Gervonta Davis is making his maiden voyage into the pay-per-view market, and boxing fans better get used to it, because it’s the beginning of a new era and platform for the Baltimore boxer.
Fight fans will have to pay to watch Tank’s foray into future wars, according to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
“There is no turning back from PPV after this fight,” Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com in an interview ahead of Davis’ Oct. 31 clash with Leo Santa Cruz on Showtime PPV (9 p.m. ET / $74.99) from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. “I don’t want to get into PPV purchase expectations, but we’re looking to have a big event with two excellent fighters.”
Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) has provided his promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. chief PPV support in 2017 when the Fighter of the Decade made easy work of Conor McGregor in Las Vegas.
Mayweather Jr. fought on PPV 16 times overall in his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career — including his final 15 fights from 2006 to 2017.
“It doesn't always have to be about me,’’ Mayweather recently told USA Today. “It’s good that it’s about [Davis]. And it’s good to show up on the other side, you know? That’s why I’m pushing him, pushing him, pushing that we can find the next Floyd Mayweather. And if anybody got it, this guy got it right here.''
Ellerbe remembered Mayweather Jr.’s PPV debut in 2005 against the late great Arturo Gatti, a one-sided beating and stoppage.
“Floyd and Gervonta are two different animals from two different eras. At that particular time, we had to do everything and push and fight for Gatti to get into the ring, may he rest in peace. We all knew what was going to happen when we got in the ring, and the rest is history,” said Ellerbe.
“It was a raucous crowd. It was us against everybody. It was one of Floyd’s most spectacular performances in his entire career. He set the tone that PPV was his home, and he never looked back.”
Davis is looking to follow the same script.
He’s been the main event draw in markets like Los Angeles, Atlanta and his hometown of Baltimore, but his two-step into Texas against Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) will be with only limited fans in attendance due to the pandemic.
With a solid showing, Ellerbe believes fans will be coming back for more — and pay whatever the asking price may be.
“You don’t do it with one performance,” said Ellerbe. “Leo pushed for this fight. He called for it, not Tank … Consistency is key, over a period of time. They’ll either love you or hate you, because you might be fighting their favorite guy.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.