Even as he rises to stardom, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and his team insist that the sport has yet to see him at his absolute best.
The insistence is that the right opponent has yet to bring that out of him, a dynamic which figures to come into play in his next fight. The unbeaten WBA junior lightweight champ will move up two weight divisions, where he meets secondary WBA junior welterweight titlist Mario Barrios (26-0, 17KOs). The bout takes place June 26, live on Showtime Pay-Per-View from State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Davis will give away more than four inches in height to the 5’10” Barrios, along with three inches in reach while facing an opponent who has campaigned at 140 pounds for more than four years.
As to whether those intangibles will factor into Davis being involved in the toughest fight of his career—that’s why they’re fought in the ring and not on paper.
“We just got to wait and see,” Davis stated. “It comes with different opponents. Different opponents bring out a different side of me. I don’t know what he has. We just have to wait and see what he has to bring to the table come fight night and then we will capitalize off of that.”
Both boxers were able to scout each other in their last outing, scoring separate 6th round knockout wins on the same Showtime PPV event last October at Alamodome in San Antonio. Davis (24-0, 23KOs) flattened Leo Santa Cruz with a monster left uppercut to regain his title while also retaining a secondary version of the WBA lightweight title. Barrios enjoyed a hometown showcase for his first successful defense in a stoppage win over Houston’s Ryan Karl.
Barrios has stopped nine of his last 10 opponents, while Baltimore’s Davis—who also has a home and a rabid fan base in Atlanta—has scored 15 straight knockouts. The last eight have come in title fights, beginning with a 7th round knockout of then-unbeaten IBF junior lightweight titlist Jose Pedraza to win his first major title.
Whether or not Davis will be required to offer his full arsenal remains to be seen. All he can guarantee is to give his fans their full money’s worth.
“Like all the rest of my fights, it’s going to be action packed fight,” Davis promises. “Don’t go get no popcorn because at any moment it could be over. This is going to be exciting. That’s what boxing needs is something exciting. Y’all know my fights are always action. It’s never a calm fight. I’m always ready to break my opponent. That’s why I’m a person that, for 12 rounds... well, they don’t [last]12, but I just keep coming in all my fights.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox