Like many of us, former featherweight champ Barry McGuigan likes what he sees in unbeaten sensation Gervonta Davis. The Irish legend, writing in his regular column for The Mirror, goes as far as to suggest the 24 year old southpaw “may well be the best young fighter out of Baltimore since the great Sugar Ray Leonard.” High praise indeed, but McGuigan – who ruled the 126 pound division for a time in the 1980s – isn’t fully ready to give it just yet.
With any young fighter, there are of course question marks next to Davis’ name: “With all that speed and blinding combinations, he certainly has a lot of Leonard in him,” McGuigan writes, before adding, “What we don’t know yet is if he can take a shot like Leonard or handle fame as well as the great man.”
Already a two-time super-featherweight champ, Davis has impressed McGuigan with his wins over Jose Pedraza and Jesus Cuellar: “He looks very special,” Barry writes. “He walked through an unbeaten Jose Pedraza in seven rounds, the same Pedraza that went the distance with Vasyl Lomachenko.”
Like many of us, McGuigan wants to see Davis, 20-0(19) take on pound-for-pound best Lomachenko, at lightweight. Tonight, as fans know, “Tank” will fight late sub Hugo Ruiz, 39-4(33). McGuigan expects Davis to take care of business in pretty quick time: “I don’t expect Ruiz to detain Davis too long,” he writes. “The future is for Davis to shape up at super-featherweight or lightweight, with the prospect of a mouth-watering fight with Lomachenko.”
It could well be up to Floyd Mayweather to make that fight for his up and coming star, and of course Davis to keep winning (an upset-minded Ruiz says he will KO Davis tonight) but down the line, a fight between Lomachenko and Davis could prove to be a massive showdown. And if he can win that one, those Sugar Ray Leonard comparisons will be justified.
One of Davis’ big problems has been making weight. He failed to do so ahead of a world title defence against Francisco Fonseca in 2017 and Davis had to return to the scale to make it under 130 for tonight’s fight. That move up to 135 seems imminent.