When it comes to Gervonta Davis, there is clearly a lot of work to be done.
Davis defeated Jose Pedraza to become the IBF Junior Lightweight champion last January and found himself a beneficiary of an Adrien Broner controversy a few months ago, but so many questions remain about how good Davis really is. Pedraza’s ceiling was made obvious well before Davis pelted him in seven rounds; he was the weakest link in the division who was sure to lose to the first real test presented in front of him. In inheriting the belt, he has also inherited the title.
Does a similar fate await Davis as he travels overseas to face Liam Walsh in his own backyard?
The Baltimore native was able to club Pedraza into submission, with the emphasis on club. They don’t call him “Tank” for nothing. Davis works best as a pressure fighter who can let his best punches go when his opponent is complacent or immobile along the ropes, but his tendency to load up and telegraph his punches is sure to get him in trouble against opponents who are willing to take chances or smother him in clinches while he gets set.
For what it’s worth, Walsh has fought the more established competition and has earned his shot with good combination punching and movement, something which Davis could struggle with from the onset. Not to mention that Walsh is going to be the bigger man in the ring and could very well use his small height advantage to maximum effort should he rehydrate heavier than Davis. Walsh won’t fight in a manner where he can’t see Davis’ shots coming, but will definitely work his way inside with his faster hands and minimizing the champion’s devastating blows by keeping the firing range as narrow as possible.
We haven’t seen Walsh take a good shot, nor has he fought anybody with the perceived power as Davis, but we’ll know early on in the fight if he can take what Davis is giving him. Too often, speedier fighters get way too overconfident or even complacent when it looks like they are raking up the points and even pulling away and they get caught when the other guy gets desperate enough. This could very well be happening late in the fight where Davis is going to need a dramatic moment to save his title.
The idea was that TMT was going to bring Davis along as a champion learning on the job, but his first assignment sees the deck stacked against him in more ways than one. A bad style matchup, a motivated opponent looking to win a world title in his home court and a step up too high awaits Davis in the UK, and he is going to have to rise above his grade to keep his title.
Though it won’t be as brutal as Calzaghe/Lacy, expect Liam Walsh to capture the IBF Junior Lightweight belt by outworking and dominating a flat, knockout-minded Gervonta Davis for the duration of their 12 round battle this weekend.