Davis: ‘Look­ing to the fu­ture, I’m ready for it’

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Lance Pugmire

CAR­SON, CALIF. — Gervonta Davis tasted his first main event, cashed $1 mil­lion for less than one round’s work, and looked out from his “Thriller” ring walk to see Drake, Odell Beck­ham Jr. and An­to­nio Brown sit­ting ring­side.

“I did what I said I was go­ing to do, and just look­ing to the fu­ture, I’m ready for it,” Bal­ti­more’s Davis (21-0, 20 knock­outs) said af­ter re­tain­ing his World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion su­per-feath­er­weight belt by knock­ing out Mex­ico’s Hugo Ruiz with one sec­ond re­main­ing in the first round Satur­day night at Dig­nity Health Sports Park.

“Tonight, I did great.”

Although Ruiz (39-5) was a late re­place­ment for Los An­ge­les’ three-di­vi­sion cham­pion Ab­ner Mares, who with­drew two weeks ago af­ter suf­fer­ing a de­tached retina, he was no slouch.

The for­mer su­per-ban­tamweight world cham­pion was dom­i­nant him­self win­ning on the Manny Pac­quiao-Adrien Broner pay-per-view un­der­card

Jan. 19, and post­ing 18 first-round knock­outs on his own re­sume.

Yet, Davis wasn’t moved, ac­knowl­edg­ing that he sensed Ruiz would be over­whelmed quickly.

“I caught him with a left hand, and then I caught him — I threw the same punch right back,” Davis said. “I knew he was hurt.”

The harm in­creased when Ruiz found him­self backed to his own cor­ner, ab­sorb­ing another punch to the face that broke his nose and a hard right hook to the left ear that dropped him for good.

“I al­ways break people’s noses with the up­per­cut, not the hook,” Davis said.

Ruiz con­ceded af­ter­ward that he was struck by the heav­i­ness of Davis’ punches, and ref­eree Jack Reiss said he waved the bout off be­cause, “I asked, ‘ Can you con­tinue?’ [and] he just looked down. He was re­ally hurt.”

For those in­ter­ested in max­i­miz­ing Davis’ draw­ing power, par­tic­u­larly his 50-0 for­mer world-cham­pion pro­moter Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Premier Box­ing Cham­pi­ons’ Al Hay­mon, the show­ing was sub­lime.

“If any fighter can sur­pass me, it’s this young man right here, which I truly be­lieve,” Mayweather said af­ter the fight while stand­ing along­side Davis in a frigid hall­way. “He’s go­ing to be a house­hold name. He’s go­ing to be a pay-per-view star.”

Davis, 24, still is work­ing on things. Af­ter miss­ing weight and los­ing his In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion ver­sion of the 130-pound belt on the May­weath­erConor McGre­gor un­der­card in Au­gust 2017, he fought only once last year, ex­press­ing some dis­plea­sure with his han­dlers while tend­ing to the birth of his now 6-month-old daugh­ter.

Fri­day, he first stepped on the scale over­weight again, but only by two-tenths of a pound, which he trimmed be­fore the fi­nal weigh-in dead­line.

Davis said it re­mains his goal, af­ter win­ning in such short or­der, to ad­vance a sched­uled July home­com­ing date in Bal­ti­more with another ti­tle de­fense. PBC has a March 16 pay-per-view in Texas, which seems too soon, and another likely by May, the heavy­weight-ti­tle re­match be­tween Deon­tay Wilder and Tyson Fury that would be another im­por­tant show­case .

Mayweather is a pro­po­nent of keep­ing a fighter busy. He fought 10 times him­self in 1997 be­fore win­ning his first belt the fol­low­ing year.

“We al­ready talked about [fight­ing be­fore July],” Mayweather re­vealed. “I want him to stay ac­tive. The fighter’s job is to do what he does. He’s not go­ing to call cer­tain fight­ers’ names out, be­cause … me, my­self as a pro­moter, I tell him it’s not good to call names out. Who­ever we put in front of you, go out and do your job.

“That’s what he has done and that’s what I’m proud of. It’s a lot dif­fer­ent [than when I fought] now. We got him that big sta­tus a lot faster than I did. He’s on a fast pace. … The main thing is he’s go­ing out there day in and day out do­ing his job, and we’re proud of him.”

IBF su­per-feath­er­weight cham­pion Tevin Farmer still has two fights re­main­ing on his agree­ment with the stream­ing ser­vice DAZN be­fore a uni­fi­ca­tion can oc­cur. So PBC will likely find Davis a con­tender, per­haps a light­weight, to keep him busy.

While An­drew Can­cio of Blythe up­set Puerto Rico’s Al­berto Machado by knock­out Satur­day in In­dio to win the sec­ondary ver­sion of the WBA su­per-feath­er­weight belt, his pro­moter, Eric Gomez of Golden Boy, said “[I] haven’t thought about,” point­ing Can­cio to­ward Davis.

Smart move, given Davis’ ful­fill­ment of the po­ten­tial that first caught Mayweather’s eye more than five years ago.

“When he first came to see me and Canelo [Al­varez fight in 2013], he was a young kid and wanted me to au­to­graph some­thing for him, and then he came to my gym and the mo­ment I saw him, I told my as­sis­tant, ‘Reach out to that kid … ’ ” Mayweather said.

“He has a mean streak in him, a dog in him. There’s some­thing about him, so I thought, ‘Let’s take this kid to the next level.’ We were on a yacht in Mi­ami a few years ago, and I told him, ‘Be­fore you know it, you’re go­ing to be a world cham­pion, mak­ing mil­lions of dol­lars, so get ready be­cause it’s go­ing to be on a fast, fast pace,’ and that’s what’s hap­pen­ing.”

In the ring be­fore the fight be­gan, Mayweather de­liv­ered some fi­nal in­struc­tions to his pro­tege, who over­came be­ing aban­doned by his par­ents as a youth while sur­viv­ing the rav­age of gun vi­o­lence around his neigh­bor­hood.

“I can’t tell you [what was said]. That’s real, real pri­vate. Ev­ery­thing ain’t for every­body. It’s box­ing lingo, telling him, ‘We don’t worry about what’s said on the out­side. You were put here, in a cer­tain predica­ment, for a rea­son. Now, go out and do what you do and per­form,’” Mayweather said.

“He’s got to stay on the right path and he has to lis­ten. Out of all the fight­ers in box­ing right now, I’m the only one who knows what it takes to be­come a house­hold name and make nine fig­ures in one night. So let’s move on.”

Davis was thrilled he did his part so im­pres­sively.

“I’m blessed to have a great team be­hind me­and great skills to put on a great fight and im­press the fans,” he said. “It’s very mo­ti­vat­ing. I’m happy it worked out well, and next time it will be bet­ter.”

Gervonta Davis

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