Davis-Martin

5 Burning Questions ahead of Davis-Martin & Benavidez-Gvozdyk

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While casual fight fans might be disappointed over the loss of what many considered a clown show of a matchup between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul, there are still plenty of exciting boxing events this summer for tried and true fans to look forward to. Starting with PBC’s incredible double header this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, headlined by two of the sports brightest young stars.

Undefeated WBA lightweight champion, Gervonta Davis will make his long awaited return to the ring after a 14-month layoff. He will defend his title against undefeated challenger, Frank Martin, in the night’s main event. The co-feature will see two former WBC champions square off, as undefeated super middleweight contender, David Benavidez, will move up to 175 pounds and challenge Olympic bronze medalist, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, for the vacant interim WBC light heavyweight title. With a quality undercard as the support for both bouts, this should be a great night for hardcore boxing heads.

#1. Is Gervonta Davis the current face of Boxing?

Lee: Gervonta “Tank” Davis has been dominant at the pro level—becoming a five-time world champion, winning titles in three divisions while becoming one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport. Davis is a box office draw and has a massive social media following too. Outside the ring, Davis has had his fair share of legal issues. But, he has seemingly turned the page on that part of his life and appears to have matured. The skills and talent are undeniable: Speed, power and youth has led to a 29-0 record with 27 KOs. What will make him an even bigger star is the list of potential foes (Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney, Vasyl Lomachenko, and possibly Teofimo Lopez). Currently, the face of boxing is Canelo Alvarez. After that, it’s two-time undisputed champ Terence Crawford. So, “Tank” is definitely in the conversation.

Evan: I think the great thing about this modern era of boxing, is there are a plethora of talented fighters vying for this position. As Lee mentioned, both Canelo Álvarez and Terence “Bud” Crawford probably are slightly ahead of Davis for owning the distinction of being the current face of the sport. I’d even throw undisputed champs, Oleksandar Usyk and Naoya Inoue, into the mix too. However, Tank is chomping at their heels for this crown.

From his KO power, versatile skills, and appeal to the younger online fan base, as well as the celebrities he draws to attend his fights, Davis has all the ingredients to be a superstar. There’s a cultural significance and impact that he brings to the table that is simply undeniable. He’s a rare talent who has this gravitational pull that bridges the gap between multiple races and generations of fans, only matched by Álvarez and Crawford. If he can stay out of trouble outside of the ring, while not taking extended year-long layoffs from competing, Tank could easily become the biggest star in boxing.

#2. What are the chances Frank Martin actually pulls off the upset over Tank?

Lee: Frank Martin will always have a puncher’s chance at winning like all fighters do. He can win this fight if he presses forward and makes Davis fight on his back foot to negate Davis’ punching power. Although Davis is the more experienced fighter, Martin can use the underdog mentality to fight more freely. He has been unfazed through the media sessions and has worn a face of confidence during all his recent interviews. Also, Davis has taken his foot off the gas in some fights allowing his opponents to land shots and gain momentum, so it could be something Martin exploits.

Evan: I believe Frank Martin is a really skilled fighter, who probably isn’t getting the credit he deserves from some pundits and fans going into this matchup. His confidence hasn’t waned, despite the relentless insults from Tank in the pre-fight build up. There’s definitely a chance Martin pulls off a major upset here. However, I personally am not seeing it.

Tank’s timing, counter punching, speed, angles, and body punching are all going to be real issues for Martin to overcome. I expect him to make it a fun, competitive bout while it lasts. But I do feel he eventually succumbs to Davis’ offensive firepower. Specifically the body shots from Tank, I think will add up and sink “The Ghost” in the second half of this fight. 

#3. Assuming he’s victorious over Martin, who should be next for Tank?

