Keyshawn Davis feels young and ready for Omar Tienda on Friday night
Keyshawn Davis says he feels like he’s 18 again, even though he’s 23. The U.S. 2021 Olympic lightweight silver medalist will be taking on 34-year-old Omar Tienda on Friday night on the Shakur Stevenson-Robson Conceicao undercard from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Davis (5-0, 4 knockouts), from Norfolk, Virginia, will be taking on his biggest to date in Tienda (25-5, 18 KOs) in his second eight-rounder as a lightweight (under a catchweight of 137). “The Businessman” takes this as another step in his maturation process as a pro, which he’s been now for 19 months.
“I think the biggest surprise for me as pro is the amount of dedication you have to put into in and out of the ring,” Davis said. “You lose a fight as an amateur, it’s not that big of a deal. You have one night (as a pro), win or lose, the whole world is coming down on you, so you really, really have to be dedicated to this sport, because one night could change your life.
“Right now, I feel like I’m 18 again. I’m blossoming right now. I can’t wait to show everyone how good I look on Friday night. I know Tienda is older than me. He’s more experienced than me, but I could tell he’s scared. I could see it in his face. He’s not going to try and do too much. He’s enjoying the moment. This is the biggest card he’s ever been on. Inside the ring, he’s coming to fight. He’s not scared to take a punch. He’s going to be a pressure fighter. I’m not scared to take a punch, even though I don’t get hit. But I love to fight. When you have a fighter who has skill with it, it’s extraordinary.”
Davis has an outstanding team surrounding him, starting with Brian McIntyre, Terence “Bud” Crawford’s trainer, Red Spikes, and Esau Dieguez—and Crawford, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Davis has been sparring Crawford since he was an amateur, though he’s also sparring with Teofimo Lopez Jr., Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Stevenson.
Davis stressed he trusts his team; he listens to his team, and he likes the challenges they put in front of him. He defers to their experience. He felt a chemistry the first day he arrived at their gym in November. He’s felt a growth since then.
“My team is definitely great and a lot of those guys I was in the ring with is the reason why I was extraordinary as an amateur,” Davis said. “Now I work Bud, who’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world, and he’s taught me about an attacking mentality. Bud had me doing things I was uncomfortable doing, at first. He was basically getting me more comfortable with being uncomfortable if that makes sense. My mentality has been so different in and out of the ring being around Terence.”
Tienda, from Guadalupe, Mexico, carries a seven-fight knockout streak into the fight since losing a unanimous 10-round decision to Dennis Galarza in June 2017. He’s only been stopped once, by Jesus Angulo Leija, in his seventh pro fight in March 2013.
“Friday night expect another extraordinary performance from me. Every time I get into the ring, I get more fans because I perform. I don’t fight, I don’t brawl, I don’t box, I go into the ring and perform. Fans love me for me.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito [twitter.com].