Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Davis-Martin Preview

In April of last year two-division world champion Gervonta Davis squared off with top contender Ryan Garcia in a highly anticipated clash of undefeated rising stars of the sport of Boxing. The encounter, which was held at a catchweight, was won by Davis, who knocked Garcia out with a body shot in the seventh round.

Although per the catchweight stipulation and the fact that at the time Davis held Interim/Regular status in the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Lightweight ratings, no world championship was on the line, it was nevertheless one of the biggest events on the Boxing calendar last year, despite the pay-per-view broadcast being riddled with problems resulting in significant refunds being issued to consumers.

The obvious flaws of the pay-per-view model and this observer’s long-standing criticisms on the subject notwithstanding, there is no dispute that the victory over Garcia was a milestone moment in Davis’ career. Like many other fighters in recent times however, Davis, who has long been aligned with the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters, has seen his career stall as he has not been in the ring in active competition since. 

What has also become a recurring theme of yours truly recently has been the subject of how inactivity often does more harm to fighters than it serves as a benefit. Whether Davis will find his name on the list of fighters who are or were previously aligned with the struggling PBC promotional banner to have suffered setbacks upon returning to action following a lengthy hiatus remains to be seen as Davis, who was recently elevated to WBA World Lightweight champion, following former undisputed champion Devin Haney vacating the championship and moving up to the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division at the end of last year, will defend his title on June 15th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV against undefeated WBA number two Lightweight contender Frank Martin in a fight that will headline a PBC on Prime Video Pay-Per-View card. 

This fight for Davis not only represents the second consecutive time that he will be facing an unbeaten opponent, but also presents a unique scenario that is rare and not good under any way one views the circumstances. In that like Davis, Martin, who is also aligned with the PBC, is also coming off of a layoff of nearly a year, whereas the champion will have been inactive for nearly fifteen months by the time this fight takes place. While this is a reflection of both the position the PBC is in having lost their longtime broadcast deal with the now defunct Showtime Sports, which ceased operations at the end of last year as part of a significant restructuring of its parent company Paramount Global, and the fact that since beginning their deal with Prime Video in March of this year, the PBC has only ran two events, both pay-per-view offerings, it is not often that two fighters find themselves in essentially the same position in terms of coming off of a lengthy stretch of inactivity. 

In this case, one might wonder what type of fight we might see given the circumstances of both fighters having to possibly deal with the elements of “Ring Rust." At his best, Gervonta Davis can be an explosive power puncher that is capable of ending a fight suddenly. Although he has also shown an ability to use his Boxing skills rather than power to win fights in his career, Davis has scored knockouts in twenty-seven of his twenty-nine career wins, registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 94%.

This would serve as at minimum a statistical indication that Davis will be the favorite going into this fight as well as having more experience than the challenger, who will enter the bout with eighteen wins, with twelve knockouts. Frank Martin has also shown an ability to get an opponent out of there if given an opportunity, but conventional wisdom might suggest that his best opportunity to win this fight will be by trying to box Davis as opposed to getting into a scenario where he has to trade punches with the champion. A task that might be easier said than done, but if Martin is able to find success by implementing such a strategy, he must not get complacent and remember that he needs to box for the full twelve round distance and not give Davis any openings. 

There have been times where previous opponents have had success by using lateral movement to try and box Davis. Thus far, no one has successfully made it to the finish line with that approach as more often than not Davis, who tends to apply pressure and walk his opponents down, has been able to catch them and knock them out. Only two fighters, German Meraz and Isaac Cruz have been able to take Davis the distance in his career. In the case of Cruz, he was able to have success by trying to back Davis up and by going to the body. There are also some who believe Cruz deserved the decision against Davis.

The fight plan for the champion going into this encounter is likely to be the same as virtually all his fights. Apply pressure from the opening bell, try to cut off the ring to limit Martin’s ability to move, and break him down with punching power. A danger that all fighters that become known for their power need to try to avoid is the temptation to become reliant strictly on that power. In that it becomes tempting for a fighter, who knows what they can do with their power if they can land solidly, simply tries to land a fight ending blow with every punch they throw, rather than looking for ways to set up opportunities to land those punches, or trying to win rounds in order to win a decision if needed. Fortunately for Davis, he has not seemed to fall into that trap thus far in his career, but the danger is always there and it will be interesting to see if he falls into such a scenario, particularly if Martin is able to find success and put rounds in the bank early. 

There simply is not much else to say as this fight approaches. Two fighters coming off significant inactivity, both unbeaten, with one's World Lightweight championship on the line. If both fighters manage to bring their best into the ring with them and the element of possible “Ring Rust" turns out to not be an issue for either fighter, this could be a fun fight to watch. 

“And That's The Boxing Truth." 

Davis vs. Martin takes place on Saturday, June 15th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen on a pay-per-view basis on PBC  on Prime Video Pay-Per-View for $74.95. The card will begin at 5:30PM ET/2:30PM PT with free preliminary bouts before the main pay-per-view card begins at 8PM ET/5PM PT. 

Prime Video is available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices/Smart TVs. To order Davis vs. Martin click the Premier Boxing Champions tab in the sports section within the Prime Video app on your device of choice or click the following link: Davis vs. Martin.

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