Gervonta Davis, fresh off a stunning win last time out, moves up to Super Lightweight to challenge Mario Barrios for the WBA ‘Regular’ title in the main event.
Both men come into the contest unbeaten in a combined 50 fights. Davis (24-0, KO23) arrives in Georgia as a two-weight world champion, having first reigned as IBF Super Featherweight champion in 2017, halting Jose Pedraza in seven rounds.
The Baltimore man then travelled to London to wipe out Liam Walsh in three, one sided rounds, but three months later, in August 2017, he lost his belt on the scales, before going on to knock out Franciso Fonseca in eight.
‘Tank’ remained at 130 pounds, winning the WBA strap with a third round stoppage of Jesus Cuellar, and defended twice before moving up to Lightweight, where he claimed the vacant WBA crown with a final frame TKO win over Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Davis’ last outing was arguably his best, as he elevated himself to ‘Super’ champion status with a superb uppercut that flattened Leo Santa Cruz on impact in the sixth round.
Davis has only needed the distance once in his career, way back in 2014, and he will be looking for another statement win against Barrios.
‘El Azteca’ Barrios (26-0, KO17) is a secondary WBA champion, and not to be confused with undisputed ten stone king, Josh Taylor, who holds the ‘Super’ title at the weight.
Nevertheless, the 26-year-old Texan holds a belt that Davis desires, and he puts his crown on the line for a second time. He won the vacant title in September 2019, dropping Batyr Akhmedov twice before taking a points win in Los Angeles.
Barrios’ last fight came on the undercard to Davis v Santa Cruz, where he knocked out Ryan Karl in six rounds at the Alamodome.
Prediction: Davis is a special talent, and has had the backing of Al Haymon and Floyd Mayweather through his career, with the pair having great belief in the 26-year-old.
He could be on a collision course for the likes of Josh Taylor with a win here, and I think he can remove Barrios from battle in the championship rounds.
An intriguing clash comes at Super Welterweight, where former WBA (Super), IBF and IBO champion, Jeison Rosario (20-2-1, KO14) returns from defeat in his last contest to take on WBC Silver champion, Erickson Lubin (23-1, KO16).
Dominican Rosario shocked the 154 pound division by stopping Julian Williams in five in January 2020, but failed in an attempt to add the WBC title in his very next outing, knocked out in eight by Jermell Charlo after being down three times during the fight. ‘Banana’ was well in the fight at its conclusion.
Lubin shares a common opponent with Rosario in Charlo, who scored a first round knockout in a WBC title tilt in October 2017.
The 25-year-old ‘Hammer’ won his current belt in his last fight, taking a clear decision win against Terrell Gausha in September 2020. Rosario has heavy hands, and he can stop Lubin in around six to eight rounds.
Former Mario Barrios victim, Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, KO7) continues his comeback, and the Uzbekh born Super Lightweight faces former world title challenger, Algenis Mendez (25-6-3, KO12) over a scheduled twelve.
Akhmedov returned from his loss to Barrios to knock out Rey Perez in a round, and now meets Mendez, who has two draws and a loss in his last three starts.
The Dominican has only lost via the short route once, a 2016 stoppage loss to Robert Easter Junior, and Akhmdov may need twelve laborious rounds to take the win.