By Jake Donovan
Gervonta Davis takes it as a compliment that his name remains on the mind and tongue of just about everyone else in the super featherweight division.
The unbeaten southpaw remains a daily target among the division’s best, whereas he prefers to simply focus on the task at hand rather than waste energy on fights that may or may not happen down the road.
For now, that means all of his time and attention focused on Panama’s Ricardo Nuñez (21-2, 19KOs). More so than serving as a mandatory title defense, the July 27 bout is a homecoming for Davis who headlines at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md.’
“This is my mandatory. Every (champion) has mandatories,” Davis (21-0, 20KOs) notes of his upcoming Showtime headliner. “There’s a lot of good fighters out there from 126 to 130 to 135 (pounds). My team is waiting on the right time, and meanwhile we’re just fighting the guys they put in front of me.”
The bout is the second of the year for Davis, following a slow stretch where he had just one fight in nearly 18 months. His lone fight of 2018 was a title-winning effort, knocking out Jesus Cuellar to begin a second tour as a super featherweight titlist after having left his first belt at the scale due to missing weight in an Aug. 2017 knockout of Francisco Fonseca.
His first fight of 2019 was to come versus former three-division titlist Abner Mares. The planned February clash tracked tremendously well at the box-office until Mares withdrew less than two weeks before fight night due to a detached retina.
Davis was left to face former 122-pound titlist Hugo Ruiz, whom moved up to featherweight for a Jan. 19th bout and took the fight on short notice. It proved to be a mismatch, with Davis scoring a 1st round knockout in front of a crowd of more than 8,000.
Now comes his long overdue homecoming, which marks the first time in more than 80 years where a Baltimore-bred boxer defends his title at home. The response has been favorable, as Davis headlines on Showtime for the second straight time while making his 7th overall network appearance.
With a win, the plan is to get him back in the ring for a third fight in 2019. Against whom remains to be seen, although he likely won’t have any shortage of willing takers.
“I’m really like the cash cow in the (130-pound) division,” notes Davis of the other titlists calling his name far more aggressively than each other. “I believe it’s a big risk (for opponents) but it’s a big payday when you fight me.
“So that’s why they’re calling me out. It’s a big risk to fight me but it’s a big reward.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox