NEW YORK – Gervonta Davis rolled his eyes and mocked Rolando Romero at times during their press conference Thursday at a Marriott near the Brooklyn Bridge.
The unbeaten WBA world lightweight champion also disagreed with moderator Brian Custer when the Showtime announcer asked Davis about Romero’s awkward style. The rugged Romero fights in an unconventional manner, but Davis thinks the term “awkward” is reserved for more capable boxers than Romero, his opponent Saturday night at nearby Barclays Center.
“I don’t think he’s awkward,” Davis said. “I just think that he’s a fighter that just started fighting. You know how when somebody first come in the gym and like … when somebody first come in the gym and they like, they been coming for like a little minute, so they think they nice now? They ain’t get all the like everything down [pat], but that’s how he fight.
“I don’t think he’s like an awkward fighter. Awkward is someone – I don’t wanna call no names, but awkward is like different from him. He’s not awkward. We know awkward fighters. Real fighters know awkward fighters. He’s not a awkward fighter. He’s just a dumb-ass fighter.”
Davis’ dismissive assessment drew laughter from the crowd, but the powerful southpaw insisted he wasn’t trying to be funny. The Baltimore native just doesn’t think much of Romero (14-0, 12 KOs), a former judo champion from North Las Vegas who took up boxing at the late age of 17, less than 10 years ago.
The 27-year-old Davis, who started boxing at the age of 7, has displayed skills and strength on his way to amassing a 26-0 record, including 24 knockouts. Romero dismissed Davis’ abilities once Davis criticized his style.
“All Tank does is the same basic-ass pad work as everybody else,” Romero said, “and they all end up getting knocked the f--- out eventually, when they run into a puncher. Just like his big bro, Broner, with Maidana, when he beat the sh!t out of [Broner]. It’s gonna be Broner-Maidana II.”
Romero referred to a then-undefeated Adrien Broner’s 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Marcos Maidana in December 2013. Broner got up from two knockdowns that night, once apiece in the second and eighth rounds, but he lost to the hard-hitting Maidana by scores of 117-109, 116-109 and 115-110 in a main event Showtime televised from Alamodome in San Antonio.
Davis quickly reminded Romero that he isn’t as good as Argentina’s Maidana.
“You don’t got the skills of Maidana,” Davis said. “You don’t even got them skills.”
A demonstrative Romero disagreed with Davis yet again.
“Man, I punch harder than him,” Romero said, “and I got way more skills than you.”
Most handicappers have installed Davis as at least a 10-1 favorite in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. Their 12-round fight for Davis’ secondary WBA 135-pound championship will headline a four-bout show that’ll start at 9 p.m. ET and costs $74.99.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.