Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis vacates WBA 130-lb title, Gutierrez to fight Colbert for the strap

By Boxing News - 08/28/2021 - Comments

By Allan Fox In a long-overdue move, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis has vacated his WBA super featherweight [130-lb] title, and the belt will now be fought over by the ‘regular’ strap holder Roger Gutierrez and interim champion Chris Colbert.

Last October, Gervonta captured the WBA ‘Super World’ super featherweight title in stopping Leo Santa Cruz in the sixth round. However, rather than defending the belt, Tank moved up to 140 last June and defeated little-known WBA secondary light welterweight champion Mario Barrios by an 11th round knockout to capture his belt.

Gervonta didn’t look good at all against Barrios during the first half of the fight. Indeed, things looked so dire that Gervonta’s worried-looking promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. went to his corner and gave him a ‘Win one for the old Gipper’ pep talk after the seventh round.

Fortunately for Floyd, Tank responded well to his motivational speech and came out and dropped Barrios twice in the eighth round. From that point on, it was smooth sailing for Tank against a tired Barrios until the fight was halted in the 11th.

For some reason, Tank chose to fight Barrios rather than true WBA champion Josh Taylor. It’s a move that made Tank Davis look weak in the eyes of the boxing public, but it’s unclear whether he was told to do this by his promoters at Mayweather Promotions.

Josh Taylor jokingly said Tank Davis had captured the “Mickey Mouse belt” by beating little-known WBA ‘regular’ 140-lb champion Barrios on June 26th.

Did Tank vacate to avoid Valdez & Shakur?

Boxing fans were hoping that Tank would hold onto his WBA ‘Super World’ super featherweight title long enough for him to fight WBC champion Oscar Valdez and the fight winner between WBO 130-lb champion Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson.

Image: Gervonta 'Tank' Davis vacates WBA 130-lb title, Gutierrez to fight Colbert for the strap

But perhaps there was worry from Mayweather Promotions that Tank would lose to those guys. Hence, the rationale for Tank vacating his WBA super featherweight title.

World Boxing Association president Gilberto Mendoza told Mike Coppinger of ESPN that Tank Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) could temporarily hold onto his secondary titles at 135 and 140 for one more fight. After that, he’s got to give up one of them.

With undisputed 140-lb champion Josh Taylor expected to vacate his four titles soon to move up to 147 for greener pastures, it’s predictable that the former three-division world champion Gervonta will hold onto his WBA ‘regular’ light welterweight champion and relinquish his WBA ‘regular’ 135-lb title.

If Gervonta were to hold onto his WBA lightweight title, he would be expected to fight the talented guys at 135, Vasily Lomachenko, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Teofimo Lopez.

That’s not going to happen, obviously, not with the way Tank is being matched by his promoters at Mayweather Promotions.

It would be an untenable situation for Tank to stay at 135, given the pressure exerted on him by the boxing public to fight Lomachenko, Ryan, Teofimo, Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero, and Haney.

There would be unreal pressure put on Tank to fight those guys if he holds onto his WBA lightweight title, and it’s highly unlikely he will.

WBA ‘regular’ super featherweight champion Roger ‘The kid’ Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KOs) captured his title earlier this year in January, defeating Rene Alvarado by a 12 round unanimous decision in an action-packed fight. Gutierrez dropped Alvarado three times in the contest.

In their rematch this month on August 14th, Gutierrez pounded out another 12 round unanimous decision over Alvarado, beating him by 116-112, 116-112, and 115-113.

Chris Colbert (16-0, 6 KOs) holds the WBA interim super featherweight title after defeating Jezzrel Corrales last year in January by a 12 round unanimous decision. Since then, Colbert, 24, has twice successfully defended the WBA belt, beating Jaime Arboleda and Tugstsogt Nyambayar.