Is Gervonta Davis Lacking the Stripes of a Truly Elite Talent?
For reigning WBA Regular lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (29-0, 27 KOs), his popularity is unchallenged. He’s also a fighter ranked by some as one of the elite fighters in the sport. But is Tank a fighter deserving of that distinction?
Davis has reached superstar status in this sport. He’s a pay-per-view fighter who pulls in big numbers every time he fights. After his last outing, a seventh-round stoppage over Ryan Garcia in April 2023, Tank anointed himself as the new face of boxing. However, that title should signal one is at the upper echelons of the sport in more than just popularity. It must be backed up by talent and achievements. Up to this point, that has yet to be proven for the hard-hitting 28-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland.
LACKING IN RESUME?
Davis is often grouped with unified lightweight champion Devin Haney and two division champions Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez. But as often as Tank has talked about fighting those fighters, he’s yet to step in the ring with them.
To his credit, Davis is an undefeated, multi-divisional world champion blessed with tremendous punching power. But closer inspection of his pro record reveals a fighter who has yet to face an elite boxer in their prime. To be frank, Tank has had his share of difficulty when he’s stepped up in competition.
Gervonta Davis was nearly taken the distance by a past-his-prime Yuriorkis Gamboa before finally stopping him in the twelfth round in December 2019. Gamboa was injured during that match and couldn’t move around the ring without limping.
Davis scored a highlight-reel sixth-round stoppage over three-division champion Leo Santa Cruz in October 2020. But this was a Santa Cruz who began his career as a bantamweight, and up until getting knocked out, he gave Davis all he could handle.
Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz is not an A-level fighter, but he made things very uncomfortable for Davis during their December 2021 battle, which Tank won by decision. Rolando “Rolly” Romero gave Davis difficulty before suffering a one-punch knockout in May 2022. The most dominant performance of his career was in January 2017, when he stopped Jose Pedraza to capture the IBF junior lightweight title.
TIME TO STEP THINGS UP
Tank has been idle since the fight with Garcia due to serving time in a Baltimore County jail for breaking terms of an ordered 90-day house arrest. Word on the street is that his return to the ring is imminent. He posted the following messages on social media:
The assumption is that Davis is referring to Haney, Stevenson, and Lopez. Boxing fans hope that he fights any of those men in 2024.
Here’s the reality: Davis has been a world champion since 2017. He’s had ample time to face the best around his division from 130-140 pounds. But many in the boxing community have not held his feet to the fire.
Davis is in his physical prime. There’s no excuse for him not to seek out those matches. If he doesn’t, he nor anyone else has the right to call him an elite level fighter. As it stands right now, he simply is not.