Image Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Gervonta “Tank” Davis is a star.
The 24-year-old, two-division world champion returned to his native Baltimore in emphathic fashion on Saturday, defending his WBA Super Featherweight World Championship with a second-round TKO of mandatory challenger, Ricardo Núñez.
Fighting for the first time at home as a world champion, and in the first world title fight in Baltimore in nearly 50 years, Davis performed in front of a sold-out crowd of 14,686 at the Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore.
After a first round where he peppered Núñez to the body, the youngest reigning American world champion landed a series of vicious left hooks flush to Núñez’s face that sent the challenger stumbling into the ropes in the second round. With Núñez (21-3, 19 KOs) leaning against the ropes and unable to defend himself, referee Harvey Dock stepped in to stop the contest at 1:33.
After the death of Maxim Dadashev only 5 days before in the MGM Grand National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, State officials were taking no chances and rightfully stopped the Davis fight when Nunez seemed really in trouble.
Doing It For The H-O-O-D?
However, the fight came on the heels of the latest inflammatory statements made by President Donald Trump where he took shots at Congressman Elijah Cummings and his district of Baltimore.
….As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Trump returned to his normal disparaging characterizations of regions inhabited by predominately black and brown people targeting the “Charm City” viciously.
The comments stoked the ire of Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young who issued a statement the morning of the fight calling Trump “a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world.”
It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero. pic.twitter.com/TJdbST6Md9
— Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young (@mayorbcyoung) July 27, 2019
On Wednesday, before Trump’s ignorant venom was spewed, Mayor Young presented Davis with the Key to the City of Baltimore at a City Hall ceremony.
I asked Tank about Trump’s comments, but the young champ was quickly stopped from answering by his mentor Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who took the mic and demonstrated that his verbal defensive skills were just as good as those from his days in the ring.
“Well we love the City of Baltimore and we like to stay positive. This is a young champion and we are here to talk about what he did tonight, this is his night.”
“This city is truly unbelievable. We look forward to coming back doing another big fight, I’m pretty sure.”
Mayweather knows Donald Trump. While he shut down reports that the two are “friends”, he famously flew to Washington, D.C. for 45’s inauguration ceremony, and both Trump and his son, Donald Trump, Jr., have flaunted their relationship with Mayweather over social media in an apparent attempt to pander to voters of color.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 17, 2016
The fact that both Davis and Mayweather refused to give an opinion on the subject is very telling as it opens up a Pandora’s Box for “Money”.
The black and brown residents of the city sold out the Royal Farms Arena in support of their own. How Mayweather can justify reaping the benefits from promoting in the city while his political “buddy” tears at its very fabric is a confluence he deftly avoided.
Mayweather constantly reminds the public that at times, Tank doesn’t listen to his counsel as his boxing business progenitor. The two famously “fought” over Twitter and Davis’ close affiliation with Mayweather wannabe, Adrien Broner, has always been viewed as problematic.
However, to be a champion and represent an underserved, and now targeted, city like Baltimore is a privilege, and former champions like Muhammad Ali knew that very well. Louisville was his bastion and he represented the city like no other as a champion for both social justice and fisticuffs.
Today, only heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder follows suit with his “Til’ This Day” comments about the injustices faced by people of color going viral and exposing his sense of consciousness.
Although Mayweather & Co. have touted their ambition purely as the love of “Money”, literally labeling themselves “The Money Team” they must understand that entrepreneurship and financial gains are hollow if it’s all you stand for.
Tank Davis had the perfect opportunity to have his “Til’ This Day” moment, but it was stifled by the in-the-moment crisis management strategy of Mayweather.
The people of Baltimore deserve a champion that not only fights for the sanctity of his record, but also for the pride of his people. The Money Team machine missed the mark and continues to show the world that when it matters most, they will not show up for those who support them the most.