Davis out to prove he is a genuine talent

Paul Zanon
16/05/2017 7:20pm

Paul Zanon listens carefully and hears what Gervonta Davis has to say as the super feather champ speaks to the UK press ahead of Saturday's IBF title defence against Liam Walsh...

There’s a current crop of American fighters who you could classify as special. Very special in fact. Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr.

They have power, speed and serious knockout capacity in abundance, not to mention entertainment value.

The latest worthy addition to that list is Gervonta Davis.

Davis possesses a record of 17 wins, with 16 stoppages. One would expect the man behind a record of such explosive stature to snarl, be aggressive and perhaps even trash talk when outside a boxing ring; but one would be grossly mistaken.

On the evidence of today's press conference ahead of his clash on Saturday night against Liam Walsh, the 22-year-old southpaw sensation from Baltimore is one of the most mild mannered, softly spoken boxers to burst on the scene in a very long time.

So quiet in fact, that any journalist further than three feet away from 'Tank' soon picked up on the fact that their dictaphones would not be able to pick up his whispering tones and had to resort to capturing the best of his quotes the old-fashioned way - with a trusty pen and paper!

The Maryland powerhouse, who started boxing at the age of seven and first competed aged eight, attributes his success in life and as a person to the square ring.

“It was either the gym, or jail...for good," he reflected. "Now, I’m motivating the youth coming behind me.”

Davis' rough personal journey has been well documented and, as a relative junior in the game of life, he’s already advocating to the youth in some of the toughest urban neighbourhoods around. The more his success escalates, the more he becomes a template and example to others that there is a life beyond crime and its immediate environment.

Floyd Mayweather is involved in Davis' career in what seems to be a number of capacities, but the youngster has done a great job on his own merits to show that he is not living in Floyd’s shadow and that he has his own plan ahead.

“I’m not Floyd," he emphasised. "I have to live up to my dream. Real champions adapt to anything and that’s what I’m doing and will continue to do.”

With the inside track into Floyd’s training recent habits, it would have been rude not to enquire whether the man with an impeccable 49-0 unblemished record might perhaps be considering one more fight.

“Floyd’s been more hands on than usual in training,” Davis commented. Without giving a definitive answer, he didn’t deny that Floyd was in training for a fight with UFC champion, Conor McGregor. Widely seen among the boxing fraternity as a total mismatch, Mayweather vs McGregor remains a fight that many would only begrudgingly purchase if it is made.

Back to Davis though, and it's clear he is a very noteworthy fighter, in a weight division which is filled with an abundance of talent. Top of the super-feather leaderboard right now though is undoubtedly Ukrainian sensation Vasyl Lomachenko.

When asked about the incredibly gifted former double Olympic gold medallist, Davis replied, “He’s pretty good.” A response instantly greeted by laughter around the room.

One journalist quickly interjected: “Are you ready for someone like Lomachenko?”

“I was born ready,” Davis replied.

With the focus back on Saturday, Cromer’s very own Liam Walsh intends to upset the apple cart. Davis is a tall order, but Walsh is also unbeaten, has been involved in ten title fights and has amassed a number of belts, including the British and Commonwealth straps. He also has incredible self belief.

Can Walsh win though? If the mortgage depended on it, I’d put my money Stateside. As Davis himself said: “I’m not overlooking Liam Walsh, but I’m on another level.”