LAST time out in February, Gervonta Davis steamrollered through ex-WBC super-bantamweight champ Hugo Ruiz in under three minutes to make a successful initial defence of his WBA super-feather strap. After dispatching the late substitute, the 21-0 (20) Davis bellowed: “We’re coming to Baltimore. We’re going home, baby!” This Saturday (July 27), the Maryland man will do exactly that when he fights in his hometown for the first time since his fourth professional bout six years ago. Opposing the two-time 130lb titlist at the Royal Farms Arena is his mandatory challenger, Panamanian Ricardo Nunez, 21-2 (19).
As well as trouncing Ruiz, Davis has also notched impressive inside-schedule victories over other notable names in Jose Pedraza, Liam Walsh and Jesus Cuellar. The sturdy southpaw had around 220 amateur contests and has developed into a formidable finisher as a pro. Quick, accurate, aggressive and ruthless, the 24-year-old launches torrents of hurtful hooks to head and body.
Like Davis, Nunez boasts an intimidating knockout ratio, although he is yet to face any noteworthy opposition. The La Chorrera native will be making his US debut, having only fought outside of Panama once before. Nicknamed “El Cientifico” (The Scientist) due to his composed and calculated approach in the ring, Nunez has operated as high as the super-lightweight division, but has recently settled at super-featherweight.
The man from Central America, who turns 26 the day after the fight, likes to press forward with fast jabs and one-twos. When he gets in close, he is happy to let his hands go in the form of hooks and uppercuts. As well as putting his shots together effectively, he also targets the body well. However, he can be tagged, as evidenced by the fact that he has been dropped and KO’d in the past, although he did stop his conqueror six months later. Against the ferocious Davis, he simply cannot afford to leave himself open.
Considering the monumental leap up in class that Nunez is embarking upon, it will be a surprise if he manages to reach the halfway mark of this 12-rounder.
The chief support on this TGB and Mayweather co-promotion, live on Showtime, sees a pair of experienced former world champions collide over 10 rounds at lightweight. Yuriorkis Gamboa, 29-2 (17), is a previous unified featherweight ruler, while Roman Martinez, 30-3-3 (18), has reigned as WBO super-feather king on three occasions. Both, though, are now past their best.
Classy Cuban Gamboa possesses fine technical skills, as proved by the Olympic gold medal he earned in 2004. The Miami-based 37-year-old will have to overcome disadvantages in height and reach in order to prosper against wiry Puerto Rican Martinez. The game Vega Baja resident is a year younger than his opponent and will look to exploit his vulnerabilities, as Gamboa has been floored multiple times during his career. Martinez’s latest outing in March was his first since coming out of retirement. The all-action aggressor had been inactive for nearly three years prior to this, which is likely to swing things in his rival’s favour. Gamboa has been the far busier of the two in recent times, so expect him to prevail on points.
The Verdict As if facing Davis wasn’t a daunting enough task for Nunez, he has to travel to away turf, too.