Bob Arum envisions Gervonta Davis becoming “a really good fighter.”
The 89-year-old promoter just doesn’t think Davis belongs in the 140-pound division. Baltimore’s Davis will make his debut at the junior welterweight limit June 26, when he’ll battle WBA world super lightweight champion Mario Barrios at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) is consistently listed as a 4-1 favorite to beat Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs), but Arum doesn’t think the powerful southpaw is capable of defeating the WBA’s true champion in the 140-pound division.
“I think he’s too small at 140, if you wanna know what I think,” Arum told a group of reporters recently. “I don’t think Taylor would have any trouble with him.”
Arum referred to Josh Taylor, the Scottish southpaw who became boxing’s undisputed junior welterweight champion last month. Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) owns the IBF, WBA “super,” WBC and WBO belts after defeating previously unbeaten Jose Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round full title unification match May 22 in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Taylor has beaten former champions Ramirez, Regis Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs), Ivan Baranchyk (20-2, 13 KOs) and Viktor Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) during his run toward becoming the undisputed champion in his division. Ramirez, Prograis and Baranchyk were unbeaten before they lost to Taylor, who is regularly rated among the top 10 boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
The 26-year-old Davis is one of boxing’s most devastating punchers. He has won world titles in the 130-pound and 135-pound divisions and viciously knocked out four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) in the sixth round of his most recent fight, which took place October 31 at Alamodome in San Antonio.
Davis will move up two weight classes – from 130 pounds to 140 – to face San Antonio’s Barrios in the main event of a Showtime Pay-Per-View event a week from Saturday night ($74.99). Although Arum doesn’t think Davis can consistently thrive in the 140-pound division, he has been impressed by what he has seen from Floyd Mayweather’s top fighter in the junior lightweight and lightweight divisions.
“I think that Gervonta Davis,” Arum said, “again, has a shot to be a really good fighter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.