Gervonta Davis faces a legitimate test Saturday, but that’s not necessarily what people are talking about.
The lightweight contender was arrested on domestic violence allegations that were later recanted. He has an unrelated legal case pending, the latest in a series of missteps. And he has already agreed to face Ryan Garcia in a massive matchup in his next fight. Those are the most-compelling Davis-related topics at the moment.
Hector Luis Garcia? Davis’ opponent Saturday in a 135-pound fight at Capital One Arena is an afterthought.
Even Showtime host Brian Custer, who you’d think would steer clear of Davis’ legal problems, asked him at the final news conference Thursday how he has been able to focus “with everything whirling around you outside the ring.”
Davis talked about perseverance.
“This is my job,” Davis said. “I’ve been doing it since the age of 7. It feels as though it comes with it. If I stop now … then I feel as though I ain’t really do what I came to do just yet. I feel as though if I keep pushing … it’s just a hump in my road.
“It’s just like this fight to get to the next one. I feel as though just humps in the road we all have in life.”
Well, allegations of domestic violence aren’t common humps.
Davis was arrested and jailed on Dec. 27 after the mother of his daughter claimed he struck her in the face during an argument in the Miami area, where the fighter had been training. The fact she walked back her accusations – saying Davis “did not harm me” – spared him a court date and probably saved the fight, which had been in jeopardy.
He will go on trial beginning Feb. 16 on hit-and-run charges after an accident in 2020. He reportedly faces 14 charges after allegedly running a red light in his SUV, crashing into another vehicle and then fleeing the scene on foot in his native Baltimore.
An injured pregnant woman trapped in the other car reportedly testified that Davis “looked me in the eyes, and he never came over to help.”
Davis could face prison time if convicted, which must weigh heavily on the 28-year-old. And, obviously, it could impact his plans to meet Ryan Garcia and the rest of his boxing career.
Indeed, how could he possibly focus on a fight against solid opponent?
Davis said he has been able to do so because of Hector Garcia’s proven ability and the fact he won’t get the lucrative, possibly career-defining Ryan Garcia fight if he loses to the unbeaten Dominican, who is coming off convincing victories over Chris Colbert and Roger Gutierrez.
“(Hector) Garcia earned his spot in this fight for what he’s done this past year,” Davis said Davis. “He’s been in good fights and beaten good fighters. He’s not someone to sleep on. He’s a tough opponent and this is going to prepare me for a Ryan Garcia fight next.
“… There’s been a lot of talk from other fighters in the division. I’m putting them on notice with this fight and the Ryan fight. I can’t get to Ryan unless I get past Hector. I’m showing everyone that I’m one of the elite guys.”
Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) has already demonstrated that he’s one of the elite guys, knocking out one capable opponent after another. If he maintains his current trajectory, he could be on his way to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The question related to him: Will he be remembered more for what he does inside the ring or outside it? That’s up in the air.