One of boxing's most prominent stars will return to the squared circle this weekend. Gervonta Davis will headline his fourth straight pay-per-view when he puts his version of the WBA lightweight title on the line against Rolando “Rolly” Romero at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Heading into the match, Gervonta Davis is a massive favorite and is expected to win emphatically. But the fight should be exciting for however long it lasts. Both men are power punchers with knockout ratios over 85%.
While the fight is getting its share of attention, plenty of focus has been placed on the fact Davis has said it will probably be his last one under the Mayweather Promotions banner.
On an episode of the ProBox TV Podcast featuring former world champions Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver, Paulie Malignaggi, and host Mike Goldberg, they spoke about what leaving Mayweather Promotions could mean for Gervonta Davis, his future in the sport, and his relationship with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A fighter leaving his promoter isn't a new concept in boxing. In fact, Mayweather himself left promoter Top Rank by buying out of his contract with a $750,000 payment in 2006. This move by Mayweather would turn out to be one of the most fruitful in boxing history. He would go on to become boxing's biggest box office attraction.
Mayweather may have been the most successful, but he wasn't the first fighter to take a risk and promote himself. Sugar Ray Leonard had his career guided by longtime attorney and adviser Mike Trainer, leading him to the decade's most significant fights and paydays without signing with a promoter.
Oscar De La Hoya founded Golden Boy Promotions in 2002 after being promoted by Top Rank for years and established himself as one of the top promoters in all of boxing. For years, Roy Jones promoted himself and fighters like Winky Wright under Square Ring Promotions, including his rematch with Bernard Hopkins and fight with Joe Calzaghe in 2008.
Gervonta Davis isn't yet the star that Mayweather, Leonard, Jones, and De La Hoya were, but his potential in garnering solid pay-per-view numbers while drawing large crowds to his fights shows that he could be on the cusp of reaching the next level of stardom.
“Honestly, there are strong enough personalities,” Roy Jones answered Mike Goldberg on the ProBox TV Podcast when asked if today's fighters have the strength of character and personality to promote themselves. “They're just afraid, and you got to step out on faith and do stuff like that. And when you step out on faith, you gotta first believe in the good lord above, and secondly, you gotta believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself you not going nowhere. So I think there are guys that are strong enough to do it they just gotta do it. I think Terence Crawford is strong enough to do, he just hasn't done it yet. I spoke to him a few times, I kind of hinted that t him, I don't know if he caught the hint or not. With the social media era you really don't need a promoter.” Jake and Logan Paul showed folks that reality, he said. Jones then pondered if he was in prime form today, and decided to bypass the promoters and toot his own horn. “Can you imagine had I did it right now? What? I mean, me and Bill Gates would be neighbors!”
While there doesn't seem to be any animosity on the surface between Gervonta Davis and Mayweather and their mutual likely parting of ways–you can hear Tank say that in his May 23 chat with Brian Custer–some underlying history between the two could be spurring some animosity. Mayweather had guided the Baltimore knockout artist through his most successful fights. Still, some criticism has been thrown at the retired defensive wizard for doing more self-promoting than promoting his fighter.
Paul Malignaggi, on the ProBox Podcast, touched on that behind the scenes stuff that maybe influenced this story arc more than any of us outside looking in know. Go to the 10:11 mark, Paulie shares the view on the TMZ side of the street.
“Here at the ProBox TV Podcast we're gonna give you a reason why we're the best podcast, because we'll go into the TMZ rumor mill of boxing, as well…Don't take what I heard without a grain of salt,” Malignaggi stated, “but I remember first hearing of an issue between Floyd and Gervonta Davis before Gervonta fought Jose Pedraza (1-14-2017).”
Yes, he went there, and spoke on the rumor mill offerings, which in the past have had Floyd irked at Tank for hooking up with his daughter. And that's germane to where Tank is today, and maybe helps explain why Floyd Mayweather set up an exhibition bout in Saudi Arabia against Don Moore on PPV before Davis' fight with Romero.
Before that, Mayweather faced Logan Paul in another exhibition 20 days before Davis's fight with Mario Barrios on June 26, 2021. The Gervonta Davis v Barrios bout was barely mentioned during the Mayweather-Paul PPV telecast, leaving many to wonder how serious Mayweather is at promoting anyone but himself.
“These guys, when you a champion man, we have some of the biggest egos you can even imagine,” said Antonio Tarver on the ProBox TV Podcast. “So when you dealing with guys like Mayweather, Gervonta Davis, Baltimore kid, things are going on that we may not be privy to. So what I have noticed, and I must say this, what I notice, is that from a promotional standpoint, Floyd Mayweather being inactive and retired is kind of peculiar to me. That it seems like the last two fights that Gervonta Davis had, it seems like Mayweather jumped right in front two weeks before. Pay-per-view exhibition. So how am I as a fighter feeling? Right. And this is my promoter doing this. And he was set to fight two weeks before Gervonta Davis this time.”
The path to superstardom isn't paved on one road. There are multiple ways to reach that destination, but betting on yourself and taking that risk is needed to find out if you have what it takes.
Winning against Romero isn't a foregone conclusion for Gervonta Davis, but should he win, the next chapter of his career, if it's without Mayweather Promotions, could prove to be his most exciting, a turning point that takes him from a good fighter with potential to a great one.
For honest takes that pull no punches, check out ProBox TV and the ProBox TV Podcast.