Baltimore boxer Gervonta “Tank” Davis’ homecoming victory over Panamanian Ricardo Nunez July 27 brought him a step closer to what is the 24-year old fighter’s eventual goal, which is to be a pay-per-view superstar. That would be following in the footsteps of the guy who is directing Davis’ career, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who made millions of dollars during his fighting career.
Davis raised his record to 22-0 (21 knockouts) and defended his WBA super featherweight title with a fierce second-round TKO over Nunez in front of a jubilant sellout crowd of 14,686 at Royal Farms Arena, which included Raven Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed.
The electricity in the stands surprised even Davis.
“I knew it was going to be big, but I didn’t know it was going to be that many people,” Davis said after the fight.
There was an unmistakable mutual embrace between Davis and his fans.
“I appreciate Baltimore and Baltimore appreciates me,” he said.
The fight itself was quick and decisive. After a first round where Davis appeared to invite Nunez to make a move, the 24-year old West Baltimore boxer went on the attack.
In the second round, Davis knocked down Nunez with a lightning right but Nunez was able to regain his feet. Moments later, Davis brought the fight to an end with a flurry that featured Davis’ crushing left hand.
Nunez’s head snapped back, he hit the ropes and before there could be further damage, referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight with 1:27 left in the round.
“I saw that (Nunez) was defenseless and I had to stop it,” Dock said.
Nunez, fighting for the first time in the United States, is now 21-3.
Davis said it was obviously the right decision by the referee.
“I think he was out on his feet, his head snapped way over the ropes so I don’t think it was an early stoppage,” Davis said.
Now, the stage is set for Davis to take the next big step -- a pay-per-view fight. His preference is a unification bout with IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer, who also won a fight in Texas on Saturday. Davis used to hold the IBF belt but lost it when he failed to make weight before a fight in August 2017.
“The ultimate goal is to turn this kid into a pay-per-view star,” Mayweather said of Davis. Mayweather’s company has been managing Davis. “If a Tevin Farmer-Tank fight happens, we look forward to our first pay-per-view. We don’t know how many homes we can do but Tank’s fan base is growing. So that would be Tank’s coming out party on pay-per-view versus Tevin Farmer. I’m pretty sure we can do great numbers.”
Davis and Farmer have been sniping at each other for a while.
“Both fighters want the fight,” Davis said. “We’ve gone back and forth on social media for two years now. So it’s time, it’s time, it's time.”
Mayweather said such a fight should be held somewhere on the East Coast, perhaps in New York City.
Davis’ career started at Baltimore’s Upton Boxing Center where he was mentored by city legend Calvin Ford. Ford was emotional following the Nunez bout.
“It’s amazing, man. I would have never thought in a million years,” Ford said. “As an amateur, he was doing his thing and (as a professional) he’s still doing his thing. Baltimore, he’s your champion. He’s straight out of Baltimore. You should be proud of that … very proud of it.”
Over the past week or so, two fighters died of injuries suffered in the ring, Hugo Santillan in Argentina and Russian Maxim Dadashev, following a fight at MGM Grand National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.
With that backdrop, Davis said after defeating Nunez, “First of all I want to give my condolences to all the fighters we lost this week. I’m grateful my opponent and I are unharmed. It’s a blessing.”
On the undercard, Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa knocked out Puerto Rico’s Roman “Rocky” Martinez in the second round. If a Davis-Farmer fight does not materialize, Gamboa, who is 37, could be Davis’ next opponent.
“We got to keep him busy if Tevin Farmer doesn’t come about,” Mayweather said of Davis.
Davis was asked about critical remarks President Donald Trump made regarding Baltimore over the weekend. In criticizing Maryland U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, Trump said of Cumming’s district that it is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
Before Davis could answer, Mayweather jumped in saying, “We love the city of Baltimore. We like to stay positive. We’re here to talk about this young champion and what he did tonight. It’s his night. … This city is truly unbelievable, and we look forward to coming back.”