Gervonta Davis blasted through Rolando Romero on Saturday night, scoring a TKO courtesy a wicked left hand in round six, keeping his unbeaten record intact and turning an eye forward.
But what Gervonta does next depends entirely on how serious he is about leaving Mayweather Promotions — and probably even the entire Premier Boxing Champions stable.
This is not an “attack” on PBC, which some fans have taken to coddling as if it’s a very special outfit and not a standard power organization in modern boxing, making mostly predictable fights that can be sold well enough to keep the wheels turning, the lights on with some broadcast partner or other, and stars being manufactured often not through the greatness of their achievement, but simply by being the best-promoted.
PBC do this the same as Top Rank, Matchroom, Golden Boy, or anyone else.
It’s also not meant as a shot at how Mayweather Promotions or PBC have handled Tank’s career, really. They’ve done a great job with Davis, it’s one of the best examples of the modern star-making blueprint. He’s one of the most notable names in boxing today, one of the biggest draws in the sport.
But that’s all established now. So what’s next? What’s more than that? And does Davis want more than that, and how much more?
That’s where the choice really comes in.
Davis has had trouble with Floyd Mayweather in recent months, and it’s notable that Mayweather was not seen on the Showtime pay-per-view broadcast on Saturday night, nor at the post-fight press conference. Leonard Ellerbe, however, was there, was his usual self, and hasn’t been target of the same public beef with Davis that Mayweather has been.
But even with the open squabbling with Tank and Floyd coming to an end, at least for now, Davis has stated that the Romero fight would be his last with Mayweather Promotions.
“I feel as though it’s my career, so I feel as though I need to be the one to control my career. And it’s time,” he said recently.
“Everybody don’t need to have them training wheels on them forever, it’s time to ride their own bike without training wheels.”
Davis has his own promotional company, kind of, in that way that loads of fighters have had their own promotional companies. Mainly, it gets announced before their fight, and then that’s all you ever hear about it. The 27-year-old could also easily stick with Premier Boxing Champions and just not be with the Mayweather wing of the organization anymore. PBC are not technically a promoter — as Al Haymon cannot legally be a promoter as well as a manager/adviser — so Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions are the usual listed promoter on events that aren’t run by the Mayweather team.
Davis could fight on TGB cards for PBC, and Jimmy Lennon Jr will tell you the fight is brought to you by GTD Promotions and TGB Promotions.
And, the problem with that is, very little would be expected to change as far as Gervonta Davis’ career path, which has been criticized plenty.
Davis is right when he says that it’s not as if he’s the only guy in or around the lightweight division the last few years who hasn’t been fighting the other big names. Vasiliy Lomachenko did fight Teofimo Lopez, but otherwise we’ve seen the likes of Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia, like Davis, not take on those otherwise considered the top stars of the division.
George Kambosos Jr, of course, interjected himself quite nicely last year, beating Teofimo, and now will face Devin Haney next weekend in an undisputed championship fight.
But if Gervonta doesn’t leave the PBC side, why would anything change? Why would he suddenly get deals to fight Garcia, or the Kambosos-Haney winner at some point, or Lomachenko?
Those fights have never come seriously close to happening for him. And at this stage in the game, Mayweather Promotions are out of viable opponents to throw at him. Rolly Romero was already kind of a hail mary, a largely unproven, half-novice pro who talked his way into the fight and then failed to defend himself enough to not get smashed in six.
Romero is an in-house Mayweather Promotions guy. Others Tank has fought have been within the PBC family, if you will, including last December’s late notice replacement for Romero, Isaac Cruz — who is also now not fighting Ryan Garcia, even with the WBC ordering that as an eliminator, which they later rescinded because, you know, someone didn’t wanna, and the WBC just does what stars want them to do.
The best fight on the PBC side for Davis would be a rematch with Cruz or a rematch with Romero, and Tank says he’s not interested in the latter. The Davis vs Cruz fight was pretty good, competitive, but I don’t think anyone’s dying to see it again other than maybe Isaac Cruz.
The fights people want to see for Tank are very clear, have been for a while. The biggest one on paper is, quite obviously, Ryan Garcia. As much as I’d love to tell you it’s the Kambosos-Haney winner, it’s not; it would be for a bunch of belts, yes, but it’s not a bigger fight. Garcia’s a bigger star than Kambosos or Haney. It may be unfair but it’s the way it is.
Tank is, too. And furthermore, if Haney wins that fight with Kambosos, he’s contractually obligated to go back to Australia and do a rematch, so that will eat up the rest of their year and maybe into early 2023.
Garcia says he wants the fight with Tank — after his July 16 fight, whatever that’s going to be. He’s talking about fighting Davis in December. But he’s said that before. He’s said a lot of things before and they didn’t happen.
Most likely, the only way it happens is if Davis leaves PBC. Garcia is the No. 1 key for DAZN recently signing a new deal with Golden Boy, and while DAZN didn’t tie Haney down and prevent him from going to fight Kambosos, Garcia’s different. He actually draws numbers, and Haney doesn’t.
In short, DAZN are not going to want to send one of their most important, most marketable fighters to a PBC show to fight Tank Davis, and PBC won’t want to send one of their main guys to a DAZN show to fight Ryan Garcia.
And while Davis-Garcia would definitely be a really big event, I don’t think it’s so big that PBC and DAZN would want to work together on a joint pay-per-view like PBC did with Top Rank for the latter two Fury-Wilder fights, or those same two companies did in 2015 for Mayweather-Pacquiao. That kind of thing is very rare for a reason.
Davis could, as we discussed earlier in the Garcia “callout” post, potentially sign a short-term deal with DAZN, and maybe work in the same time frame with Golden Boy or with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, and get a big Garcia fight done for late this year. It’s possible. I don’t know that Davis would want to sign long-term with either the broadcaster or one of those promoters.
Another option would be Top Rank and ESPN. They could, in time, have a Lomachenko fight for Davis, and Bill Haney has made it clear that if Top Rank is where the big fights are for their side — if they beat Kambosos (twice) — they’re open to fighting there.
If Kambosos beats Haney, he’s not tied to any of the major power promoters or networks, for what it’s worth.
Gervonta Davis has a lot of big decisions to make, and chief among them is how much he really wants to be in a true big fight. He can sell without them — he put over 15,000 into the former Staples Center in December to fight Cruz, over 18,000 into Barclays for Romero, a new record for boxing at that venue. He sells tickets everywhere he fights. He’s a highly valuable commodity. Any promoter would love to have him on board.
But who has the big fights? And does Davis truly want them? It has to be asked simply because it hasn’t happened yet. You like to think the answer is yes.
In truth, I don’t think anyone is going to be completely stunned if in a week or six weeks or two months or whatever, we hear that Tank is still with Mayweather Promotions, still with PBC, and the Isaac Cruz rematch is a-comin’.
We can hope, though, that one way or another, Gervonta Davis’ next fight will be one everyone actually wants to see.
It’s fun to hope.