By Keith Idec
If Gervonta Davis isn’t required to make a mandatory title defense next, he could face a former champion in search of one last shot.
BoxingScene.com has learned through multiple sources that Yuriorkis Gamboa is being seriously considered as Davis’ next opponent. Whomever he faces, Davis is expected to return to the ring July 27 in a fight Showtime will televise from Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Davis’ hometown.
The powerful southpaw has been calling for another fight in Baltimore since he became a 130-pound world champion by stopping Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza in January 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 24-year-old Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) has a growing fan base, but he hasn’t boxed in Baltimore since his fourth professional fight. He stopped Rafael Casias in the second round of that July 2013 bout on the campus of Coppin State University.
In Davis’ last fight, he knocked out Mexico’s Hugo Ruiz (39-5, 33 KOs) in the first round February 9 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Ruiz replaced Abner Mares on 10 days’ notice once a doctor determined Mares suffered a detached retina in his right eye during a sparring session late in January.
Davis could use a credible opponent for his next fight, even if fans in Baltimore likely will fill the 15,000-seat Royal Farms Arena for Davis’ homecoming, no matter who he fights.
The Cuban-born Gamboa (29-2, 17 KOs) is past his prime, but the former featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight champion has won three straight fights since Robinson Castellanos surprisingly stopped him after seven rounds in their May 2017 bout in Las Vegas. Gamboa, 37, beat Mexico’s Miguel Beltran Jr. (33-7, 22 KOs) by unanimous decision in his last fight – a 10-rounder November 10 in Miami.
If Gamboa prices himself out of a potential shot at Davis, it’s also possible Davis could make a mandatory defense of his WBA “super” 130-pound championship against Ricardo Nunez.
Panama’s Nunez was scheduled to encounter Edner Cherry in a fight Showtime was to televise March 2 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Bahamas’ Cherry (37-7-2, 19 KOs) withdrew from that bout because he reportedly lost consciousness during a training session and was taken to a hospital.
Nunez (20-2, 18 KOs) is scheduled to box Colombia’s Didier Castillo (5-0-1, 4 KOs) on April 30 in Panama City. If Nunez, the WBA’s No. 2-ranked contender for Davis’ title, is declared his mandatory challenger, Davis could attempt to satisfy his mandatory obligation rather than boxing Gamboa on July 27.
Gamboa is not ranked in the WBA’s top 15, a requirement for a title shot. He is, however, a former WBA 130-pound champion and wouldn’t necessarily need to win another bout before boxing Davis to appear in the WBA’s rankings in that division.
Andrew Cancio owns the WBA’s “world” super featherweight title and could be a future foe for Davis. The Blythe, California, native isn’t an option for Davis’ next fight because he likely is headed toward an immediate rematch with Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado (21-1, 17 KOs), whom Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) upset by fourth-round knockout to win that title February 9 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.