When Leonard Ellerbe, the svengali-esque CEO of Mayweather Promotions, met Gervonta “Tank” Davis he didn’t know there was already a plan laid out by the company’s namesake, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., but he welcomed it nonetheless.
“I met Gervonta actually Floyd introduced me to him in the boxing gym; Floyd was watching him spar. I kind of caught the tail end but Floyd said he was going to sign him. It’s just been exciting times working with him.”
Davis is trained by Calvin Ford, who was the inspiration for the character Dennis “Cutty” Wise on the hit HBO television series, The Wire. The duo produced a very successful amateur career replete with the commensurate accouterment of won national championships. Davis finished his amateur career with an impressive record of 20615.
Amid all these accomplishments, Davis hails from the Sandtown-Winchester community in West Baltimore, which is one of the most crime-ridden areas of the city.
Fighter of The Week: Former IBF Champ Gervonta Davis fights to prove that he has what it takes to stay on top of the Super Featherweight division as he battles Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar for the 130-lb belt title in his next bout on April 21, at the Barclays Center.
“He means everything to the city of Baltimore. He puts the city on his back, he loves the city, I love the city. It’s a tremendous city. Oftentimes we hear of the negative things that have happened in the city but also there are the positive things that the city has gone through. Going through troubling times the city stayed together.
“He’s going to play a large role in continuing to mentor the younger generation and setting a positive example and showing them that when you dream, dreams can come true.”
Mayweather Promotions has gone through a bit of an athletic shift when it comes to who is its top dog is now that Floyd has left the ring. With Badou Jack chasing greatness against Adonis Stevenson in the light heavyweight division, Tank has Jumpman leaped over mainstays like J’Leon Love, Mickey Bey, and Ishe Smith. Ellerbe says each fighter in his roster is incomparable.
“One thing we don’t do, we don’t compare our roster of fighters. Everybody brings something different to the table so I don’t think its fair to compare him to another of our fighters out there. But he’s unique in his own way because he’s young, he’s hungry, he extremely talented, he can crack with either hand, he has a unique personality, he’s witty, he’s flashy, he’s got a lot of swag and he’s somebody that this younger generation looks up to.
“He’s coming from a disadvantaged background and he’s been able to overcome those obstacles and many of our youth aren’t able to. With all the violence and drugs that are in the inner city, he somehow managed to overcome all that and that’s a great commitment to use boxing as a segway to evict himself out of that environment.”
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“Floyd was focusing on his fight; we huddled up with the team, we had some good dialogue and this was something that not only he learned from but this will make him a better young man and a better fighter moving forward. Understanding the responsibility that comes along with being world champion and the example you are setting for the other younger fighters. Again, he has been down that road. He has put the mistakes behind him, we’ve given him a lot of good advice, he has a good support system around him and a very good team and we are just excited for what the future holds for him”
This weekend, Tank clashes with Jesus Cuellar, an Argentinian former world champion who lost the WBA (Regular) featherweight belt to Abner Mares in late 2016. Cuellar put up an 11-fight win streak en route to his loss to Mares, however, Ellerbe respects the man as more than a random opponent for Davis.
“The word opponent and Jesus Cuellar don’t go hand in hand. He’s an excellent fighter who’s coming to win the fight and I know he’ll be extremely prepared and he sees this as an opportunity for Gervonta Davis. He didn’t look his best in his last fight and I think coming in, him and his team they’re expecting on coming home with a win, they’re looking at it no other way and I told Gervonta and his team this is the biggest fight of his life and he’s going to have to do his best to beat Cuellar on that particular night. He’s one tough squat nosed guy that going to be in Tank’s chest from the opening round.”
Gervonta “Tank” Davis is young and he will have to adjust quickly to the house that Mayweather built. With his mentor’s undefeated career and billion-dollar earning power, there is a huge shadow cast over fighters in the Mayweather world. With other dangers out there like Vasyl Lomachenko and more, Tank will be on his own when it counts, the squared circle.
“Tank ain’t going nowhere and we welcome the opportunity to fight the best opposition out there but we are going to do it when we want to do it and it will be the best guys that are out there. We aren’t going nowhere, if he’s on a collision course with any of those guys we welcome it; that’s what we want but they ain’t going to be no different than anybody else. Tank is going to beat them like everybody else.”