Gervonta Davis vs. Keith Thurman doesn’t make sense says Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza

By Boxing News - 08/28/2021 - Comments

By Allan Fox: Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza says a fight between Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and former welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman “doesn’t make sense” due to the size difference between the two fighters.

Espinoza feels that former WBA/WBC 147-lb champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) is too big for the 5’5″ Tank (25-0, 24 KOs), and it’s not a realistic option.

Aside from a fantasy type of fight, it’s not practical to stage a fight between Gervonta and Thurman.

Thurman is too dangerous for Tank

It’s not just Espinoza that seems cool to the idea of former three-division world champion Tank Davis facing Thurman. Also, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe has gone quiet on the subject.

A month ago, Ellerbe was talking boldly about being open to the idea of Gervonta facing the inactive Thurman. He’s no longer saying anything about wanting to make that fight.

That suggests that Floyd Mayweather Jr. told Ellerbe that he’s not interested in letting his young money-maker Tank tangle with the hard-hitting Thurman, or perhaps he sat down figured out how bad it could be for Gervonta if that match did happen.

Yeah, Tank could potentially beat Thurman and become a huge PPV star, but on the flip side, he could also get destroyed by him.

Given the ultra-conservative way Mayweather Promotions has been matching Gervonta by putting him in with fading fighters and B-level champions, it would be too much of an abrupt change to let him fight a live body like Thurman.

Additionally, there would be wear & tear that Tank would accrue in a fight against Thurman that could shorten the Baltimore native’s career.

For example, look at Manny Pacquiao after he fought Thurman. The Filipino star looked deteriorated in his next fight after facing ‘One Time’ Thurman in 2019.

Granted, some of that had to do with the 42-year-old Pacquiao being out of the ring for two years, but you could argue that a large part was from the punishment he absorbed in his war with Thurman.

That was easily the hardest fight that Pacquiao had had since his win over Miguel Cotto in 2009.

Even in Pacquiao’s fights with Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley, he didn’t take the kind of continuous punishment that he absorbed in his contest with Thurman.

Mayweather Promotions are likely to continue to match Tank against non-threats for the remainder of his career, which is why you’re seeing him fight guys like Mario Barrios, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Leo Santa Cruz.

Gervonta vs. Thurman not realistic

“I saw that,” said Espinoza about cruiserweight Jake Paul calling Gervonta out. “There’s been a lot of weight jumping around, but that’s about 50 lbs of weight difference.

Image: Gervonta Davis vs. Keith Thurman doesn't make sense says Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza

“It’s an interesting fight to debate like in fantasy boxing. The reality is, 40 lbs was a one-time thing, and 147.

“Thurman is a good-sized 147 pounder. Just from a height and length standpoint, that fight [Gervonta vs. Keith] doesn’t make sense,” said Espinoza on the Tank Davis vs. Keith Thurman fight.

“It’s intriguing to think about, but realistically, Nah,” said Espinoza in ruling out a fight between Tank Davis and ‘One Time’ Thurman.

There is NO way that Gervonta will be allowed to fight Thurman, and it appears that he personally never on board with a fight the Florida native.

While Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe was talking up the idea of Tank fighting Thurman, you didn’t hear a peep from Gervonta. He was stone silent on the subject, showing that he wanted no part of that smoke from ‘One Time’ Thurman.

Tank Davis is a good fighter, but he’s not exactly shown the inclination to face risky opposition during his career. In terms of risk-taking, Gervonta is on the lower end of the scale in the sport.

Fighters like Devin Haney, Manny Pacquiao, and Vasily Lomachenko would be seen as a 10 out of 10 in the risk-taking scare, whereas Tank Davis would be a 3 out of 10.

The reality is, Tank isn’t a risk-taker and neither are his promoters at Mayweather Promotions. They’re more into gimme fights for Tank.

Looking for an opponent for Tank

“It’s one of those divisions where whether you’re talking about 135, which is primarily what we’re thinking about. It’s really splintered,” said Espinoza in talking about Gervonta Davis.

“So it’s tough to make the big fights. No one place has all the components.

“Right now, we’re trying to see who is available and who is willing to do a deal and what’s the best possible fight,” Espinoza said about Tank Davis.

“Gervonta wants to get back before the end of the year, and we’d love to do that and keep the momentum going,” Stephen said,

Well, hopefully, they find a quality opponent for Tank Davis to fight this time around and not another gimme like we’ve been seeing.

Tank’s last seven fights:

  • Mario Barrios – secondary WBA 140-lb belt-holder
  • Leo Santa Cruz
  • Ricardo Nunez
  • Yuriorkis Gamboa – 40-years-old
  • Hugo Ruiz
  • Jesus Cuellar
  • Francisco Fonseca

Those are fighters that would be beaten by other lightweights in the division like Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Vasily Lomachenko, and Teofimo Lopez.

It’s pretty clear that Mayweather Promotions are matching Gervonta against fighters that are no threat to beating him, and in a lot of ways similar to the opposition, Floyd fought during his career.

Ugas had a perfect game plan

“He’s a legend and it’s amazing to see him perform at the level,” said Espinoza on Pacquiao’s fight with Yordenis Ugas last Saturday night.

“I was split. I saw Pacquiao fighting in flurries. I don’t think it’s Pacquiao is getting old and is slowing down.

“I think Ugas came in with a really good game plan and was disciplined. Physically it was the right style. He is the right style and the right build.

“He’s long, he’s very disciplined and very patient. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but if you counter at the right time, you don’t have to be a huge puncher if your timing was on point like his was.

“So I don’t take a lot away from Pacquiao. To me that says more about Ugas. He just fought the fight of his life and had the game plan of his life on that night,” Espinoza said in expressing appreciation for Yordenis’ performance against Manny.

What makes WBA ‘Super World’ welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas’ win all the more impressive last Saturday night was that he was fighting Manny Pacquiao with just one arm.

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) revealed that he suffered a left bicep injury during training camp three weeks before his fight with Pacquiao, and that prevented him from sparring from that point.

Fans can’t say that Yordenis’ injury was a ‘fake’ one because you could visibly spot how badly swollen his left bicep was in the last two weeks before the fight.

Between the swelling and the way that Ugas rarely used his left arm during the fight with Pacquiao, showed that he had a bad injury.

Basically, Ugas beat Pacquiao with just his right arm, meaning that the Filipino star was totally overmatched from the jump. It’s scary to think that a 100% healthy Ugas would have done to Pacquiao if he had the full use of his left arm during the fight.

That’s the arm that Ugas normally uses for body punching, and he couldn’t use it at all during the fight other than for light jabbing. If boxing fans are wondering why Ugas didn’t throw that body shots during the contest with Pacquiao, his left arm injury is likely the root cause.

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