LOS ANGELES – Floyd Mayweather claimed that the media’s general dislike of him has had a negative impact on how his promotional company’s top boxer has been portrayed throughout his ascent to stardom.
The retired legend didn’t provide proof to validate his contention or specifically mention any media members he feels have slighted Gervonta Davis. Mayweather instead spoke in generalities related to Davis’ absence on most pound-for-pound lists, despite that the undefeated knockout artist officially has won world titles in three weight classes.
Mayweather’s meandering diatribe occurred while he was interviewed by a group of reporters following a press conference Thursday to promote the Davis-Isaac Cruz lightweight title fight Sunday night at Staples Center.
“It’s so crazy that I’m so proud of ‘Tank’ as a fighter,” Mayweather said while seated in a ballroom at JW Marriott LA Live. “I love him. I love his team. I want the best for him. But it’s so crazy how y’all media always sh!t on him, talk bad about him. And it’s so bad that they do this just because of me, because of me. And that’s, and I honestly feel like that’s f------ up, just that they do this to this kid. He go out there, he fight, he win, he do it in impressive fashion.”
The 27-year-old Davis, a Baltimore native, has boxing’s second-highest knockout ratio among active world champions, second only to IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs). Davis has knocked out 96 percent of his pro opponents (25-0, 24 KOs).
The powerful southpaw also has developed into a pay-per-view “A” side and the most consistent gate attraction among active American boxers. His ability to knock out opponents, often abruptly and viciously, has helped him build a developing fan base among professional athletes, entertainers and mainstream sports fans that don’t necessarily watch boxing regularly.
Davis and Mayweather have drawn criticism, however, because Davis has not yet fought any of his lightweight contemporaries – namely Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney or Teofimo Lopez – and because Davis has won only secondary WBA championships in the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions. Mayweather and his company’s CEO, Leonard Ellerbe, also drew the ire of hardcore boxing fans when they made it known publicly that they had no intention of matching Davis versus Vasiliy Lomachenko, before Lopez upset Lomachenko in October 2020.
Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com on Thursday that they’re willing to make fights with Davis’ lightweight rivals, but not if they have to overpay for an opponent that clearly cannot account for as much revenue as Davis can produce.
Mayweather, meanwhile, reiterated his thoughts on how Davis has been overlooked later in the aforementioned interview.
“You got guys like Oscar [De La Hoya], and I’m gonna always set an example,” Mayweather said. “You say, ‘Well, Floyd, um, you trash-talk a lot.’ Or, ‘You was cocky.’ You’re supposed to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who the f--- gonna believe in you? And I went out there day in and day out and proved that I was the best. And it’s f----ed up that they don’t got Tank as one of the top guys, pound-for-pound.
“Now, you look, and then they, you guys rate, they can rate Canelo up there. And I just feel like Canelo is one of the guys. He’s one of the top guys up there, but he’s not the only guy. It’s not cool. Even though [Errol] Spence went through what he went through, and [Terence] Crawford and Spence haven’t fought one another doesn’t mean these guys should be rated up there. Every time they went out there, they done what they had to do. It’s so many young fighters that’s up and coming that we don’t talk about.”
Davis is not ranked among the top 10 boxers, pound-for-pound, by BoxingScene.com, ESPN.com or The Ring magazine.
BoxingScene.com placed Davis in its “Five For The Future” category in its most recent rankings. He also garnered the highest number of votes among boxers that didn’t crack ESPN.com’s most recent list.
CBSSports.com lists Davis at number 10, however, in its newest pound-for-pound rankings.
Caesars Sportsbook lists Davis as a 15-1 favorite to beat Mexico City’s Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Davis’ WBA world lightweight title. Their 12-round bout will headline Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT; $74.99).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.