12 Rounds With ... Gervonta Davis

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The undefeated World Super Featherweight Champion defends his title versus Ricardo Nunez in a homecoming bout Saturday night on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing.

With a 95% knockout ratio, it’s easy to see why Gervonta Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) is regarded as one of the most devastating fighters in boxing.

This Saturday, July 27, the man known as “Tank” will defend his world super featherweight title versus Panama’s Ricardo Nunez (21-2, 19 KOs) at Royal Farms Arena in Davis’ hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.

Nunez, 25, is a big puncher in his own right, scoring 90% of his victories by way of knock out. But he’ll be taking a big step up versus 24-year-old Davis in the main event of PBC on Showtime Championship Boxing (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT)

How has fatherhood changed you?

Just caring more. Just having a daughter means that I’m able to appreciate things more. You can’t just think of yourself anymore, you to think of your little one. It changed me a lot in a better way, I’m happy.

How did you get the nickname Tank?

I actually got the nickname Tank because I was little with a big-ole head. I got that name way before I even really started getting in the ring and beating people up.

How much of you being a champion is natural talent versus what you learn in the gym?

One thing is, you can’t teach heart. It’s not only just skills, you need a good team who does their job outside the ring while you do your job inside of the ring. It’s not just fighting. Nowadays you have a good team, and you have good skills you’re gonna make it far in the sport. I don’t believe in just skills, I think having a good team goes hand-in-hand.

There are a lot of fighters on TV right now, but I can be at the top in terms of skills. It’s a lot of up-and-coming fighters making noise and they have skills too. I watch lot of guys who are 15-0 coming up and in the amateurs. There are a lot of guys on the rise, skill-wise. But I’m at the top for sure.

What was it like growing up in Baltimore and how true-to-life was the show, “The Wire?”

I think Baltimore is way worse than “The Wire.” It’s a lot of stuff they cut-out in “The Wire” that happened in real life. My coach, Coach Cutty (Calvin Ford), was depicted in the show and he did 10 years in the Feds and he came home and changed his life around. He tried to help kids and things like that. A lot of real-life stuff don’t make TV because they want it to be professional.

Growing up in Baltimore, growing up in the hood, struggling while my father was on drugs, I was in foster care. I was fighting in school and so my Uncle brought me to the gym. I started getting the love at the gym that I wasn’t getting at home, so I stuck with it.

Did that give you that killer instinct in the ring?

For sure. That’s why I believe a lot of people wanna watch me fight or beat me. Not even the skills I have but the mindset. Once I’m going into the ring, I always use what I’ve been through or what I’m going through to walk through the other fighter.

I beat the odds already. When I’m in the ring I’m still getting tested, but I’ve already beat what I went through. Like Danny Jacobs, he beat cancer. It’s the same thing; I’ve already beaten one life situation and I overcame that when I was tested. So there shouldn’t be anyone else out there who can beat me.

I will unify for sure by the end of this year. Undefeated World Super Featherweight Champion - Gervonta Davis

What does it mean to bring Baltimore a world title fight?

I was always the person who adapts to whatever I have going on. Bringing it back is amazing. My brother is fighting on the undercard. It’s amazing, I just wanna bring something big back. They said the last title fight in Baltimore was in 1970. So me coming back home and putting on a big performance like that is crazy. We’ve damn near almost sold out already.

Why was it important for you to go back and get your GED?

I did it for me, my mom and my family. My mom always wanted to see me graduate. I actually didn’t finish school off of me trying to make the Olympics. I wasn’t just wilding out, I was at tournaments a lot. I was focused on boxing. I wasn’t really worried about school or anything like that. So, I slipped on my school work. My focus was mainly on boxing, that was second nature to me. I started boxing when I was seven-years old, so it meant a lot to me.

What is an underrated aspect of your style?

I believe they just think that I hit hard and I don’t have the skills. I showed a bunch of them when I fought Jose Pedraza. I think the more the competition steps up and gets harder, I’ll show more and more. But they just think I got punching power and not the skills.

What fighters inspired you the most?

Floyd Mayweather, of course. Adrien Broner, Lamont and Anthony Peterson. And I’ve always been on the young guys. To be honest if you’re not close to me, I’m usually not gonna pay too much attention. I like Canelo Alvarez though, he’s one of the few people outside of my circle that I like and he's only 27. I believe he’s one of the OGs in the sport, him and Manny Pacquiao.

Do you get the knockout against Ricardo Nunez?

He’s a strong, competitive guy. I’m just trying to get through the fight, God willing, and then on to the next. I really want the fight after this one, I’m not overlooking this guy, but my main focus is getting him out of the way and moving towards bigger fights.

Why has it gotten personal with Tevin Farmer?

I bumped into him years ago, and there’s so much talk—he’s been talking. When we fight, I’m not gonna lie, I’m gonna try and break every bone in his body. I’m not holding back nothing. We can fight until one person dies, that’s how I feel.

Would that decide who’s the best at 130?

Nah. He's not the best at 130, he’s not even top tier. Me and Miguel Berchelt would, but I don’t care who I fight as long as I get what I earned and it’s a fair shake. I’ll fight whoever. I will unify for sure by the end of this year. I’m gonna get one of those other champions. If I don’t unify though, I’m going up. If not 130, then we’ll go to 135 and snatch all of those belts up there. Keep supporting me, I fight for y’all.

For a closer look at Gervonta Davis, check out his fighter page.

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