Gervonta Davis pay-per-view sales growing says Stephen Espinoza of Showtime

By Boxing News - 07/05/2021 - Comments

By Sean Jones: Showtime president of sports Stephen Espinoza is raving about Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis’ pay-per-view, ticket sales, and revenue numbers for his recent fight against WBA ‘regular 140-lb champion Mario Barrios for their fight last month on June 26th.

Espinoza believes that Tank Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) is on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in boxing.

However, Espinoza is talking about the numbers, but he’s not releasing them so that fans can see for themselves to verify if Tank’s popularity is increasing.

One thing that Espinoza failed to address is why isn’t Tank Davis fighting the best?

We’re seeing him beat obscure champions that fans have never heard of, like Mario Barrios and older fighters like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Leo Santa Cruz, but why isn’t Tank fighting the best?

Gervonta’s promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr said that Tank would only be fighting in-house fights against PBC and Mayweather promotions fighters. Unfortunately, the best fighters at 130, 135, and 140 aren’t with PBC or Mayweather Promotions.

So instead of Gervonta fighting Josh Taylor, Vasily Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez, or Oscar Valdez, we see him fighting little-known Mario Barrios and the fading older fighters Gamboa and Santa Cruz.

Gervonta’s PPV & attendance numbers growing

“Look, it couldn’t have gone better. It was a great performance by Tank, great crowd, great deep revenue, pay-per-view sales keep growing,” said Showtime president Stephen Espinoza to ESNEWS on Gervont Davis’ win over Mario Barrios on June 26th.

Image: Gervonta Davis pay-per-view sales growing says Stephen Espinoza of Showtime

“Literally, every metric we use to measure a fighter’s progress, he’s growing,” Espinoza continued about Tank Davis. “A bigger gate, more tickets sold, more pay-per-views sold.

“And maybe, more importantly, the performance he put on,” Espinoza said about Davis” eleventh round knockout of Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

“He’s a star; there’s no other way to say it. He’s well on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in the sport, ” Espinoza said of the unbeaten Gervonta.

“It’s trying to keep him on track. It’s not that he’s off track, but the reality is, the skies the limit. This kid could be the face of boxing.

“As long as he stays in the gym, keeps working hard, controls his weight, and keeps developing his skills, he can take over the sport. There have been a lot of different fighters that had the talent and the opportunity, but they haven’t capitalized on it.

“It’s part of our job to make sure that he [Gervonta] realizes his potential and he recognizes it.

“We don’t want to be sitting here in ten years saying, ‘It could have been.’ We don’t have to use any names.

“We all know which fighters we look back and say, ‘A good fighter, and it could have been,'” said Espinoza about Davis.

Tank’s numbers are going up on pay-per-view and ticket sales even though he’s fighting lesser opposition.

That shows you how little the casual boxing fans know about the sport, as they somehow have things twisted in their heads that Tank Davis is fighting the best. The reality is, Tank is fighting weak opposition.

Tank’s last six opponents

  • Mario Barrios – secondary WBA 140-lb champion
  • Yuriorkis Gamboa – 39-year-old fighter past his prime
  • Leo Santa Cruz – faded fighter competing out of his weight class
  • Ricardo Nunez – who?
  • Hugo Ruiz – who?
  • Jesus Marcelo Cuellar – journeyman

Espinoza talks about Tank fighting Ryan Garcia, Valdez & Taylor

“I mean, the reality, those are all good fights [Josh Taylor, Ryan Garcia, and Oscar Valdez],” Espinoza said about Gervonta taking on those names.

Image: Gervonta Davis pay-per-view sales growing says Stephen Espinoza of Showtime

“The reality is, whichever one is makable. That’s the thing. I’m a boxing fan just like everybody else is, and the reality is, I want those good fights as well.

“It takes two to make a good fight. We know that Teofimo is locked up with Kambosos, and then it looks like Lomachenko. That’s probably going to be until next summer. Josh Taylor, who knows?

“Maybe there’s an opportunity [for Tank Davis to fight him at 140]. But the reality, he’s [Gervonta] has come this far with us.

“We don’t want to stand in the way of opportunities, but we also feel like we want to keep going with him. I want to see him on Showtime. I want to continue to grow his audience on Showtime.

