So, about that Gervonta Davis fight.
Those who were all-in on “Tank” before Saturday night surely found enough evidence in a sixth-round stoppage of loudmouth contender Rolly Romero to continue espousing their claims.
And yet those lukewarm on the Mayweather protégé before he arrived in Brooklyn can look at the way he struggled with Romero through five-plus rounds as reason to continue as cynics.
The truth, as with most things, likely resides somewhere in between.
Though Davis did indeed land the left hand that knocked Romero loopy and ultimately prompted David Fields to end matters late in the sixth, he wasn’t exactly the dominant, aggressive force that he’d been in past fights with smaller, less dangerous foes. In fact, while the idea that Romero had won every round before the KO Is a bit dubious, it’s no guarantee that Davis would have pulled away anytime soon either.
So don’t expect a rematch anytime soon, regardless of how hard Rolly bangs the “I exposed him” drum.
Instead, now that he’s followed the Terence Crawford blueprint to promotional free agency, it’s a whole new ballgame for Davis in terms of the profile of the fighters he’s most likely to see next time out.
Rather than waiting for a brash wannabe to talk his way into coverage, the resumes will take care of it.
On one tier of possible foes are a couple past rivals – one a respected veteran in Vasyl Lomachenko; and the other a deposed champion in Teofimo Lopez, who’d seemed ready to call his own shots.
Lomachenko, at 34, is still among the elite at 135 after following the loss to Lopez with two wins.
He could have fought George Kambosos Jr. after the Aussie dethroned Lopez but stayed in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. If he returns, a match with Davis would match power and aggression with skill and footwork and a guy seeking career-definition against one heading to the twilight.
As for Lopez, it wasn’t long ago that he topped everyone’s wannabe list.
But rather than riding the Lomachenko wave through a series of defenses, he was dropped and embarrassed by Kambosos and has spent six months touting conspiracies to anyone who’ll listen.
Gee…where have I heard that before.
Still, given the history and heat between he and Davis it’s hardly a big reach to think the fire can be rekindled if the “Takeover” gets over the nonsense and back to winning fights.
The middle tier’s chief resident will be determined by what happens this weekend.
Devin Haney is Down Under to try and wrest the cache of IBF, WBA and WBO straps Kambosos took from Lopez. And if he does so, the prospect of a fight with Davis becomes a lot more realistic.
Not only could Davis ditch the trash WBA belt he has to chase the legitimate version, but a Haney victory would provide an undisputed opportunity in the weight class as well. And it’s something Davis told Brian Custer a few weeks back that he was already considering.
“If you win, I’m now out of my contract; let’s make the fight happen since you want to talk crazy,” he said on the Last Stand Podcast. “Let’s do that; I want to fight you if you win, Devin Haney.”
Finally, we have the top tier. The domain of burgeoning superstars, or at least social media champions.
Shakur Stevenson is arguably the best young talent in boxing.
And if he stays on his unbeaten track while continuing to pursue title belts and challenges of all shapes and sizes, it’s an inevitability that he and Davis will ultimately meet at 135.
If it happens, it provides a contrast in styles similar to the Lomachenko and Haney fights, with an artistic and skilled boxer matched against a violent and powerful aggressor.
If Twitter exchanges are any indication – and these days they mean as much as anything – it’s something that both men are already considering.
Good enough for me.
And last but not least, we give you Ryan Garcia.
The undisputed champion of boxing’s cyberspace division, Garcia has already been calling Davis’s name for what feels like forever, even though it’s been barely a year and a half since he beat Luke Campbell and became a legitimate world-class operator.
Garcia’s hype man, Oscar De La Hoya, told me recently the fight could happen within 12 months and would be even easier to get done if Davis ditched Mayweather Promotions. He’s upper the ante since, going public with TMZ to suggest he’d offer Davis a three-fight deal with a Garcia cherry on top..
One man’s massive social media presence and the other’s strong grassroots following guarantees mainstream buzz and maximum cash for both parties.
Book it, this one occurs.
* * * * * * * * * *
This week’s title-fight schedule:
IBF junior lightweight title – Cardiff, Wales
Kenichi Ogawa (champion/No. 17 IWBR) vs. Joe Cordina (No. 3 IBF/No. 46 IWBR)
Ogawa (26-1-1, 18 KO): First title defense; Third fight outside of Japan (1-0, 1 NC, 0 KO)
Cordina (14-0, 8 KO): First title fight; Fourth fight scheduled for 12 rounds (3-0, 1 KO)
FItzbitz says: As much as I want to think a kid from Wales wins a title in Cardiff, there’s nothing on the resume to suggest it happens. Ogawa is no Duran, but he wins. Ogawa by decision (75/25)
WBC/WBO super bantamweight/junior lightweight titles – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Stephen Fulton (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Daniel Roman (No. 1 WBO/No. 5 IWBR)
Fulton (20-0, 8 KO): Second WBO title defense; Decision wins in all four 12-round bouts (4-0, 0 KO)
Roman (29-3-1, 10 KO): Seventh title fight (5-1); Held WBA/IBF titles at 122 pounds (2017-20)
Fitzbitz says: Different people can claim to have been in on the ground floor for different fighters. I like to make that claim about Fulton. He wins here and looks good. Fulton by decision (95/5)
SUNDAY (Saturday in the United States)
IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight titles – Melbourne, Australia
George Kambosos Jr. (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Devin Haney (WBC champ/No. 5 IWBR)
Kambosos (20-0, 10 KO): First title defense; Seven KOs in 13 fights in Australia (13-0, 7 KO)
Haney (27-0, 15 KO): Fifth title fight (4-0); Eleventh fight outside the United States (10-0, 8 KO)
Fitzbitz says: It’s the opposite of Fulton here. Every time I look at Haney, I find a reason to doubt him and pick against him. And I’ve always been wrong. But I’m stubborn, too. Kambosos by decision (60/40)
This week’s trash title-fight schedule:
WBA “world” super middleweight title – Minneapolis, Minnesota
David Morrell (champion/No. 21 IWBR) vs. Kalvin Henderson (No. 11 WBA/No. 56 IWBR)
Why it’s trash: It’s as simple as saying “it’s a WBA title fight, that’s why.” Morrell is a nice fighter and a sturdy foe for anyone at 168. But he’s not a champion. And if you disagree, you’re a fool.
Last week’s picks: None
2022 picks record: 13-5 (72.2 percent)
Overall picks record: 1,222-397 (75.5 percent)
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body’s full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA “world championships” are only included if no “super champion” exists in the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.