Davis vs. Gamboa – Rising superstar Gervonta Davis will make his anticipated debut at lightweight against experienced and former world flyweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Saturday, December 28th.
Davis (22-0, 21 KOs) and Gamboa (32-2, 18 KOs) will square off for the vacant WBA title.
Tale of the Tape
This could easily be Davis’s stiffest test to date. Gamboa is vastly experienced and usually starts fast while making the most of his incredible hand and foot speed.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that there is a significant 12-year age gap between the fighters with Gamboa turning 38 when the two collide. On the other hand, Davis has not yet hit his prime but has greatly improved since his early days.
Gamboa has wanted this fight for a while but Davis is really peaking now so it’s a very dangerous fight indeed for the older man to pit himself against an aggressive young lion like Davis.
Gamboa, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, is a respected name in boxing having won gold at the 2004 Olympics and obtained success in the professional ranks as well. Gamboa suffered a major upset in 2017 at the hands of Mexican pedestrian fighter Robinson Castellanos when he quit on his stool after suffering two knockdowns. His only other defeat came against pound-for-pound sensation Terence Crawford in 2014.
Davis has stopped his last 13 straight opponents and the Baltimore native’s ferocious power is the reason why. In fact, you would have to go back to 2014 to discover his last fight that went to the scorecards in a six-rounder. However, Davis’s greatest foe has been on the scales, where he lost his first belt at junior lightweight for failing to make weight.
This fight comes as no surprise as Gamboa has been campaigning for this matchup for a while. The Cuban would have fought Davis at 130 pounds having fought himself at that weight but Gervonta vacated the secondary title instead to move up in weight.
The two men appeared together on the same card when Davis knocked out Ricardo Nunez in a junior lightweight title defense in a homecoming fight in July. Gamboa knocked out former junior lightweight world titlist Roman “Rocky” Martinez in the second round of the co-feature. The understanding was that these bangers would meet next if they both won.
Spotlight on Atlanta
An interesting backdrop is that their fight will be the first world title fight in Atlanta since 1998. It’s notable considering the fact that the city has hosted some monumental fights in the past featuring the likes of Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield.
The biggest and most significant boxing event in the city was by far Ali’s comeback fight in 1970. Ali had been stripped of his heavyweight title and exiled from the sport after his controversial conviction on draft evasion in 1967. Ali received to fight Jerry Quarry in Georgia while his case was still under appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Greatest” would go on to stop Quarry in 3 rounds at City Auditorium on October 26, 1970 to mark his triumphant return.
Davis hopes to sell out his third straight venue of the year in three different cities and to make Atlanta a permanent fixture.
“The spotlight will be on Atlanta,” said Davis. “They haven’t had a big fight there in many years. So it’s a dream to bring big time boxing back just like I did in Baltimore.”
An impressive victory over an accomplished fighter like Gamboa would be a huge statement for the ultra-talented but untested Davis. It is well known that Davis is in the crosshairs of unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who is interested in fighting him as well as Teofimo Lopez in 2020. Gamboa is no pushover and can make things very interesting if properly motivated. Physically, these fighters matchup evenly with both men of equal height although Gamboa gives up nearly two inches in reach to the southpaw. I think this fight will be closer than many expect with Gamboa using his speed and well-placed shots to trouble Davis in the early going. Davis can be sluggish at the start of a fight and I see Gamboa bagging a few rounds while giving him plenty to think about. Gervonta will eventually figure his man out though and the onslaught will begin to unfold.
Verdict: Davis by TKO/KO in Round 6
By Richard Corley