pressure keeping you from doing what you wanted to do — in what way?
Davis: “I got to say that being in the spotlight is kind of new for me. ESPN did a feature story on me. It was the first fight of the new year. So pressure, in that sense. Of course, some of the top prospects are being matched up today. You got Edwin Rodriguez and Donovan George, so people want to see … what they’re going to get out of me to perform as well that night that I’m fighting. In that sense, that’s what I mean by added pressure.”
BoxingScene.com: There are other guys who go out there and put on intentionally displeasing performances (which wasn’t what happened in your case). You seem to have a much different perspective on that.
Davis: “At the end of the day we’re all in the business of entertainment. You do want to put on a pleasing performance for the fans. They come out. They’re buying tickets. They’re paying their cable networks money. They want to be entertained. That’s what I want to give people, and that’s what I know what I’m very well capable of doing.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t have a willing dance partner. I do a lot better with guys who come to fight. So the first three rounds, it was just like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ The guy is running from me. I got to chase this guy down.
“It definitely wasn’t the Alfonso Lopez that I’d seen in the fight with Kelly Pavlik. In that fight he looked a bit hungrier. There were some spots in the fight where he definitely wanted to win. He was hitting Pavlik with combination punches in bunches. That’s the fight that I was expecting. It’s just not what happened.”
BoxingScene.com: Did you see Lopez’s most recent fight, where he lost to a 3-5 fighter?
Davis: “No. I heard about it, though. Trust me, I was getting phone calls left and right — ‘Can you believe this boy’s back on TV? I can’t believe this guy’s back on TV. How’d he get back on TV?’ ”
BoxingScene.com: We’ve been talking about the past and what you need to do next. But do you know yet what’s next for you?
Davis: “At this point, no I don’t. I haven’t had any opportunities to sit down with my promoter and talk about what’s next, but that’s definitely going to have to be something that we’re going to have to do soon. I don’t want to sit out and get too rusty. I’d like to get back sometime maybe in late April or early May. So it’s something we’ll have to discuss pretty soon.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you back in the gym yet?
Davis: “I am, at least three days a week. I don’t have anything set, so I don’t want to burn myself out while I’m not getting ready for a fight. Right now it’s just running three days a week, in the gym three days a week. I’m basically on cruise control right now.”
BoxingScene.com: What about your career? Where do you think you fit in your division right now?
Davis: “I think I need a good fight, maybe with a fighter who’s made some noise in the division earlier on, maybe somebody who’s on their way out, to really let people know, and I’d have to dominate and definitely come out with a big performance to let people know that I’m a serious threat in the division. I don’t think I’ve quite done that yet, but it’s all about the opportunity.”
BoxingScene.com: Are there any specific names in mind?
Davis: “A Froch or a Glen Johnson, somebody like that, even Kelly Pavlik, somebody who the people look at as a threat. If I go out there and either stop them or even put on a dominant performance, then I think people know, ‘Hey, this guy’s for real.’ ”
BoxingScene.com: You’re really reaching for the high, high levels. I know Johnson and Froch and Pavlik are coming off losses or are on the downside of their careers, but they’re still pretty big names.
Davis: “Well, if I’m going to do anything in this division, I’m going to have to beat guys like that. If I’m going to win the championship and maintain the championship, I have to expect guys like that at that level or better coming at me once I win the title. I’m all for it, man. This is the hurt business. This is what we’re here to do. That’s the only way to look at it.
“I’m at the point now where I can’t be babied anymore. I can’t be fed, as you call them, tomato cans. We’re past that now. I’ve got to fight some live dogs. My idea of a live dog is somebody like a Carl Froch or a Glen Johnson or a Kelly Pavlik or someone of that stature. Those are the people who are going to do things for me to help me elevate my career to the next level.
“It’s going to do wonders for me. I beat a guy like that, either I stop him or have a dominating performance, it’s going to do wonders for my confidence as well.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]