Trainer Calvin Ford doesn’t take protégé Gervonta Davis’ rise to greatness for granted.
Ford, speaking to Boxing Junkie like a true mentor, said “Tank” must stay the course – remain focused, continue to work hard, stay humble – for the skillful puncher to realize what appears to be vast potential.
If Davis gets too caught up in the hype, he implied, everything could come crashing down. So far, so good. Ford made it clear that Davis is doing the right things as of now, saying “he has become a real student of the game.”
“When you get to this level the question is do you continue to [do] what got your there?” said Ford, who was then asked whether he agrees that Davis has no obvious weaknesses. “As a person looking in you can say that but as coaches who have been with him for years we [can’t].
“We have to continue to evaluate … what we have to do to accomplish the task.”
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Ford hesitated even to join in the accolades following Davis’ one-punch knockout of Ryan Garcia last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Boxing Junkie asked him whether the 28-year-old from Baltimore is better than 135-pound rivals Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
We expected him to say, “Hell yeah.” Instead, evidently wanting to keep Davis’ feet on the ground, he said that no one knows yet.
“So far we can see that but I don’t want that in my head,” Ford said. “We still have more that we have to prove. … Only three are considered that good, Devin, Shakur and Lomachenko.
“Who’s the best one? We won’t know until they’re standing in front of each other.”
Ford does make it clear that he believes in Davis, however.
Everyone talks about Tank’s undeniable punching power, almost relegating his boxing ability to an afterthought. Ford was asked whether people give him enough credit for his skill level.
“They don’t,” he said. “That’s the part that they miss. How does he deliver his punches to be so precise? It’s like a marksman shooting at a target. They’re like, ‘Oh, you ain’t going to hit that target from that distance. And he hits it, DING! Damn, how did he do that? That’s the difference.”
And while he didn’t say it directly, he implied that Stevenson – perhaps his most gifted rival – doesn’t have the resume Davis has.
Stevenson delivered a dominating break-through victory over Oscar Valdez in April of last year but he believes Davis is farther along in terms of quality opposition over a longer period of time.
“Shakur is good [against] the guys he’s been in front of,” Ford said. “Tank has been doing it against guys that people think he shouldn’t have been able to do it and he makes it look easy. That’s your stepping stone, how good you look in front of certain guys.
“Stevenson, no question, has the pedigree but it’s how you look against a guy when you have the same pedigree.”
That concept, Ford hopes, will lead us to showdowns between the aforementioned lightweights.
He won’t say who he’d like to see Davis fight next. That, he said, is up to the fighter. However, he believes those matchups are coming soon. Then we’ll know for sure who is the best.
“The time is now,” he said. “And time will tell. Tank has to ask himself, ‘Do you want to be an all-time great?’ These are the guys you have to knock off to be an all-time great.”