Gervonta Davis may well be the best young fighter out of Baltimore since the great Sugar Ray Leonard.
With all that speed and blinding combinations, he certainly has a lot of Leonard in him. What we don’t know yet is if he can take a shot like Leonard or handle fame as well as the great man.
He looks very special, with all but one of his 20 wins coming by knockout. He walked through an unbeaten Jose Pedraza in seven rounds to claim the IBF super featherweight crown two years ago, the same Pedraza that went the distance with Vasyl Lomachenko.
And he ran through unbeaten Liam Walsh at the Copperbox in London four months later, in his first defence, before inflicting a first loss on Francisco Fonseca.
Unfortunately, Davis failed to make the weight that night so his title was declared vacant. No bother, he stopped Jesus Cuellar to claim the WBA belt last April.
He makes his first defence against Hugo Ruiz in California tonight, in what will be only his second fight in 18 months.
Davis, 24, needs to be kept busy to keep his head pointing in the right direction. The failure to make weight was perhaps an indication of discipline issues. Inactivity has been a point of tension between Davis and his promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr, though it looks settled with the promise of three definite dates this year.
Davis, the youngest of three, was taken into care at the age of five. An uncle introduced him to boxing, aged eight, to keep him out of trouble. He admits it changed the course of his life.
I don’t expect Ruiz to detain Davis too long. The future is for Davis to shape up at super featherweight or lightweight, with the prospect of a mouthwatering showdown with Lomachenko.
Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone @McGuigans_Gym @CyclonePromo
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