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Floyd Mayweather’s protégé, Gervonta ‘The Tank’ Davis, hasn’t jetted first class to London just to gift his coveted IBF strap to Liam Walsh this weekend. He’s travelled across the Atlantic to obliterate the unbeaten super-featherweight – and I suspect that’s exactly what he is going to do.
Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren is one heck of a fabulous salesman (as is the legendary “Money” Mayweather) so it’s little wonder both sides are claiming this could be a gem of a fight inside the Copper Box Arena. They are the Kings of a Talk-Up.
It might be. I hope so. But let’s get this right…
Even though the Englishman is Davis’ mandatory IBF challenger for his first defence, this bout sees a precociously gifted knockout merchant that happens to be the youngest world champion on the planet, up against a solid British pro.
There will only be one winner.
At odds of 1-4 you won’t get rich backing the champion, but it feels like a nailed on success for the American raider.
I rate Walsh, so this is no slight on his ability.
Hampered by injuries and ill fortune during a unblemished 21-0 career in the ring, the 30-year-old Cromer southpaw is good enough to have fought for a world title long before now.
He should have had his day in 2012, but for a serious car crash that meant he had to pull out of a shot against Ricky Burns for the world crown. Since then he has had to build himself back up slowly.
The British and Commonwealth champ is a skilled craftsman that can bang hard, or hang in there for a 12-round brawl, but he has never had the opportunity to test himself against anyone that’s been within shouting distance of world class. And that’s the big concern.
From what I’ve seen, these two fighters don’t operate at the same level.
I fear that Warren may have put his charge into a situation where he’ll be out of his depth inside the bowels of the Olympic Park on Saturday evening.
The reason I say that is because Davis was absolutely sensational when snatching the belt away from Jose Pedraza in January.
Displaying amazing speed on the front and back foot, unleashing a torrent of vicious combinations, the 22-year-old Baltimore boxer (17-0, 16 KOs) lived up to the hype with a one-sided and spectacular 7th round stoppage.
Pedraza had beaten Liverpool’s Stephen Smith unanimously on points in his previous outing.
Watch out for The Tank’s clubbing left hooks and neck-stretching upper cuts at the Copper Box too.
If Walsh doesn’t protect himself from those shots, he’ll be in a world of trouble.
Kudos to Frank Warren for stumping up enough cash for Davis and his entourage to travel – giving up home advantage – but for me it’s a sign of supreme confidence on the American’s part that he’s prepared to take the chance.
He knows he will be too good.
The Norfolk-based fighter will be well supported by his vocal “Farmy Army”, and the game plan is likely to revolve around making use of his superior height (one and half inches) by jabbing at Davis from range.
As someone who likes going toe to toe he’ll want to drag the champion towards a dark place in the later rounds, but I fear the speed and brutality of Davis will mean he gets pushed back much earlier than he wants.
If he’s caught on the ropes and dragged into a street brawl, it will be curtains for the Brit.
Many believe Liam Walsh is under rated and I’m inclined to agree, but he’s taken on a challenge here that looks beyond him.
At 30 years of age, it’s worth a go, but ‘The Tank’ will blow him away well inside the distance.