By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jesus Cuellar hasn’t fought in 16 months and has moved up from featherweight to fight Gervonta Davis at 130 pounds.
Those are among the reasons Davis is consistently listed as an 8-1 favorite over Cuellar in their 12-round fight Saturday night. A confident Cuellar is certain there’s not nearly that much separating him from Davis and can’t wait to prove it when they fight for a vacant version of the WBA’s super featherweight title at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (Showtime).
“He’s a good boxer,” Cuellar told BoxingScene.com through a translator after a press conference Thursday at Barclays Center. “He’s a good fighter, but that’s it. He’s definitely overrated. The only true great fighter in all of boxing is Mayweather. He’s no Mayweather. If people feel he’s Mayweather and if he thinks he’s Mayweather, he’s not.”
The retired Floyd Mayweather’s company promotes Davis, a fast, strong southpaw from Baltimore. Mayweather has avoided making comparisons between them so that he doesn’t put unnecessary pressure on Davis (19-0, 18 KOs).
Davis was just 22 when he stopped Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza (23-1, 12 KOs) to win the IBF super featherweight title in January 2017. He lost that title seventh months later because he couldn’t make weight before his eighth-round knockout of Costa Rica’s Francisco Fonseca (21-1-1, 15 KOs) on August 26 in Las Vegas.
Even a Davis victory Saturday night would require him to beat WBA world 130-pound champion Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) to become fully recognized as that sanctioning organization’s super featherweight champ.
The 31-year-old Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs), also a southpaw, will fight for the first time since Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) beat him by split decision to the win WBA world featherweight title in December 2016 in Los Angeles.
“I kept myself in the gym,” Cuellar said. “I kept myself training here in the United States and back in Argentina. Nothing will be missing come fight night. I kept myself in the gym, so there are no excuses. Come Saturday night, I will become a champion in two different weight classes.”
The Davis-Cuellar contest will open Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The main event will be a 12-round, 144-pound bout that’ll match Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) against Las Vegas’ Jessie Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs). Following Davis-Cuellar, Showtime will air a 12-round WBC interim middleweight championship match between Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.