Opinion | Feb 12 2019

Good week/Bad week: Gervonta Davis doesn’t hang around

It's a good week for Gervonta Davis but what are the WBA doing, wonders Matt Bevan
Gervonta Davis
Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

The Good

Gervonta Davis: “Tank” warned us he wouldn’t be hanging around long on Saturday. He was true to his word, as he decimated late replacement Hugo Ruiz inside a round to retain his WBA, more about them later, (Super) super-featherweight title. Ruiz was coming up in weight to step in for Abner Mares and he may not be rushing to do so again anytime soon, as Davis steamrolled him.

Davis mentioned in the week he wasn’t well. He paid attention to the doctor’s orders and got out of their in rapid fashion, probably spending more time getting to the ring than in it, but reminding us of his precocious talent. As ever with Davis, there is also something that lets him down and as ever, it was the weight, which he hit on the second trip to the scales. Is this the year, he really comes to the fore as a future superstar in the sport? So far, so good in 2019 for Gervonta Davis.

gervonta davis

Special Mention: Andrew Cancio was down in the first and looked to be out of his depth against WBA (them again) (regular) super-featherweight champion Alberto Machado. Then he found something special and obliterated Machado, finally dropping him three times to in the fourth to win the belt and announce himself to the boxing world. Cancio retired a couple of years back, after a stoppage defeat to Jo Jo Diaz, but his kids convinced him to return. They’ll certainly be getting extra pocket money as their dad returns to work this week as the new world champion.

The Bad

Alberto Machado: As good as Cancio was after the first round on Saturday, Machado was equally bad. In fact he was terrible. The previously unbeaten Puerto Rican has been down knocked down before, but he had no reply for Cancio and zero resistance. Every fighter has their special night, so perhaps this was Cancio’s dream performance, but he didn’t have to work very hard to find his way past the highly touted Machado, who has some big backers including Freddie Roach. It will be difficult to find his way back to the top, unless there is a rematch clause, after a performance like that.

Special Mention: Ishe Smith was a gentleman after his defeat at the hands of Erickson Lubin. On the night though, age caught up with him, as Lubin ran through him, living up to his pre-fight boasts that he would be the first man to stop the former IBF super-welterweight champion. He did that in three rounds, putting him down four times and handing the 40-year-old veteran his first stoppage defeat and stretched his losing streak to three, as he remained winless since 2016. Smith showed his class in a video which has been shared across the internet as he shared a moment with Lubin in his dressing room, where he seemed to confirm that his career in the sport could well be over. On Saturday’s performance it might be time. The build-up was at times unsavoury and the fight even more so for Smith, who was an unfortunate pawn as Lubin reminded us what he can do.

The Ugly

The WBA: No need for a special mention in the ugly section this week, as these guys get the super, regular and interim award. Last weekend was a perfect example that the WBA do nothing to help the sport and their only interest is in sanctioning fees. They decided to allow both of their, ridiculous in the first place, super-featherweight champions to fight on the same night but not against each other. Having once claimed that they were going to “encourage” champions in the same weight class to take on each other and create one champion in every division, they have gone completely against their word and are sanctioning more than one champion in no less than 11 of the 17 weight classes. The aim of every young fighter is to become a world champion, yet thanks to the WBA they have muddied the waters so much that some of the fighters don’t know whether they have achieved their childhood dream or not. A scourge on the sport, as are the promoters and broadcasters who routinely allow fighters to fight for the WBA titles and build up interim and regular champions as world champions, in the same division as a ‘super’ champion.

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