THREE PUNCH COMBO: Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KO’s) will look to regain a 130-pound title belt when he faces Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KO’s) this Saturday night in Brooklyn, NY. The brash young Davis is heavily favored but this fight has a lot of similarities to that of Adrien Broner’s upset defeat to Marcos Maidana in 2013.
Make no mistake about it. Davis has an elite set of skills compared with that of Cuellar. He has much quicker feet and possesses a big advantage in hand speed. He should be able to easily beat Cuellar to the punch and counter the slow wide shots of Cuellar. This has all the makings of an easy night’s work for Davis.
When Broner faced Maidana in 2013, the same advantages also existed for Broner. On paper, it was supposed to be an easy night’s work for “The Problem.” But it wasn’t and Broner got roughed up in losing a decision.
With his natural ability and some good matchmaking, Gervonta Davis has not really been tested to this point in his career. Things have gone his way and even when he makes mistakes he does not pay a heavy toll. This is similar to how things were going for Broner before he stepped in the ring with Maidana.
Cuellar might be crude and slow of foot, but he is a determined aggressive fighter who likes to be busy. These are not light punches either that Cuellar will be unloading, but strong heavy handed shots that can do damage and take a toll on Davis as the fight progresses. Similar to fellow Argentine countryman Maidana, Cuellar is hard to discourage and will just keep coming forward.
Davis has yet to face anyone who will put on the relentless pressure that he will see against Cuellar. How will Davis react in a rough and tumble fight? How will Davis react when he is not in total control? These are questions that Maidana asked of Broner in 2013 and Broner did not respond well despite having the superior natural boxing ability. Davis, for all his ability, will likely be faced with a scenario he has not yet faced inside the ring and this could easily turn into a replay of Broner-Maidana.
Why I Don’t Dislike Golovkin-Martirosyan
The search for an opponent for Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KO’s) continued into this week for a proposed May 5th fight. Longtime contender Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KO’s) is the latest potential foe rumored to be the front runner. While some fans and media were quick to express their dislike for the proposed bout, I’m fully on board with it.
Martirosyan is an aggressive fighter with solid skills who generally makes for crowd pleasing fights. While he has come up short in his biggest fights, he has given some of the best fighters in the sport very tough fights. Martirosyan held Erislandy Lara to a technical draw and later dropped a hard fought 12 round decision to the slick Cuban. Martirosyan also gave current undefeated fighters Demetrius Andrade and Jermell Charlo very difficult challenges. I understand that folks are pointing out that Martirosyan has fallen short on the big stage, but he gave these top level opponents very stern tests
Let’s keep in mind too the predicament for Golovkin and his team before criticizing his selection of opponent. Golovkin is a fighter that just lost an opportunity at a big fight but wants to stay as active as possible. Staying active is a good thing but when fighters stay active they are not always going to fight elite level opponents every time out. Golovkin and his team are also cognizant that a big money fight with Canelo is still on the horizon and understandably must balance the risk-reward factor when selecting this opponent.
I want to see the best fighters in the world stay as active as possible. I like the fact that as of now Golovkin wants to fight on May 5th and not just hold out for Canelo later in the year. Martirosyan is a credible opponent, especially considering the circumstances. The style and durability of Martirosyan should make for a fan friendly fight. If Martirosyan is in fact Golovkin’s opponent on May 5th, I will be very much looking forward to the fight.
Zero Is Not All It Is Meant To Be
In modern boxing, much emphasis is placed on a fighter’s record. More specifically, an unblemished record for a budding prospect is seen as paramount in this sport. Fighters are often moved cautiously to keep that precious zero in the loss category. And too often, when a prospect suffers that first loss he is sent to the back of the pecking order, by not only those involved in their career but also by fans and media.
But many times prospects learn more from that first loss than any of their previous wins and become better in the long haul for suffering that defeat. Here is a look at three fighters who appear ready to break out despite having suffered a defeat in the developmental stage of their career.
Jamal James (23-1, 10 KO’s)
James started his career 20-0 before dropping a unanimous decision to Yordenis Ugas in August of 2016. Up until that fight, James was a highly touted prospect but the loss sent him back in the welterweight pecking order. James now has three solid wins since that Ugas fight including a mild upset of veteran contender Diego Chaves in December of 2017. James has shown much improved fundamentals and a tightened defense since losing to Ugas. The natural talent is still there for James and with improved skills he will soon be making some noise in what is a talent laden welterweight division.
Yves Ulysse Jr. (15-1, 9 KO’s)
Ulysse was a somewhat unknown and raw 140-pound prospect when he faced fellow undefeated prospect Zachary Ochoa in March of 2017. Ulysse surprisingly dominated Ochoa, stopping him in seven rounds of a one-sided contest. Ulysse displayed a pinpoint sharp left jab, precision punching and dynamic hand speed that lifted him to elite prospect status almost overnight. But then later in the year, Ulysse dropped a split decision to veteran Steve Claggett that had many in the sport cross Ulysse off the elite prospect list. In his next fight, Ulysse took apart and exposed the power punching Cletus Seldin in winning a wide decision. Ulysse fought even better than he did against Ochoa and showed that he took quite a bit away from that hard fought loss to Claggett.
Yuandale Evans (20-1, 14 KO’s)
Yuandale Evans started his career 16-0 and along the way impressed many in the sport with his combination of speed and power. The future appeared bright and he confidently took an ESPN televised bout against fellow undefeated featherweight prospect Javier Fortuna in April of 2012. But things did not go well for Evans as Fortuna scored a devastating first round knockout. Evans would take three years off but since coming back has notched four straight wins including two in 2017 against fighters with a combined 44-1 record. In those two fights, Evans showcased much improved overall boxing skills in notching the upset wins. Evans has the natural talent and seems to now be putting it altogether.
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