On Saturday, Gervonta Davis will challenge Jose Pedraza for the IBF junior lightweight title at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York. Their meeting will provide the chief support to the RING magazine/IBF/WBC super middleweight championship clash between James DeGale and Badou Jack on Showtime at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT and in the U.K. on Sky Sports at 1:30 a.m.
It will be the precociously talented Davis’ first opportunity at world honors and a big step up against his fellow unbeaten and more experienced Pedraza.
Although, Davis (16-0, 15 knockouts) has only once fought past six rounds and has just 43 pro rounds under his belt, he doesn’t appear fazed by the large step he’s taking.
“Usually, the more experience someone has in the ring, the better chance they have to win,” Davis told RingTV.com. “Getting a champion in the ring isn’t easy to do. We thought about waiting a few more fights but then my team said we might as well go for it. Sometimes you have to grab opportunities when they exist, then there aren’t any regrets later.
“The truth is I’ve been in this boxing game a long time. Over 200 amateur fights and I’ve been in the ring with some of the best in the business.”
That’s not to say Davis doesn’t respect Pedraza (22-0, 12 KOs) and the Puerto Rican’s ability.
“I have a great team around me and I’ll be prepared to show the world what I can do against a great champion like Pedraza,” said southpaw, who recently turned 22 years old last November.
“I can’t reveal my team’s game plan but Pedraza is a smart fighter. He switches up his fight style in the ring, has long arms and is an accurate puncher. He has great way about him and keeps himself under control in the ring. There’s nothing he can do to prepare for me, though. You’ll see why on January 14.”
Davis has been boxing since he was just five years old and is clearly confident in his own ability.
While some fighters would be loath to give up the holiday period, it was never a concern to the single-minded Davis – a “New Faces” subject, two years ago – who has immersed himself in training for the past two months.
“I don’t like celebrating holidays anyways,” he said, “so I didn’t care about missing that. I gave up eating foods I normally eat and stayed on a diet some of the camp.”
Instead, Davis focused his energy on Pedraza and the opportunity to appear on Showtime.
“I’m glad to be on Showtime and, honestly, that’s where I belong,” he said. “I plan to steal the show that night. The world will want more Gervonta Davis after the fight. I wish Badou the best but I’m coming to put on a show. Thanks to Showtime for having me. I won’t disappoint.”
The Baltimore-born-and-raised product has impressed all the right people, so far, including his current promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Floyd puts people in position and he does a good job of that,” he said proudly. “He recognized talent he saw in me and made a smart move to want to work with me. He’s done the best of any boxer, as far as money goes, so learning how he did it can only help me.”
The jump seems a sizable one for Davis, a 6/5 (+120) underdog; however, if he can back up his boasts, boxing may just have its first new star of 2017.
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