Saturday night’s Showtime (9:00 pm ET) main event between Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Yuriorkis Gamboa has a lot of ingredients, and depending on how it all mixes up, could wind up an ugly mismatch or an explosive good time.
Davis (22-0, 21 KO) is the huge favorite. A 25-year-old star on the rise, he’s a southpaw with skills and electric power who has bowled over everyone he’s fought to date. He — and most pundits — will certainly expect that to continue against the 38-year-old Gamboa (30-2, 18 KO), once an elite-level talent at featherweight whose pro career has been a minor disappointment thanks to a series of poor business decisions more than anything.
This fight has been months in the making, even before their last outings, when the two both gloved up on Showtime for a card in Davis’ hometown of Baltimore on July 27. Gamboa ripped faded Rocky Martinez out in two rounds, while Davis did the same to mandatory junior lightweight title challenger Ricardo Nunez in the main event.
Gamboa has said that he didn’t even bother to watch Davis’ fight that night, but “Tank” isn’t buying it.
“I’m pretty sure Gamboa watched my last fight. He’s just saying he didn’t to be cocky,” Davis said. “I know he at least watched it heading into this fight. We’ll see Saturday night. He’s been a little cocky, so I have to make him pay.”
Gamboa says he’s not cocky, simply confident.
“My job isn’t to pay attention to any trash talk,” the Cuban said. “My only focus is to go in there at 150 percent and give it my all. I don’t care about any of the chatter outside of the ring. The confidence that I have comes from my focus and the hard work that I’ve put into this camp.”
Davis has stopped everyone he’s faced other than a fight back in 2014 early in his career, a step-up bout against journeyman veteran German Meraz that went a six round distance. Even in that fight, though, he put Meraz down twice and won every round. He’s never gone past the ninth round as a pro, but he insists he’s not relying on knockouts, and that he’s ready to go a championship distance if necessary.
“I can’t say whether I’ll get the knockout, but I’ve trained very hard and I’ve been focused on the main goal, which is to get the win,” he said. “I know that Gamboa is a tough opponent and he’ll lay it all on the line. If it goes 12 rounds, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m looking to make this a great fight for me and also for the fans.
“I believe that I haven’t gone past nine rounds and I’m undefeated, so I think that’s a good thing for me. I’ve been doing this for so many years that I believe Gamboa can’t bring anything to the ring that I haven’t seen.”
Gamboa echoed those sentiments, for what it’s worth.
“Gervonta knocking his opponents out and not going past the ninth round is great for him, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my resume,” he said. “I’ve faced stronger fighters than Gervonta and I’ve been able to beat them. He’s not going to bring anything I haven’t seen.”