Keyshawn Davis understands that an unusual number of viewers could watch his fight Saturday night because it’ll be the first of four bouts ESPN will televise right after the network’s coverage of the Heisman Trophy presentation concludes.
The business-savvy, talented lightweight wants to make sure he gives curious college football fans reasons to remain tuned in for ESPN’s boxing broadcast from Madison Square Garden. The best way Davis believes he can do that is by becoming the first opponent in Juan Carlos Burgos’ 18-year, 44-fight professional career to knock him out.
Tijuana’s Burgos (35-6-3, 21 KOs) is the most experienced, formidable foe for the 23-year-old Davis (6-0, 5 KOs) thus far, yet the 2021 Olympic silver medalist from Norfolk, Virginia is determined to show he is the man to finally beat Burgos inside the distance.
“Honestly, I feel like people already think the world of me,” Davis told BoxingScene.com. “So, just getting in the ring with him, I don’t think people is gonna look at it like, ‘Oh, this is a statement.’ I feel like how I really make my statement is to stop this guy. He’s never been stopped before and he’s fought a lot of people that can punch, a lot of great fighters in general. I feel like my real statement is going to be stopping him. No one has done it, and he done fought Mikey Garcia, he fought Devin Haney, he fought [Xavier] Martinez.”
Garcia, who owned the WBO junior lightweight title at that time, beat Burgos by wide distances on all three scorecards in their 12-rounder in January 2014 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Haney also comfortably beat Burgos in their 10-rounder in September 2018.
Burgos pushed Martinez more in their 10-round bout, which Martinez also won by unanimous decision in May 2021.
The 34-year-old Burgos’ past five defeats all have come against undefeated opponents (Garcia, Haney, Hector Tanajara, Martinez and Starling Castillo). His only loss against a fighter who wasn’t unbeaten when they fought was a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Hozumi Hasegawa, then the WBC featherweight champion, in November 2010.
“He’s done fought some big punchers, and none of them could stop him,” Davis said. “But I feel like Burgos really hasn’t fought nobody like me before. Out of the all the guys he fought, honestly, if you really pay attention and look at boxing, none of them guys fight like me. You know, Mikey Garcia is way slower than me, but he has power. You know, Devin Haney, he don’t have that much power. Martinez, you know, he’s more flat-footed. He was fighting with Burgos. But with me, I feel like I have more of the whole package than a lot of those fighters that he already fought, and I just wanna go out there and prove it.”
Davis-Burgos, scheduled for eight rounds, will open ESPN’s four-bout broadcast at 9 p.m. ET.
Another eight-rounder between Puerto Rican junior middleweight Xander Zayas (14-0, 10 KOs) and Alexis Salazar (24-4, 9 KOs), of Norwalk, California, is scheduled to follow Davis-Burgos. In ESPN’s 10-round co-feature, hard-hitting heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson (12-0, 12 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, is set to square off against Jerry Forrest (26-5-2, 20 KOs), of Newport News, Virginia.
Former lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs), a Brooklyn native, will face Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) in the 10-round main event, a WBC super lightweight elimination match.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.