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Tank’s New Terrain

By: Kirk Jackson

Again, he displayed star power. Another exciting, back and forth fight, another exhilarating finish and a wonderful display from both Gervonta “Tank” Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) and Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs).

While we await pay-per-view results and other pecuniary numbers from the event this past weekend, the end result – referring to the fisticuffs, was amazing as the two warriors clashed and battled for the WBA (Regular) super lightweight title at the State Farm Arena, in Atlanta, Georgia.

For his part, along with tremendous effort, strategy, will and heart, epitomizing the Aztec Warrior aspect of his heritage he proudly represents, Barrios also displayed humility even in defeat.

“I’ve never been a hater. Congrats to ‘Tank’,” said Barrios. “He came here and did his thing. It was nothing short of an exciting fight and that’s exactly what both of us predicted. He was the better man tonight, but I’ll definitely be back.”

“’Tank’ is explosive. He caught me slipping and it’s boxing. At the end of the day, one punch can change the fight. That’s exactly what I felt happened. Congrats to him.”

Although Davis was “The One,” ultimately displaying explosive punching power, which can detonate at any moment, he was also cognizant of the punching power of Barrios.

“I definitely was nervous the whole night because I didn’t know if I catch him, would I hurt him?” Davis said during a post-fight press conference. “Or if he catch me, would he hurt me? You know, he had on eight ounces [gloves] and I was going up two weight classes, so my mind was, you know, my coach and them was, even Floyd was telling me to press him.”

Fortunately for Davis and for fight fans, he pressed on before ultimately scoring the stoppage.

As of June 2021, Davis is ranked as the world’s best active super featherweight according to The Ring magazine and is also ranked as the world’s best active lightweight by BoxRec. What is next for Davis, as he successfully enters into new super lightweight territory?

The world is his oyster and he has many options to choose from. And while boasting a perfect professional record, a knockout-to-win percentage standing at 96% (100% in world title fights), “Tank” can legitimately compete with anyone from super featherweight to super lightweight.

Like former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Davis has that equalizer that can erase any deficit. He can hurt opponents with either hand and when watching him fight, you can see viciousness and tenacity placed behind his punches. It’s been mentioned in the past, but Davis resembles Mike Tyson. Davis is somewhat of a hybrid between Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather and Tyson in a sense.

While his skill and power pose significant problems, because of his drawing power and ever-growing celebrity, there are fighters willing to face the three-division world champion.

Earlier this month, ShowTime, the network broadcasting his latest PPV, released THE KINGS, a four-part series chronicling Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, and Sugar Ray Leonard, featuring their ascension to greatness and the legendary matches they produced.

Which is fitting, because we may potentially be in a new era, featuring four kings. Davis, Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) and Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs). All of which, outside of Garcia, are lightweight world titlists. All of which, who are young, undefeated, immensely popular and possess great potential. Mighty large comparisons yes, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Shakur Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs), currently competing at super featherweight, is not often mentioned with his contemporaries, although he is young, undefeated and may potentially end up as the greatest fighter out of the bunch. The Olympic silver medalist has a claim to royalty, he can very well supplant Garcia when it comes to the four kings’ discussions, but it’s also important to acknowledge every fighter individually as special in their own right.

The main point is it would be beneficial for boxing to have these fighters face one another in a round-robin type series.

While that’s not typically how the business of boxing works, due to promoters, networks and sanctioning bodies, we can certainly hope for the best outcomes match-making wise.

Who doesn’t want to see “Tank” take on “The Matrix” Vasiliy Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs), who successfully returned this past weekend as well, defeating Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs).

Or Davis vs. the current undisputed super lightweight champion, Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs)?

Or Davis vs. Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs), the former world champion, who only narrowly suffered defeat against Taylor via majority decision, in Taylor’s backyard at The O2 Arena, in London, England.

The Baltimore native is more than likely poised to face Prograis next, due to promotional and network affiliations. It would be highly competitive, action-packed and makes sense from the standpoint, of the winner would be in prime position to challenge Taylor afterward. Barring any promotional issues.

The plans of Top Rank and Bob Arum (Promoter of Taylor), may not align with the plans of Premier Boxing Champions and Floyd Mayweather (Promoter of Davis).

That is to be determined. Whichever is next for Davis across this new terrain, the world will be watching.

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