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Gervonta Davis vs Abner Mares: Opening Press Conference

Gervonta Davis and Abner Mares formally announce their Feb. 9 fight on Showtime.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

As WBA junior lightweight champion Gervonta Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) prepares to defend his title against Abner Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) on February 9 at California’s StubHub Center, the two fighters held an official press conference to formally announce their bout.

After hearing the typical promoter spiel, Mares, 33, took to the podium to talk about his thoughts on the match-up, where he’ll be fighting at 130lbs for the first time in his career.

“All this back-and-forth on social media with Gervonta and myself, you know, it did start on social media. And one day I thought to myself, I said ‘You know what, this is a good fight. This is a challenge for me. I can beat this guy.’ I made the phone call [to Al Haymon]. I said ‘Hey Al, can I get the fight against Gervonta Davis?’ He says ‘wait a minute, who?’ I’m like ‘Gervonta Davis.’ [He said] ‘At super featherweight?!’ I’m like ‘Yes.’

“He’s like ‘Abner, hold on. We got Gary Russell. We got the winner against Warrington and Frampton. We got a possible Leo [Santa Cruz] fight.’ All big fights. A lot of people are saying ‘oh, Abner’s stepping up, moving up because it’s a big payday.’ Nah. I probably get paid the same if not more where I’m at.

“What I’m trying to say is that, I’m not taking this fight because of income or because I need it. I’m taking this fight because of the challenge it brings to me. And I’m all about that. People might say ‘he’s coming off a loss.’ I’m coming off a great fight with Leo Santa Cruz, close fight. You know, when you fight like that the people win...

“I’m a winner, that’s what I do. I come and fight, come and prove people wrong, I come and perform. Not too many people do that nowadays, especially here in boxing...I’m in a good place, I’m in a good team, I know what I’m capable of doing, I’m a good fighter. Don’t sleep on me. Believe me. And if he is, he’s in for a surprise February 9th.”

Davis, 24, would step up to the microphone next and offered these thoughts to the media...

“When I first heard that Abner wanted to fight me, you know, uh, coming off a long layoff, you know, I was thinking like I’m fighting another person that’s coming up in weight, you know, what do that have to offer me? But I believe that Abner, he’s a future Hall of Famer if you ask me. You know, he fought many guys, many top guys, on the top level. You know, this my first time being main event in the U.S., you know, so it’s pretty big for me.

“I’m just blessed to be here. You know, 2019 I wanna make a big statement, not only in the ring but just letting the boxing world know I am the next star. I’m aiming for PPV by 2020 if everything go right. You know, I got three fights lined up for next year, we’re not looking past Abner. Since I got out the plane I went straight to the gym. I went to Ten Goose Boxing Gym and got some work in with some guys there...We’re not taking Abner lightly.

“Coming from a strong background from me and my coach, you know, we came from a lot but our future is bright. Everybody that I came up with in the boxing gym either dead or in jail so I am the last [of a] dying breed. February 9th, I hope it be sold out. I’m confident it be sold out because we’re bringing a lot of people...”

Both fighters then took a seat on stage to field some media questions, starting with one reporter asking for Davis’ thoughts on Abner Mares taking it upon himself to pursue this fight, perhaps against some better judgement.

“I believe that Al [Haymon] told him, you know, this not a good idea so, a hard head make a soft ass,” Davis replied.

Mares was then asked if he thinks that a win over Davis makes him a potential first ballot Hall of Famer:

“I mean definitely because this is a fight where a lot of people are doubting me, like the gentleman that just asked that dumb question. I mean, yeah, this is just a fight where I’m gonna prove people wrong and, you know, shut the doubters.”

Mares then acknowledged that he’ll probably have to change his style up a little in order to compete at this weight.

“I have to change it. I mean, I leave that to my coach and one thing that is know for me is, yeah, I’m a warrior, I’m a type of fighter that goes forward and throws a lot of punches but I’m also a boxer, you know. We boxed Jesus Cuellar, we box the bully, you know what I’m saying? Like I got a lot in my game, I could change it up, and you know, that’s one thing that I’ll leave up to the coach as far as the training plan, but it’s definitely changing.”

Catch the full press conference video above!

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