Written by Cain Bradley for FightTalk.net;
As boxing fans we have long accepted that the majority of fights we would like to see, will not be made. It’s a sad reality of being a fan of the sport. Some matchups are so juicy though, we cannot help but fantasise about them!
One of those currently bubbling under the surface is at Super Featherweight between Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer. The two have traded barbs on social media and when they met, it led to a heated confrontation. As fans, what are we supposed to expect from these confrontations?
Gervonta Davis is one of my favourite young boxers. ‘Tank’ was a superb amateur, winning many junior titles and finished with a superb record before turning over at 18. At only 22, he got the chance to take on IBF world champion Jose Pedraza. Davis was at vicious best that day using his speed and movement to befuddle and ultimately stop a good champion. His first defence saw him travel to London and overwhelm Liam Walsh before being chief headliner on the Floyd Mayweather undercard in an arguably disappointing performance against Francisco Fonseca. He was stripped of his belt prior to that fight as he missed weight.
Davis’ loss was Tevin Farmer’s gain. He challenged for the IBF title against Kenichi Ogawa to end 2017. He controversially lost a split decision despite appearing to dominate the bout but Ogawa went on to test for synthetic testosterone.
Farmer has nothing like the amateur pedigree of Davis having begun boxing at 19. He merely followed his brother down to the gym as football and basketball were out of season. Farmer did not take the sport seriously and his record after 20 months was 7-4-1. The fourth defeat came at the hands of future Davis victim Jose Pedraza. The Philadelphia man has not lost since then, steadily improving his opposition. He has also shown his tenacity after being shot in the hand in July, returning to the ring only a few months later.
Davis is only short but his stature belies the power he has. That comes from his speed and accuracy. He also attacks the body well for such a young man, switching in the uppercut well. Right now, the only obvious flaw is how hittable he can be at times. His head movement is sharp but his hands are usually down so when he gets lazy, he gets caught. Many have also debated his attitude, which saw him miss weight and not train as hard as he did previously.
Farmer is a natural athlete. His great uncle is Joe Gans and when you watch him box, his ability to time opponents stands out. He probably has the best defensive toolset in the game right now with incredible slipping and movement. He uses that with good footwork to box on the inside, never letting his opponent land too many clean punches. Then, the hand speed which is blindingly obvious. He fights out of a southpaw stance but is actually right handed.
Farmer has speed and skills that you can argue Davis has never seen. Farmer though, has also never fought anyone with the accuracy and heavy-handedness of Davis. The lack of power for Farmer though, would mean he struggles to keep Davis off him. Given Davis’ work to the body you have to expect him to slow down Farmer and land accurate punches. I think eventually this would tell. Davis would be on top of Farmer for as long as his stamina will stand it, digging him to the body before switching upstairs.
The pair have long butted heads on social media, with Davis criticising his rival’s lack of ticket sales and early career losses, while Farmer has taken digs at Davis missing weight. The two have both suggested that they want to the lion’s share of the purse and to dominate the negotiations. Both have suggested the other man needs to hold a world title (neither of them currently do). So unless they get to clash for the vacant IBF title or the two can get titles and attempt to unify, I would hedge against this fight actually happening. You have to also assume that even if Davis missing weight is due to a lack of care, he is only getting older and although short, he could probably move up a division naturally with his body still filling out. If he has two years left in the division, that only gives us four or five potential bouts for these two to meet.
To me, it looks like another Gamboa v Lopez scenario where the clash that makes the most sense, never occurs.
Boxing fans prepare for disappointment again.
By Cain Bradley