Undefeated former WBA super-featherweight champion Gervonta Davis will be making his highly-anticipated lightweight debut against seasoned former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa as part of a double-header Atlanta, Georgia.
Gamboa, a 2004 Olympic gold-medallist at flyweight, unified the featherweight championship in 2011 against veteran Orlando Salido, and was seemingly poised to become a superstar in the professional ranks before his progress was hindered by sustained periods of inactivity in 2012 and 2013.
Indeed, general consensus is that the Cuban has never quite been able to reach the same glittering heights as a professional, that he did as an amateur. In moving up to lightweight, the Cuban suffered a dramatic ninth-round stoppage defeat to Terence Crawford in 2014 for the WBO lightweight title, and fought infrequently throughout the next couple of years.
After a thoroughly disappointing display against Robinson Castellanos in a WBA super-featherweight title eliminator in May 2017, Gamboa rebounded with a contentious majority-decision nod over Jason Sosa, later that year in New York City.
A year later, Gamboa – who has flattered to deceive for much of his professional career – confounded his critics with a sensational second-round knockout of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez, and now has the opportunity to become a two-weight world champion with a win over Baltimore’s “Tank”, who made a triumphant homecoming this summer after demolishing Ricardo Nunez in two rounds.
Davis, who was proclaimed by his promoter Floyd Mayweather as the “future of boxing”, made a name for himself in his seventeenth fight in January 2017, after methodically beating IBF super-featherweight champion Jose Pedraza to a bloody pulp in what was a deliciously spiteful display of vicious counterpunching and slick movement.
After effortlessly dispatching of Liam Walsh on away soil, Davis lost his title on the scales before producing a lacklustre display against Fransisco Fonseca, before joining forces with Kevin Cunningham and pummelling Jesus Cuellar into submission inside three rounds in April 2018.
Reuniting with Calvin Ford, Davis registered two routine stoppage victories over Hugo Ruiz and Ricardo Nunez and will now be looking to make waves in the lightweight division.
Ultimately, expect Davis’ strength and sheer explosiveness to enable him to make a statement against Gamboa, as he blasts the Cuban away within a couple of rounds.
WBA interim light-heavyweight titlist Jean Pascal will also faces former super-middleweight champion Badou Jack in an intriguing showdown between two former champions.
After suffering setbacks to the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, and Dmitry Bivol in recent times, the battle-tested Canadian breathed new life into his illustrious career with a shock technical-decision victory over Marcus Browne, after dropping and roughing up the southpaw favourite over eight rounds.
Jack meanwhile, suffered a punishing unanimous decision loss to Browne in January, after drawing with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson the previous year.
Pascal is hopeful that his championship experience and tenacity will enable him to keep riding the wave of momentum and to add another chapter to his story against the Swede.
However, in Jack, we can argue that Pascal is facing someone who is equally stubborn and perhaps in a slightly better position to claim victory at this stage of his career.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________