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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Gervonta Davis vs. Frank Martin, David Benavidez vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk: High storylines to look at in Las Vegas

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Two of boxing’s greatest breakout stars will headline a PBC on Prime Video pay-per-view card this Saturday in Las Vegas as Gervonta “Tank” Davis and David Benavidez return in a pair of high-profile fights.

Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) will snap a 14-month layoff when he defends his WBA light-weight title in the primary occasion towards prime contender Frank Martin (18-0, 12 KOs). The MGM Grand Backyard Area will even be residence to a must-see bout within the 175-pound division as David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) strikes up in weight to face former champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs).

As we draw nearer to this weekend’s motion, let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the most important takeaways.

1. It is “Tank” towards the world 

Or, a minimum of, that is the best way it has felt over social media in current months. At 29, “Tank” stays one of many sport’s greatest stars regardless of making his return to the ring for the primary time since knocking out Ryan Garcia of their blockbuster showdown in April 2023. Davis served time in jail to shut the calendar yr and, for a stretch, discovered himself out of boxing’s day-to-day limelight. The time away appeared to construct a large chip upon his shoulder as fighters like Garcia returned to the highlight due to an upset of Davis’ fellow 140-pound titleholder, and former undisputed light-weight king, Devin Haney. From the dismissive perspective he confirmed towards Martin of their kickoff press convention in Might to his a number of tussles on-line with fellow elite fighters, together with light-weight titleholder Shakur Stevenson, Davis has displayed an unmistakable longing to remind the boxing public precisely who he’s. Davis has even traded barbs with former promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr., together with former unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., who promotes Martin, as a revenge for Spence selecting Davis’ opponent to win. Davis has emerged by coaching camp in the perfect form of his profession and brings an additional degree of hazard to the combat given the added layer of menacing focus he has delivered to the build-up. With the longest layoff of his professional profession now behind him — together with added motive to mature into the following degree of maturity given his public missteps — it could possibly be time for the easiest model of Davis to reach on Saturday. 

2. With that stated, Frank Martin is nobody to trifle with

The concept that Davis returns towards any type of a mushy contact or stay-busy opponent could not be extra unsuitable. The 29-year-old Martin, who largely does his speaking contained in the ring, will not be the game’s most electrical hype man. However the rugged southpaw from Indianapolis can field simply nearly as good as he can combat when the motion heats up contained in the ring. Martin’s inventory took a largely pointless hit final July when he was unable to chase down or end Artem Harutyunyan, and was blamed nearly solely for the combat’s lack of leisure even supposing Harutyunyan circled away from preventing for almost all of the bout. A fast look, nevertheless, on the pair of 2022 victories that obtained him to that time — a late stoppage of former title challenger Jackson Marinez and a one-sided education of unbeaten Michel Rivera — and it is easy to see how a lot of a risk Martin could possibly be. Being educated by elite coach Derrick James has additionally allowed Martin time in camp with the likes of Garcia and Spence to additional sharpen his sword (though Spence and James had a current falling out). Martin is fast, sharp and compact, with the ability to harm Davis and the mixture of guts and confidence to threat his first defeat so as to give himself the perfect likelihood at a breakthrough win.

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3. No Canelo, no downside for the best-laid plans of David Benavidez

Whereas followers and critics can not seem to (rightfully) recover from undisputed tremendous middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez’s disinterest in defending his titles towards Benavidez, the previous two-time champion at 168 kilos deserves credit score for the way little he has allowed that to sluggish him down. Even with Alvarez-Benavidez topping most individuals’s wishlist of the perfect fights to make for 2024, the 27-year-old “Mexican Monster” has already pivoted into an unimaginable alternative within the new yr. Benavidez will transfer as much as 175 kilos when he faces Gvodzyk, the 37-year-old former titleholder who received a trio of comeback fights in 2023 after a retirement that lasted practically 4 years. The combat presents the proper technical problem for Benavidez towards an skilled foe to really take a look at the waters in his new division, which ought to make Benavidez’s bold weight lower a heck of much more manageable. Extra importantly, it is what Benavidez is angling in the direction of that makes the Gvodzyk combat even that extra vital. Turki Alalshikh, the person in control of Saudi Arabia’s in depth monetary funding into the game over the previous yr, has focused Benavidez as one in every of his favorites and expects to match him towards the winner of October’s undisputed championship bout between unbeaten 175-pound titleholders, and future Corridor of Famers, Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. Whereas neither of these names might web Benavidez the kind of in a single day star potential that Alvarez might, he might already be on his manner there with out him (particularly after being given his nickname by Mike Tyson). But it surely’s the combat towards the winner of Beterbiev-Bivol that additionally provides Benavidez the prospect at true monetary and important breakthrough given Saudi Arabia’s clamoring and the truth that each mild heavyweight kings at the moment be a part of Benavidez within the prime 10 pound-for-pound listing. No fan can be unsuitable in lamenting such an enormous missed alternative just like the Alvarez combat. But, the truth that Benavidez refuses to take a seat round and beg exhibits how a lot he believes in his expertise and that, after just a few missteps outdoors the ring early in his profession, he is not keen to depart his future in anybody else’s arms however his personal.

4. It is time to learn the way good Gary Antuanne Russell actually is

Russell, the unbeaten southpaw who’s the youthful brother of former champion Gary Russell Jr., has knocked out all 17 of his professional opponents, together with a current trio of wins over acknowledged names like Viktor Postol, Rances Barthelemy and Kent Cruz. However the 27-year-old Russel makes his transfer to the title degree this weekend when he faces unbeaten former champion Alberto Puello in a WBC interim championship bout at 140 kilos. In contrast to his older brother, this Russell does not depend on velocity and motion as a lot as he does pure energy and method. A victory over Puello would boldly announce Russell among the many prime names at junior welterweight, which at the moment holds among the most marketable fighters within the sport together with Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez Jr.

5. Can PBC proceed to face by itself as a real energy participant?

It is an fascinating query to ask, not simply contemplating Saudi Arabia’s arrival however PBC’s personal struggles in transitioning from a profitable Showtime deal lately to a extra restricted (and PPV dominant) schedule with Prime Video. Not solely has PBC been quietly shedding high quality fighters to rival promoters because the begin of 2024, it has been late to the social gathering in cashing in on the windfall offered by Alalshikh. That can change, after all, when PBC permits quite a lot of prime fighters to look on the Aug. 3 PPV card in Los Angeles that doubles as Alalshikh’s debut occasion past Saudi Arabian soil. However that PPV card will probably be produced by DAZN (and never Prime Video) and promoted by PBC-rival Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport. PBC nonetheless retains quite a lot of sport’s greatest names, together with Davis, however might have hassle over the rest of 2024 drumming up the funds to afford to advertise its greatest stars in huge fights with out the monetary intervention of others (particularly Alalshikh). The rest of 2024 ought to inform us loads about PBC’s future.

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