By Adam Baskin: Devin Haney says Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis will need to come up to light welterweight to fight him at 140 instead of the contest in the lightweight division at 135.
Devin’s conditions for a fight with Tank sound unrealistic and a signal that he either doesn’t want it or he wants to send a message to PBC, Mayweather Promotions & the Baltimore native that he’s not going to another needy, deperate B-side vassal that they can railroad into a poor deal.
We’ve seen that when Gervonta has an opponent in the subordinate position, he plays it to the hilt, sticking weight stipulations in. Ryan Garcia & Mario Barrios are two examples of that.
It shouldn’t matter what weight the Tank vs. Haney fight takes place, be it 140 or 135. The 28-year-old Gervonta (29-0, 27 KOs) is running out of options for money-making fights at lightweight, and his management at PBC will need to start matching him against quality opposition now that Showtime is exiting boxing.
Tank has had a good thing going, fighting on Showtime and them not demanding that he face A-level opposition all these years. They should have put Tank & Mayweather Promotions’ feet to the fire a long time ago to insist that he face fighters that could potentially beat him.
“It would have to happen at 140 lbs. He’s fought at 140 lbs before; he beat Mario Barrios at 140 lbs. It would make the most sense for it to be at 140 lbs,” said Devin Haney to Ariel Helwani’s YouTube channel about a fight between him and Gervonta Davis.
The former three-division world champion Tank fought Mario Barrios for his WBA ‘regular’ light welterweight belt in 2021 at 14o. So, if Tank Davis was willing to fight Barrios, who some felt was a paper champion, at 140, he should have no problems facing Haney at the same weight unless he’s scared of losing.
If Al Haymon moves his PBC company to Amazon Prime, as some think he will, they’re going to want to have quality fights put on. They’re probably not going to agree to let Tank Davis fight fodder-level opposition in fights that bring in poor numbers.
The management for Amazon Prime will likely insist on quality fights from PBC, which could shock the system for Gervonta Davis because he’s been facing lesser opposition his entire ten-year career.
Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) still holds the undisputed lightweight championship, so it would make more sense for the fight with Tank Davis to be at 135.
“We presented it to him. If he had said yes to the offer, the fight would have been made. It would have been with Top Rank,” said Haney when asked ‘How close’ he’d gotten to facing WBC mandatory Shakur Stevenson.
Haney has a point. If Shakur Stevenson really wanted the fight with him, he would have agreed to the 75-25 split because it would have given him the opportunity to become the undisputed champion at 135.
With those four belts, Shakur’s popularity would have gone to the next level, and he’d have been able to transmute his undisputed championship into a big payday fight against Tank Davis.
Did Top Rank boss Bob Arum tell Shakur not to accept the 75/25 offer from Haney, or was this a childish pride thing on his part that made him not agree to the deal?
This was a classic example of someone failing to see the big picture, and it could be a signal of the problems Top Rank may have ahead of them in the future when trying to get important fights for Shakur to turn him into a star. His pride may hold him back.
“I think his [Shakur] ego made him say no and the people around him. Also, I don’t think he truly wanted the fight. I think he really wanted to push me out of position. He wanted to fight for a vacant belt rather than fight me,” Devin continued about Stevenson.
“He chose that route [to fight for the vacant WBC 135-lb title against Edwin De Los Santos]. It’s not a surprise to me because it was all a publicity stunt. It was all just to clout and push me out of position. He chose that route, and maybe one day, we’ll still get it on,” said Haney.