Last Saturday night, promoter Leonard Ellerbe was pleased with Gervonta ‘Tank Davis after watching him dismantle WBA World light welterweight champion Mario Barrios by an eleventh-round knockout at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
After the fight, Ellerbe claimed that Tank Davis is bringing ‘excitement’ back to the sport of boxing with his wins over the likes of Barrios, Leo Santa Cruz, and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
This wasn’t the greatest performance from Tank, who looked confused and desperate before his promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr gave him a motivational message in his corner after the seventh round.
Things were getting desperate for Tank, which is not a good sign when you factor in the lesser fighter he was facing in Barrios. This was a secondary champion Tank Davis was fighting, and clearly not even a top-five guy in the 140-lb division. The fact that Tank was struggling badly with Barrios showed how limited he is as a fighter.
However, Floyd Mayweather Jr disappointed the media at the post-fight press conference by revealing that Tank (25-0, 24 KOs) will only be facing in-house opponents with Mayweather Promotions and PBC.
“He [Tank] gives the fans exactly what they want to see,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe about Gervonta Davis post-fight last Saturday night after his win over Barrios.
“There’s no other fighter out there that’s doing that like he’s doing that, and I can’t say that enough.
“And this is what it’s about. He’s the one bringing excitement really back to the sport. So now when people hear his name, it’s like ‘that kid right there, he delivers.”
Ellerbe is dead wrong about there not being other fighters out there that are bringing excitement like Tank. Indeed, last Saturday night, Vasily Lomachenko did a better job than Tank, looking way more impressive with his ninth round knockout victory over Masayoshi Nakatani in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Of course, you can’t expect Ellerbe to admit that Tank was far less impressive than Lomachenko because that would be undermining his job as a promoter. Nevertheless, Barrios showed that Tank is not good enough to move to the next level to fight the likes of Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis, or Jose Ramirez.
If Tank chooses to stay at 140, Mayweather Promoters will need to match him carefully because the gravy train could end if they put him with one of the quality fighters.
“It’s tough if you’re an opponent because I can imagine being in the ring with this kid [Gervonta] and the mental pressure he puts on you,” Ellerbe continued with his praise of Tank Davis.
“Them shots are coming 100 mph, and he’s walking you down. You saw the little guy walk the big guy down, just like we did three weeks ago.”
If Ellerbe truly believes in Tank, he needs to talk Floyd Mayweather Jr into letting him fight one of the talented fighters at 135 like Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Lomachenko, or Ryan Garcia. The fight that many boxing fans would like to see is Tank facing the winner of the Teofimo vs. Lomachenko II rematch.
Mayweather’s announcement means that if the other top fighters at 130, 135, and 140 wish to fight Davis, they’ll need to sign up with his promotional company or PBC.
Unfortunately, there would still be no guarantees that fighters would get a shot at Tank. It would be up to Mayweather to decide whether they’ll get the shot.
In the big scheme of things, Mayweather’s decision to only match Tank Davis with the in-house competition will limit his popularity, holding him back from becoming a huge star. In addition, Mayweather’s desire to protect Tank from the top fighters will ultimately stunt his career.
It’s up to Tank whether he wants to put his foot down by demanding that Floyd match him with the best and not limit him to just in-house fights.