LAS VEGAS – It’s cute.
That’s Teofimo Lopez’s perspective on Gervonta Davis moving up two divisions to challenge Mario Barrios for his secondary WBA 140-pound championship on Saturday. The undefeated, unified lightweight champion claims he knows the real reason Davis decided to take his next fight at junior welterweight rather than the lightweight division within which he also holds a WBA secondary championship.
“He’s doing it because he doesn’t wanna fight me,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com. “That’s the bottom line. He skipped two divisions just to fight Mario Barrios, who’s not as [good of a fighter]. We can say he’s a C-plus fighter at 140.”
Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), who will defend his four titles against Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs) on August 14th, doesn’t consider Davis’ move from the 130-pound division as dangerous as some might perceive it, either.
“It’s not that big of a risk, but it looks good on the resume, right?,” Lopez said. “The guy’s undefeated, he’s a WBA interim world champion. It looks good. Floyd’s not making no mistakes with this guy. He’s making Gervonta look like a three-time world champion, when he’s a three-time interim world champion. You get what I’m saying? You get the memo? I understand how these guys move, you know? But with social media and everybody, they buy into it because they’re so small-minded they don’t see the bigger picture. But I do.”
Lopez is considered the WBA’s legitimate champion in the lightweight division. Davis owns the WBA world title in the 135-pound division, but it was vacant when he stopped Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) in the 12th round to win it in December 2019.
Davis holds the WBA’s “super” championship in the 130-pound division, too, but he stopped Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar in the third round to win that then-vacant championship in April 2018.
Cuellar (then 28-3, 21 KOs), a former WBA world featherweight champion, lost his 126-pound championship in his previous fight to Abner Mares by 12-round split decision in December 2016. He also moved up from featherweight to junior featherweight to face Davis (24-0, 23 KOs).
When he battles Barrios, however, Davis obviously will be the much smaller fighter in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The strong southpaw stands approximately six inches shorter than Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs), an advantage even the skeptical Lopez concedes.
“He is a lot bigger,” Lopez said. “That’s the only thing I would say. Gervonta is a small guy at 140, but he does hold the power to stay in that division. So, it’s gonna be a tough task regardless, and it’s good to see these guys do what they do. It’s just they’re not stepping up to the actual plate. They’re stepping on third base.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.