Lee: To me, this is an easy answer. But when it comes to boxing, nothing is easy. I think the biggest fight for Tank if he wins should be a bout with Shakur Stevenson. Stevenson’s next fight will be his last fight with Top Rank. Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and Top Rank have failed to negotiate big fights between the two promotions in the past. So Shakur being a free agent could make negotiating the fight a smoother process. Stevenson moved up in weight because he eyed three fights: Devin Haney, Vasyl Lomachenko and Tank Davis. Stevenson-Davis would be a box office attraction that includes a social media beef. However, it would have an incredible level of talent. Both undefeated, they would be fighting in a lightweight unification fight.

Evan: I’m on the same page with Lee. I’ve been saying for the last 4-5 years now that one of the biggest and most intriguing fight you can make in boxing is Gervonta Davis vs. Shakur Stevenson. Both have been going back and forth on social media for a while now, only adding fuel to the fire. It’s a matchup they both clearly want and so do fans. From the trash talk to the stylistic clash to the high stakes, Tank-Shakur is combat sports theater at its finest.

I do think Vasiliy Lomachenko, a Ryan Garcia rematch, and even a potential dream bout against Naoya Inoue, all could be fantastic next options for Tank. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take 14 months in between his fights again, as inactivity might be Gervonta’s only weakness currently.

#4. How much would a win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk help increase David Benavidez’s chances of getting the Canelo matchup?

Lee: Win or lose, Benavidez will not be fighting Canelo Alvarez. In my opinion, this is a classic case of one fighter (Benavidez) wanting the fight and the other (Alvarez) ducking it. Canelo has angled at trying to avenge his loss to Dmitry Bivol or making a super-fight with Terence Crawford. Fans can get behind a revenge rematch with Bivol… But possibly beating a smaller Crawford will bring warranted criticism. Benavidez is a stylistic and physical threat who would pose problems for Canelo inside the ring. Canelo has basically fought all comers ranging from 154 to 175 pounds and some would say he has earned the right to be picky at this point in his career. In my opinion, a loss to Benavidez doesn’t tarnish his legacy. It would however, lead to an even bigger payday in a rematch.

Evan: I agree with Lee on multiple fronts here. I sadly don’t think a victory over Gvozdyk on Saturday night will do much to help Benavidez’s chances of securing the fight with Álvarez. No matter how much we as boxing fans want to see the matchup, Canelo clearly doesn’t want it. He’s made it abundantly clear that unless he’s offered an absurd amount of $150 million, he’s not interested in competing against David for whatever reason.

Saudi promoter Turki Alalshikh is probably the only person in the sport to have the financial means to meet those requirements. However, he seems more set on making a super fight, between Canelo and Terence Crawford at the moment. If he’s able to have success at 175 pounds and eventually defeat either light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol or both at some point, maybe that would give Benavidez enough leverage to persuade Álvarez to finally meet him in the ring. Unfortunately for now, Canelo holds all the cards, and he doesn’t want the smoke with the Mexican Monster.

#5. Which fighter on the undercard should fight fans be on the lookout for?

Lee: Fans need to check out Gary Antuanne Russell. He is 17-0 with 17 KOs… Little known fact, Russell was the valedictorian for his high school graduating class. He is from a fighting family that includes, Gary Russell Sr., a former pro (passed away 2 years ago), and his brother Gary Russell Jr., a former featherweight champion. Gary Jr. has replaced his father in Gary Antuanne’s corner as lead trainer. Russell will be squaring off against the also-unbeaten Albert Puello for an interim junior welterweight title. Nicknamed “The Last”, he has been insistent about targeting titles and the fighters who are holding them. Riding a streak of knockout wins in each of his first 17 professional fights, needless to say he is on a mission.

Evan: Just copy and paste what Lee said above. If there is any fighter on the undercard who deserves your attention, it’s Gary Antuanne Russell. He’s only fought two times since July 2022, so having him back in action is a huge plus. Russell is one of the more underrated and slickest technicians in the sport, in my opinion. I also think he’s a more talented finisher than his older brother and now cornerman. Look for him to make a statement against Alberto Puello, and continue to honor the legacy of his late father.

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