The plain lede most boxing writers selected to run with of their tales from Saturday evening’s one-round drubbing from rising star Gervonta Davis of late substitute Hugo Ruiz was that Davis’s ring entrance lasted longer than the combat.
Maybe Davis and his group knew the motion within the ring was going to be transient. As an alternative of going through future Corridor of Famer Abner Mares in a possibility to attain the primary signature win of his burgeoning profession, Davis needed to face a man coming in on lower than two weeks discover. Ruiz had gained a 10-round choice over his personal late-notice opponent within the Jan. 19 pay-per-view opener of Manny Pacquiao’s win over Adrien Broner. Ruiz had twice been stopped at 122 kilos previously 4 years, and was combating at 130 kilos for the primary time. But the promotion tried to current the bout as simply as robust of a problem as Mares would have been.
The “Thriller” entrance that Davis made, alongside some zombie dancers, lit up social media simply previous to the combat. It’s one of many extra entertaining entrances we’ve seen for the reason that days of Naseem Hamed, who himself made a “Thriller” greater than 20 years in the past. Perhaps essentially the most comical a part of the doorway was that Davis virtually didn’t know learn how to match the bravado as he walked to the ring. Although he’s a assured fighter, it looks as if he’s nonetheless coming to phrases with the extent of star energy his handlers and far of the general public have prophesied. Hamed shimmying and swaggering to the ring this was not.
The one-round knockout was a magnificence, however premeditated by all within the know. Sources instructed Sporting Information that had Mares not suffered a indifferent retina and was pressured to tug out of the combat, the outside venue in Carson have been intent on including bleachers with the intention to set a brand new attendance report for the house.
That doesn’t imply that Davis didn’t make a splash. At the least a half-dozen A-list athletes and musicians pulled up in assist of Davis and his promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr., together with Drake, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Meek Mill, and Lil Wayne. It was helpful that GRAMMY week descended upon Los Angeles only a fast 20-minute drive away, however you possibly can’t low cost the very fact these celebrities got here to an out of doors present in 52-degree climate, which is chilly for southern California.
Davis did what you’re alleged to do towards a late substitute — he didn’t waste any time and obtained him out of right here. Are you able to bear in mind the final time one man broke one other man’s nostril with a sweeping hook? That’s what Davis managed to do and that pressured the usually-gritty Ruiz to a knee and referee Jack Reiss to halt the bout with one second left within the first spherical.
However earlier than and after the combat, when requested about potential future foes, it turned fairly clear that Mayweather Promotions is in no hurry to push Davis into marquee matchups.
“Each time he has got here to me, after I say, ‘Who you wanna combat?,’ he say, ‘It doesn’t matter,’” Mayweather stated at Thursday’s press convention. “So, he don’t decide and select. So, if y’all wanna criticize anyone, criticize me, criticize Leonard Ellerbe or criticize whoever. However don’t criticize the fighters. The fighter’s job is to go on the market and combat and be the perfect that they may probably be.”
Mayweather stated after the combat that Davis isn’t “gonna go on the market and name out sure names” and “whoever we put in entrance of you, simply go on the market and do your job.”
However that’s the antithesis of what Mayweather himself did in his profession. He gained his first Fighter of the Yr in 1998 on the age of 21 after combating seven instances that yr, selecting up his first world title at 130 kilos. Davis is 24-years-old. By that time in his profession, Mayweather already had a marquee win over Diego Corrales and adopted it up with wins over strong names Carlos Hernandez and Jesus Chavez.
The issue for Davis is he’s at present in no man’s land at 130 kilos. The rising star is undoubtedly the largest identify within the division. He wanted further time to make the tremendous featherweight restrict at Friday’s weigh-in, although his group says he’s not killing himself to make weight. There are some huge names at featherweight that might present Davis with an opportunity so as to add a legit scalp to his resume — Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr. for starters. However the combat everybody sees as an evenly-matched showdown is one with Prime Rank pound-for-pound star Vasyl Lomachenko.
Mayweather got here up with quite a lot of excuses a couple of combat with Lomachenko. Just a few years in the past, it was that no one is aware of who Lomachenko is. This time, it was even sillier.
“We’re not going to name any specific fighter out, and it’s not like we’re ducking and dodging anybody,” Mayweather instructed reporters after the combat Saturday. “Lomachenko has to combat as many fights as doable, extraordinarily fast, as a result of he’s very, very previous. Tank is like 10 years or 11 years youthful than Lomachenko. Lomachenko will probably be 40 earlier than you realize it.”
The three-division champion is definitely solely 30-years-old. Leonard Ellerbe was equally dismissive of the concept that Davis wants a marquee combat when talking with Sporting Information.
“He don’t want something,” Ellerbe stated to Sporting Information after elevating the purpose that he’s nonetheless in the hunt for a signature win. “It isn’t about Hugo Ruiz, it is about Gervonta Davis, what he brings to the game. He brings pleasure, leisure. And that is what the brand new technology — that previous s— is out. He has that particular reference to this youthful technology. You see — have a look at the fellows who come out to assist him for this.”
When requested about Lomachenko, with one reporter saying that’s “the massive one,” Ellerbe wasn’t so positive.
“It may very well be — Gervonta Davis with anyone goes to be an enormous combat,” Ellerbe stated. “As a result of he has that star energy. He’s the man. He’s the man that each one of those guys are going to be gunning at.”
Davis is definitely going to be the identify that everybody is concentrating on. One of many issues Mayweather stated he liked about Tank is that “he’s obtained a imply streak in him, he obtained canine in him, he’s hungry.” However the longer you feed a hungry canine opponents who’ve their mouths duct-taped shut, the much less they should flex their full expertise.
The excellent news is that we’ll be seeing much more of Davis. He instructed Sporting Information previous to his combat that if he obtained Ruiz out of there in 5 rounds or much less, he was going to try to match one other combat in earlier than a projected Baltimore homecoming in July. He obtained Ruiz out of there in a single spherical. That places him on tempo to combat a minimum of 4 instances in 2019, possibly even 5. That’s one thing that Mayweather did in his true breakout yr.
Mayweather punctuated that 1998 with a win over Angel Manfredy, a man who had constructed himself right into a strong identify off his persona greater than his expertise. I bear in mind the winner of that combat being the seemingly Fighter of the Yr, as Manfredy upset Arturo Gatti earlier than the Mayweather showdown. Is there an analogous doable opponent on the market for Davis for someday in 2019? In the event that they’re not seeking to make a Lomachenko combat, it doesn’t appear to be it. If he’s going to grow to be the pay-per-view star his group foresees, he wants a legit dance companion to assist him attain that degree.