“So tell me …” prompts a clearly wispy voice at the other end of a recent Instagram Live session. “How do you feel? you? „
Davis doesn’t think much about the request.
“I feel great,” he fires back. “I only take it one day at a time, stay strong, stay concentrated. ”
The questioner nods his head in agreement towards the last part of the answer. And for Davis, that approval is valued because it comes from a man he is deeply in awe of – none other than boxing legend Mike Tyson.
If Davis really wants to become the new “worst man on the planet” and take the baton as the boxer’s next big money cow from the man he’s been fighting under, Floyd Mayweather Jr., now is the time to get in overthrow the superstar.
Davis, 25, made his pay-per-view debut on Showtime Saturday night when he took on Leo Santa Cruz at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Davis ‘WBA “Regular” lightweight title and Cruz’ WBA “Super” junior lightweight championship will be at stake. But it’s about a lot more than the gold hardware, and Davis knows it.
Davis sees defeating Santa Cruz, a four-division world champion, as proof to face as it is the only obstacle preventing him from forcing the take-off and soaring to astronomical heights. Behind its thundering power, “Tank” is already perceived as great. How great? Well, this is where that evidence comes in.
“Michael Jordan read the paper and did what he couldn’t do,” Davis said during Thursday’s press conference. “That’s what I do. I have to prove that I’m the worst man in sport on Saturday night. ”
Just like Tyson approved of Davis’ Focus a month ago, Mayweather tried tunnel-sighted “Tank” this week to get into the biggest fight of his career.
“Floyd Mayweather just told me to stay focused despite everything that comes with pay-per-view week,” Davis continued. “I have to get the job done first, but also do whatever it takes to be the next pay-per-view star.”
To be “the next pay-per-view star”, Davis has to win on Saturday night. In the lead-up to the fight, Davis didn’t chop up any words, calling Santa Cruz his best opponent yet – something the Mexican champion got in return for with “Tank”.
Davis spent 15 weeks training for Santa Cruz in what he called “perfect” camp. He was successfully making weight on Friday when he tipped the scales to 129.8 pounds – just below the 130 pound mark. Davis has had a history of gaining weight. Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, says this is all part of Davis’ newfound maturity, which comes from being the father of his young daughter, Gervanni Davis.
“I definitely noticed the growth and maturation of him as a young man in the last year alone,” Ellerbe told DAZN News. “He fights for his daughter. His entire mindset has completely changed. He made the necessary changes in his life to become a better father and a great fighter. ”
Though the undefeated Davis got 22 of his 23 knockout wins, he said Thursday that he doesn’t need a knockout to prove he’s the next big boxing superstar. However, there is no doubt how important a fight is to his career.
The 5-6 “Panzer” appears and hits with violently detonating impact, which has given him a ridiculous knockout rate of 95.6 percent. How this force combats Santa Cruz volume punching (37-1-1, 19 KOs) remains to be seen. That being said, a win for Davis and his popularity will only balloon out. Davis’ star power is already undeniable. Rap stars Lil Baby and Casanova lead him to his last fight in December and with his 2.2 million Instagram followers. (Among the current boxing world champions, only Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, Manny Pacquiao, Tyson Fury and Gennadiy Golovkin have more IG supporters).
“There is something immaterial, almost indescribable,” Stephen Espinoza, Showtime president for sports and events programming, told DAZN News about Davis’ magnetism with fans. “He has a great backstory. Once you find out about the challenges he overcame and how he overcame them, you can’t help but get involved with him. ”
Davis’ father was in prison and his mother was a drug addict when he was released from custody by child protection services with his two older brothers at the age of 5. This sparked life under multiple roofs for Davis, who began fighting on the streets of Baltimore at a young age.
Even when he discovered boxing as a consolation, tribulation would ensue as death filled the air of his Baltimore streets, claiming the lives of three elderly boxers with whom he was dating, including Qaadir Ford, the son of Davis’ trainer Calvin Ford. Qaadir was shot dead in 2013.
From then on, Davis was able to direct his anger towards becoming a three-time world champion under the leadership of Mayweather and on an ever-escalating path. Espinoza cannot pinpoint and uncover Davis’ “it” factor even though he has tried to connect the dots.
“He’s a baby face and women are attracted to him, and he turns into something wild on fight night, delivering performances that seem as humble to someone as he’s not in the ring,” offered Espinoza. “But there is one thing you can’t quite go into that you like this kid. Maybe it’s the humility, the innocence … there’s something that connects him with his fans and audiences in a way that many fighters could only want. It’s unmistakable. ”
Such is the growing entertainment value that Davis delivers with every fight. He stepped into the ring for an elaborately choreographed Michael Jackson “Thriller” tribute before destroying Hugo Ruiz with a first-round knockout at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California in February 2019. In a homecoming in Baltimore that was fit for a King five months later, he produced more fireworks over a second round TKO from Ricardo Nunez. Last December, Davis powered a market in Atlanta that hadn’t boxed the city as well since Evander Holyfield and “Tank”. Though a veteran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, hung around tenaciously in combat, Davis also ended that fight in a dazzling fashion with a round 12 TKO punctuated with a hellish short uppercut.
What Davis does on Halloween night will move the needle blasting to the next big pay-per-view superstar of boxing, or make him recover from that ambition that would be stalled by his first pro loss .
Now it’s up to “Tank” to prove the former by defeating Santa Cruz. Then he could prepare the boxing for takeoff.
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