By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Calvin Ford wasn’t trying to be hyperbolic.
The Baltimore-based trainer has been around Gervonta Davis since the emerging champion was 7 years old. Ford, perhaps more than anyone, understands what’s inside Davis and fully expects a fighter he has treated like a son to blossom into one of the biggest boxing stars of this era.
He just hasn’t seen an opponent bring out the true greatness Ford believes Davis eventually will show the world. Once that happens in a career-defining fight, Ford feels Davis will be recognized as one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
“Like I told everybody, nobody haven’t seen the best of Tank,” Ford told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve watched the opponents, what they bring to him, because I know there’s certain buttons that haven’t been pushed, that I know that’s in him. And I’m waiting for somebody to bring that out.”
The obvious opponent many people suspect would bring that out of Davis is Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs). The three-division champion from Ukraine has moved up to lightweight, one division above Davis (20-0, 19 KOs), who’ll defend his WBA “super” world super featherweight championship against Hugo Ruiz (39-4, 33 KOs) on Saturday night in Carson, California.
Boxing fans have wanted to see Lomachenko-Davis since Davis demolished Jose Pedraza to win the IBF super featherweight title in January 2017. Floyd Mayweather Jr., Davis’ promoter, stated in the immediate aftermath of Davis’ seventh-round, technical-knockout victory over Pedraza that Davis and Lomachenko would remain on opposite paths.
Davis insists that he still would welcome a lightweight title fight against Lomachenko, who out-boxed Pedraza to win a 12-round unanimous decision December 8 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“Everybody’s talking about Lomachenko, everybody’s talking about this guy, everybody’s talking about that guy,” Ford said. “They’re not talking about Tank yet. Some people who know him already, from the amateurs, and who’ve seen how he works, behind the scenes they say, ‘Yo, he’s different.’ And that’s what we’re trying to show the world. We’re trying to get the world to start talking like they talk about the Mikes, the ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonards, the Marvin Haglers, all them. We’re trying to see if we can bring them days back.”
Davis, 24, will fight for the first time in 9½ months when he meets Mexico’s Ruiz in their 12-round, 130-pound title fight. He was supposed to box three-division champion Abner Mares, but Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) withdrew from their bout last week because he suffered a detached retina in his right eye during a sparring session two weeks ago.
Showtime will televise Davis-Ruiz as the main event of a tripleheader Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park, the venue known until recently as StubHub Center.
The telecast, which will start at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, also will include a 10-round lightweight bout between Las Vegas’ Sharif Bogere (32-1, 20 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs, 2 NC). San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (22-0, 14 KOs) and Mexico’s Richard Zamora (19-2, 12 KOs) also are set to square off in a 10-round junior welterweight fight following the Fortuna-Bogere bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.