Jamaal Davis challenges Patrick Majewski this weekend in what was originally scheduled to be a NABF middleweight title fight, until the WBC stripped Majewski. In any event it's still a good, relevant fight.
Jamaal "Da Truth" Davis, like many Philadelphia fighters before him, is a better fighter than his record indicates. He learned his craft on the job and took a lot of hard fights against tough opponents in the process. Consequently his record stands at a modest 14-8-1. By numbers alone putting Davis in the ring with a 20-1 fighter (Patrick Majewski) is a mismatch.
But what's behind those numbers?
Davis has fought the likes of a 12-0 Peter Quillin, a 9-0 Donald Orr, Ossie Duran, Joel Julio, and Gabriel Rosado. Majewski, on the other hand, has fought the likes of an 8-0 Latif Mundy, Marcus Upshaw, Jose Miguel Torres (his only defeat), an ancient Antwun Echols, and Chris Fitzpatrick.
Their top opposition hardly compares.
Nonetheless, Majewski remains the clear favorite going into his showdown with Davis because his best opponents usually lose, although not always without controversy.
But today I'm here to focus on the career of a fighter more commonly known as "Tyson" out of the James Shuler Memorial Gym.
After losing 3 consecutive bouts between 2007 and 2008, Davis dropped from middleweight to junior middleweight. By his own admission he said the move was made due to his size, or more specifically his height.
When asked why he decided to move back up for Majewski, a 6 foot, strong middleweight, Jamaal kept it real: he wanted to stay busy. This is not to say that Patrick Majewski a "stay busy" caliber opponent. If Davis pulls off the upset it will be the biggest win of his career. However, ultimately the fight is happening because Davis got tired of waiting around for a worthwhile junior middleweight fight to present itself.
Thus, for the time being, Davis will campaign in 2 weight classes. Coincidentally fellow Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado had the same idea going into his fight with Gennady Golovkin.
Fortunately for Davis, Majewski is not on Golovkin's level, no disrespect to Patrick. That much is simply obvious. However, what isn't obvious is if Davis is on Rosado's level. So while we're on the subject, let's take a look back at their "All Philly War" in 2011.
In the first few rounds when Davis utilized his jab and forced Rosado to find him, they boxed on fairly even terms. A case could be made that Davis deserved both the 1st and the 2nd rounds. However, as Davis got away from his jab in subsequent rounds, Rosado found increased success with his right hand over Jamaal's low left. Jamaal seemed to have trouble pulling the trigger, especially when they tied up on the inside. It seemed Jamaal was looking for a clean fight while Gabriel was willing to do whatever it took to win.
Davis had his moments from rounds 3-6, but just didn't let his hands go enough. Fortunately Davis snapped out of it by the 7th and boxed well in the following round as well. A case could easily be made that the fight was even through 8 rounds.
And then there was round 9. After Rosado dropped Davis with a left hook low blow, Jamaal's game plan went out the window. Davis went to war, giving Rosado exactly the kind of fight that he wanted. By the 10th round the physicality of the fight began to take its toll on Davis. Rosado increasingly found a home for the right hand as Davis fatigued. Eventually Rosado would truly stun Davis in the 12th round, courtesy of a right uppercut. Rosado then unleashed upon his helpless opponent until the referee stepped in.
It was a good fight and a good learning experience for Davis. As he'll once again be giving up a height and power advantage when he steps in the ring with Majewski, he knows how important it is to stick to the game plan and fight his fight.
Since then I've witnessed Davis defeat Eberto Medina and Doel Carrasquillo, broadcasted via GFL.TV and NBC Sports respectively. Patrick Majewski is an upgrade in opposition, but Davis should be prepared and motivated for the task.
Majewski-Davis will headline a 6 bout Bally's, Atlantic City card on Saturday night, Feb. 23. The winner becomes a legitimate player in the middleweight division. The co-main of the evening will feature Chuck Mussachio against Lionell Thompson, amateur standouts that have fallen on some hard luck as pros.
Mussachio is a full-time guidance counselor and, consequently, has become a part time fighter in recent years. He also works as a bartender once or twice a week.
A little over a year ago, in a valiant effort to take the USBA cruiserweight title from Garrett Wilson, Mussachio was stopped in the 12th round after leading on two of the three scorecards. Following that defeat he decided to move back down to light heavyweight, where he meets Lionell Thompson this weekend.
Thompson, once the #2 rated light heavyweight amateur in the US, finds himself in a must win situation after losing his last 2 bouts. If Thompson can't get by Mussachio, his 12-0 pro career start will have gone to waste.
The 3rd signature bout of the evening, Todd Unthank-May vs Hamid Abdul-Mateen, was cancelled after Unthank-May injured his shoulder sparring on Monday. He's scheduled to get an MRI to see if he'll need surgery. When I caught up with Todd last week he was looking forward to the fight.
Remaining undercard bouts are all 4 rounders: Tommy Garcia vs Joshua Reyes, Anthony Prescott vs Saud Clark, Alex Sanchez vs Greg Jackson, and Elvis Rodriguez vs Anthony Burgin.
The full event will be streamed live on GFL.TV starting at 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, Feb. 23. I will be ringside and have full coverage for Bad Left Hook the following day.