By Jake Donovan
It doesn’t take more than a quick glance at his résumé to know that Ricardo Nunez is taking a huge leap in competition.
The streaking knockout artist from La Chorrera, Panama enters his first career title fight in what also serves as his United States debut when he challenger unbeaten 130-pound titlist Gervonta Davis. The July 27 mandatory title fight takes place in Davis’ hometown of Baltimore, Md., which only adds to the uphill climb awaiting the visiting challenger.
“I’m very motivated, and I’m taking this fight very personal,” Nunez (21-2, 19KOs) insisted during a recent media conference call to discuss the Showtime-headlining title fight. “I’m fighting Gervonta Davis in his hometown. I want to bring the world title back home to Panama. We’re prepared not just physically but also mentally. We are ready.”
His ring ledger suggests otherwise, as the nine-year pro hasn’t any opposition suggestive of his being ready for a fight of this caliber.
Still, at some point boxers have to step out of their comfort zone and prove—to the critics, and even to themselves—their worth at the top level.
From that perspective, Nunez—who turns 26 the day after the fight—comes in riding a wave of confidence, along with a 10-fight win streak with all but one bout ending inside the distance. His last three starts have lasted a combined seven minutes, including a 28-second drilling of previously unbeaten Elvis Torres last June in Mexico.
The win marked Nunez’s lone previous appearance on the road, coming against an unbeaten southpaw fighting in his home country. Granted, nobody will ever confuse Elvis Torres for Gervonta Davis—but don’t tell that to the first-time title challenger.
“This is for the world championship,” points out Nunez. “There haven’t been any issues in training camp, no excuses. Everything we’ve done in past training camps, we’ve worked on twice as hard for this one.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox