Saturday, July 2 2022

Gervonta “Tank” Davis is one of boxing’s fastest rising stars and on May 28, he will headline his fourth pay-per-view when he takes on bitter rival Rolando Romero.

Davis is a three-division world champion with an outstanding record of 26-0 with 24 wins by knockout. He is also the current WBA (regular) lightweight champion.

Although Davis boasts a sparkling record and knockout percentage, a look under the hood might leave more questions than answers as to just how good “Tank” really is.

BoxRec currently has Davis ranked No. 16 on its pound-for-pound list. However, going through his opponents leaves serious questions that go beyond that sparkling 26-0 record.

Gervonta Davis opponents and previous fights

The most accomplished opponent Davis faced was Leo Santa Cruz. Davis delivered a devastating sixth-round knockout against the four-division world champion in October 2020 that truly put the boxing world on notice.

But Santa Cruz wasn’t quite the fighter he once led in this fight and was fighting above his natural weight in the lightweight division after spending his career campaigning at featherweight, the bantamweight and super bantamweight. Santa Cruz was never known as a big puncher and combining that with fighting at a higher weight posed little physical threat to Davis.

MORE: Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero fight date, start time, card, PPV price and odds for 2022 boxing title fight

The same could be said for Yuriorkis Gamboa, who Davis finished with a brutal uppercut in the 12th round of their 2019 clash. Gamboa was at his fair weight but his best years were clearly behind him. Not to mention that a leg injury hampered Gamboa in the second round and he still managed to make it to the last frame.

Davis’ latest outing against Isaac Cruz – a fighter few knew about before – surprisingly went the distance and left some questions afterwards just how good “Tank” really is.

Nonetheless, Davis took care of both Gamboa and Santa Cruz with devastating knockouts that went viral. As for Cruz, this fight may have been a case where the Mexican fighter was much better than many had assumed. Especially considering Cruz demolished Francisco Vargas and Diego Magdaleno before fighting Davis and followed his first loss as a pro with an absolute obliteration of Gamboa in April.

Could all of this mean that Davis isn’t as good as advertised?

Not necessarily.

MORE: Expert predictions for Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero

Gervonta Davis Stats in Key Fights

Despite the weight difference, Santa Cruz had never been stopped in his professional career until he met Davis in a boxing ring. Gamboa had won four straight before being knocked out in the final round by Tank. In fact, Davis used to be the first knockout loss for many professional boxers.

Of his 24 knockouts, 11 have been against opponents who had never suffered a knockout loss before facing Davis. No matter how many ways you try to slice it, it’s impressive. The power is real. He also beat 19 opponents who had never lost before facing him. He’s shown that he doesn’t have to rely on power alone to win fights. Don’t worry, he’s extremely talented.

Davis’ explosive offense certainly passes the eyesight test and will be a tough nut to crack for his opponents, but what happens when he gets hit by a real puncher? This is something we haven’t discovered yet. Of his 26 opponents, only three have knockout percentages above 70%. It might just be a coincidence, but is there a reason Davis hasn’t fought a big puncher in his career?

Often, the truly defining moment of a fighter is how they deal with adversity. We’ve seen a lot of all-time greats get cracked once in a while, come to the brink of defeat, and come out on top. Davis has yet to experience this moment in his career.

Where does Gervonta Davis rank among the best pound-for-pound boxers?

A win over Romero doesn’t do much for him in terms of improving his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Considering Romero lacks experience and quality opposition, the only thing Tank wins in this fight is bragging against someone he just doesn’t like.

That’s good and all, but the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions are packed with talent that includes Devin Haney, George Kambosos, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Ryan Garcia, Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez and others. All of the aforementioned names have faced at least one quality opponent while Davis has managed to become a budding superstar with a lower CV than his peers.

But maybe the grooming period is over and Davis will have the chance to knock out all the big names at 135 and 140 pounds. He’ll have to get past Romero first, and then Tank will have no more excuses not to face the biggest names at lightweight or junior welterweight.

Do we know how good Tank Davis is? Not enough. But we are getting there. Obviously he has potential. The only real question is whether he will meet or exceed the high expectations of his career.

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