Gervonta Davis (16-0, 15 KOs) is now just a day away from his first world title shot against IBF junior lightweight titlist Jose Pedraza (22-0, 12 KOs). Leading into the fight Davis is considered to be a slight underdog, but he doesn’t feel that way himself as he tells ESPN:
"I'm the underdog because he's the world champion, that's the reason," Davis said. "Other than that, I feel deep inside that he's the underdog, but that's just my assessment. He won't be showing me anything I haven't already seen before. I've never been the underdog in a fight, so this is a first for me.”
Davis, a protege under Floyd Mayweather’s banner, believes that most people don’t see all the facets he has to his game. People take his “Tank” moniker and his KO percentage and think he’s just a banger, when he truly believes in his boxing ability as well — saying that he has good footwork, hand speed, and use of angles.
"I think this will be a wake-up call for boxing, a chance to show that I'm the one. But I'm not coming to be just the top guy. I want to be a superstar and bring joy and entertainment to the sport. Pedraza will bring out the best in me, and I will steal the show."
Conversely, Pedraza, 27, believes that Davis is just a knockoff version of Mayweather and the only thing he’ll be leaving the ring with is the first loss on his professional record.
"I'm sorry for Davis to be signed to Mayweather, because when I take away his undefeated record, I'm going to feel like I beat Mayweather... e's a Floyd Mayweather imitation. Just like all imitations, it's not as good as the real one."
Pedraza won the vacant IBF title by beating Andrey Klimov in June 2015 and then had a successful, yet controversial, win over Edner Cherry as his first title defense — a fight I thought Cherry won’t pretty clearly.
Be that as it may, Pedraza will have to be at the top of his game in order to deal with the young and athletic Davis who is being pushed by Mayweather to be the next big star in the sport of boxing. Is he being pushed too fast, too soon? We’ll find out tomorrow on Showtime’s DeGale-Jack undercard.