Sometimes you only have to see a clip of a particular fighter and right off the bat you know he’s good. And if he’s really gifted you picture in your mind what he could become with dedication and the right management to move him along. Countless young boys and men wander into boxing gyms throughout the world to see what it takes to be a fighter and then decide to give it a shot. Others are obsessed with boxing and can’t be deterred. The problem is, only the best of the best make a lot of money in boxing and the gifted fighters are few and far between. If the right fighter happens to come along, finding the right manager and promoter isn’t the easiest thing to do, but if the fighter has a chance to be special, the right people will seek him out.
The first time I saw Adrien Broner fight, I thought to myself, wow, this guy is naturally gifted. No, I didn’t think he was the next Sugar Ray Leonard or Roy Jones, but Broner was every bit as physically gifted as Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather, or Zab Judah. There’s nothing Shane, Floyd or Zab can do in a ring that Broner can’t do to the same level. But unlike Mosley, Mayweather and Judah, Broner never bothered to learn any technique, relying entirely on his talent. And nobody gets away with that for long. Broner has speed, he’s a little stronger and more durable than he looks, but he’s nothing close to a special fighter, although at one time he may have become one.
Broner 33-3 (24) has won a world title at 130, 135, 140 and 147. Outside the ring he’s been accused of robbery at gunpoint and knocking out a guy outside a bowling alley over money lost on a bet. There have been other altercations and issues with law enforcement, and it seems he’s destined to continue along that path. He’s also ballooned up in weight and cut corners training, which hindered his performances and no doubt cost him money.
Broner’s problem has been his lack of maturity and his inability to grasp the big picture and what it takes to be a special fighter. And that’s why today nobody takes him seriously as a fighter, at least not at the elite level. Unfortunately he took for granted his God given ability and how lucky he was to have Floyd Mayweather and Co. take an interest in him while looking to make the right fights for the most money. You better believe numerous fighters have approached Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe to look after and manage them; only they were rejected because the Money Team didn’t see the potential in them, or at least not enough to invest their time and money.
At age 28, it’s not too late for Broner to salvage his career before he becomes a trial horse for younger fighters who show flashes of the ability he once had. But it’s not something you’d bet on given his track record; he just hasn’t earned the confidence.
On September 19th, an arrest was issued for a fighter who was being accused of first degree aggravated assault. His name is Gervonta Davis. According to Maryland public records, the alleged incident took place on August 1st. The alleged victim, Anthony Wheeler, a childhood friend of Davis, said Davis sucker punched him on the side of the head with a gloved fist, necessitating a trip to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion. The confrontation took place at the Upton Boxing Center in West Baltimore.
The charge against Davis was reduced to second degree assault, a misdemeanor, on Oct. 19, and Davis was ordered to appear in court on Nov. 29. In court Wheeler dropped the charges. According to the Baltimore Sun, “Davis and Wheeler both embraced and walked out of the courtroom together.”
A gifted fighter, Gervonta Davis 19-0 (18) lost his title on the scale in his last fight, has a nose for trouble and is seemingly on his way to becoming the next Adrien Broner. Davis, 23, isn’t quite as gifted as Broner, but he’s a bigger puncher and he’s a southpaw, a combination that makes him dangerous fighting in the vicinity of junior lightweight and lightweight.
Davis last fought on the widely seen Mayweather-McGregor undercard on August 26th. When the fight with Francisco Fonseca was made, Gervonta was the defending IBF junior lightweight title holder…..then he missed making the division limit of 130 at the weigh-in and was stripped of the title. He stopped Fonseca in the eighth round but it may have been his least impressive showing since he’s been fighting at the championship level. And it has even led to some putting the brakes on regarding how he’s a fighter to be on the lookout for.
On November 15, 2017, Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather promotions, announced Davis would fight sometime during the first quarter of 2018 against a “high-level opponent.” Furthermore, Davis would remain fighting at 130 with the intent of him possibly challenging for a world title later in the year. No doubt, Ellerbe has the connections to place Davis in line for a world title shot. And maybe Gervonta just stumbled getting into trouble and then missing weight and, unlike Broner, he gets the benefit of the doubt because this is the first time for him going off track.
Hopefully Davis will realize how lucky he is and not evolve into Broner 2.0. Because he’s young, has a fun style to watch and is a good puncher who lets his hands go, there are a lot of interesting match ups for him down the road that will not only be for a lot of money, but they’re also winnable with the possibility of leading to even bigger fights. In order for Davis to reach the potential many see in him, he’ll need to win two battles. First, he needs to summon more discipline than he’s ever needed before in the hope of not ballooning up in weight so he can make 130 for at least another year. If he can do that, he could be in line for a monumental payday against Vasyl Lomachenko by this time next year. The second battle he’ll need to win — and it should be easier than the first one — is staying out of trouble and avoiding conflicts with law enforcement.
If Gervonta Davis can win those two battles, there’s a great chance he can reach his potential as a fighter.
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Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com