“So those things can continue to be worked out, but it takes two to tango. The reality is, what a lot of these guys say and what the promoters say publically isn’t the same thing they say to us behind closed doors,” said Espinoza about the promoters being less than eager to make fights sometimes with Tank.

There’s been nothing standing in the way of Gervonta fighting Vasily Lomachenkofor the past three years.

Espinoza points out that Lomachenko could be busy fighting Teofimo Lopez in 2022, but Tank could have fought the two-time Olympic gold medalist Loma already and didn’t.

At some point, you have to figure that Tank Davis’s management purposefully has been steering him around fighters like Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez, and Josh Taylor.

I mean, Mayweather Promotions could have matched Tank Davis against unbeaten 140-lb champion Josh Taylor instead of WBA secondary light welterweight champion Mario Barrios.

Let’s call it like it is. Tank’s promoters purposefully matched him against the secondary WBA 140lb champion Barrios rather than the primary WBA champion Josh Taylor.

What does Espinoza have to say about that? When Mayweather promotions could have matched Gervonta against the best, they opted to put him in with Barrios, who isn’t even the second-best fighter at 140.

Barrios is arguably bottom tier in the division, well below Taylor, Jose Ramirez, Regis Prograis, and many others.

It’s great that Tank Davis is bringing in great revenue, attendance, and PPV numbers, but he’s doing it without fighting the best.

When you’re secondary opposition and your promoters and networks praise you endlessly, it gives a warped view of reality.

If this were the NFL, Tank would be a team beating 10-6 opposition in Super Bowl games and then being praised by casual fans, who have no idea he’s not playing against the best.

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Mayweather Promotions and the networks owe it to the fans to have Tank fight the best, not the secondary guys that he’s been facing up to now.

If Davis isn’t good enough to bet the best, he doesn’t disserve being given the praise that he’s been receiving. Instead, fans should say, ‘You’re good at beating lesser opposition, but you’re not good enough to cut it against the best.’

Frankly, I don’t think Tank can beat Josh Taylor, Teofimo Lopez or Vasily Lomachenko. All three of those guys beat Tank in my book and make him look bad.

Tank Davis’ situation was so bad against secondary WBA belt-holder Mario Barrios that his worried promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr had to give him a pep talk in the middle of the fight. What does that tell you? If Tank can’t beat a ‘regular’ champion at 140, how would he beat the real champion, Josh Taylor?

Gervonta receiving a lot of praise

“Not just him but Evander [Holyfield], who was there in person, said he’s one of the best fighters he’s ever seen,” said Espinoza in reacting to being told that Mike Tyson said that Gervonta Davis is one of the best fighters in boxing.

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“That’s got to be sort of intimidating for a young fighter, and I can’t think of a better compliment.

“When you have the endorsement of Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson [for Gervonta], I mean, what more do you need? He just has to keep focused, and he can take over the sport,” said Espinoza.

It’s good that Tank Davis is being praised for his performances by the talented fighters from the past. Still, Espinoza shouldn’t let that prevent him from encouraging Mayweather Promotions to begin matching him against better opposition.

Yes, we’ve seen Gervonta beating a lot of talented aging fighters and some of the belt-holders, but we haven’t seen him fight the best or even the same best in any of the three weight classes he’s been competing in.

Espinoza should use his position as Showtime president to pressure Mayweather Promotions to match Tank Davis up with the top-level fighters, be it at 130, 135, or 140.

Davis can only go so far if his promoters are going to be matching him up against paper champions like Mario Barrios and Leo Santa Cruz and old fighters like 39-year-old like Yuriorkis Gamboa.

To be considered one of the best, Gervonta needs to fight these guys:

  • Vasily Lomachenko
  • Devin Haney
  • Josh Taylor
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Regis Prograis
  • Teofimo Lopez
  • Oscar Valdez
  • Shakur Stevenson
  • Jamel Herring

I don’t include Ryan Garcia in that mix as a guy that Tank Davis needs to fight to prove that he’s great.

Ryan is too flawed and has consistently backed away from fighting quality opposition, and he’s not someone to take seriously until he starts proving himself.