Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Jul 26, 2019


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A rundown of the boxing scheduled for the weekend of July 26-28. Showtime and Dazn have a monopoly on the matches that matter:

WHAT: Gervonta Davis vs. Ricardo Nunez, Junior Lightweights
WHEN: July 27
HOW TO WATCH: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To see if a real-life unexpected character can shockingly knock the “Baddest Man in Baltimore” off of his pedestal. With a fight in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday, WBA super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis was given the key to the city, got to throw out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game -- he badly airmailed it -- and publicly supported Mayor Bernard Young’s idea to set up boxing matches to try and curb gang violence. Whether that would work or not is tough to say, but it is notable that after a 12-year prison sentence, Davis’ trainer, Calvin Ford (who inspired Cutty on “The Wire”) used boxing to keep from returning to jail. Most every story about this fight has revolved around Davis’ connection to Baltimore, with very little being written about two Davis facts: He keeps fighting nobodies, and Nunez is one of them. While Davis has solid wins over fighters like Jose Pedraza and Jesus Cuellar, this will be his 22nd professional prizefight. He should be fighting better guys, but in fairness to Davis, Nunez is a mandatory opponent for his title; not that he has shown he is dying to fight another world-beater. Nunez is 21-2 with 19 knockouts but has only fought outside of his native Panama once -- a knockout of Elvis Torres in Mexico, which is probably his best win considering how many .500 and below fighters he has faced. If his record is to be believed, he will have the proverbial “puncher’s chance” against Davis. Who is going to beat Davis? The obvious candidates are fighters like Vasiliy Lomachenko and Tevin Farmer, but maybe it will not be one of the usual suspects who takes out the “Baddest Man in Baltimore.” As Farmer’s trainer probably knows, Stringer Bell did not take out Omar Little, neither did Brother Mouzone. In a shocking twist, Little Kenard did. So perhaps Nunez can write his own shocking ending and Davis’ reign as the king of Baltimore will end just as shockingly.

WHAT: Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Lightweights
WHEN: July 27
HOW TO WATCH: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because their careers have taken long and winding roads to arrive at the same place, and for the loser, this is the end of that road. Gamboa and Martinez are former world champions; Gamboa held the WBA lightweight title, and Martinez held the WBO super featherweight title. They both have fought elite world champions on HBO in performances that would rocket the victors to superstardom; Gamboa was stopped by Terence Crawford, while Martinez was knocked out by Vasiliy Lomachenko. Unfortunately for them, they are old; Gamboa is 37, and Martinez is 36. While their careers did not quite parallel each other, both men currently find themselves at virtually the same point. They need to win or call it quits. Gamboa, a former Olympic gold medalist, is not talking about retirement, however. No, he’s talking about Gervonta Davis. On a three-fight winning streak since his loss to Robinson Castellanos, he has already declared that he wants to face Davis after he beats Martinez. That may be a tough task, but considering Davis’ recent opponents, it would at least be exciting. Martinez took a three-year sabbatical from the sport after Lomachenko made him the victim of his most impressive knockout to date. He returned to the ring in March, stopping William Gonzalez in Martinez’s homeland of Puerto Rico. His future is less clear, and he is far less boisterous about potential opponents. It appears he is using this fight as a barometer to see if he should continue fighting at all. There is no coming back from a loss in this fight. Two men from different island nations with different styles and career paths find themselves in virtually the same position: win or call it a career.

WHAT: Maurice Hooker vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez, Junior Welterweights
WHEN: July 27
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because Hooker knows all about taking a fighter’s belt in his hometown, and he is in serious danger of losing his belt in his. After traveling to Alex Saucedo’s hometown of Oklahoma City and taking the WBO super lightweight title off of him, Hooker has been begging for a fight in his hometown of Dallas. While not in Dallas -- the fight is in nearby Arlington, Texas -- Hooker believes this to be essentially a homecoming for him. Unlike Gervonta Davis, Hooker is not fighting a mandatory opponent you have never heard of; he is fighting Ramirez, the current WBC champion and former Olympian, in a unification bout. Known for his height and long reach for the division, the 29-year-old Hooker is 26-0 with 17 knockouts. In his fight with Saucedo, he showed his toughness, as after being dropped in the second round, he came back to stop the young Mexican-American in the seventh round. Against Mikkel LesPierre, the fight was the easy part. Hooker cruised to a decision win after struggling to make weight. Hailing from Avenal, California, the 26-year-old Ramirez is 24-0 with 16 knockouts. He took his title off of Amir Imam in 2017 and has defended it twice. He was asked about fighting in Hooker’s backyard: “To be a great fighter, you have to learn to adapt in any ring. The venue is important, but it’s really down to us to perform in the ring. Rings are all the same size, and that is where we’re at home. No matter what city it is, that’s our territory.” What he should have said and what Hooker needs to be mindful of is the fact that Hooker won his belt by doing the exact same thing to Saucedo that Ramirez plans on doing to him. Hooker will get a tough fight in his hometown, where the challenger has a legitimate 50-50 chance to take his belt. The question is whether or not he can stop Ramirez from doing what he did to Saucedo. If not, Ramirez will thank Hooker for showing him the way.

WHAT: Tevin Farmer vs. Guillaume Frenois, Junior Lightweights
WHEN: July 27
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To see if Farmer’s odd lack of hostility against Frenois will cost him in a stay-busy fight. For someone who seems like a decent guy, Farmer sure has a lot of enemies in boxing. First and foremost, there is his long-running feud with Gervonta Davis, which has seen the two men calling on each other to settle the matter on the streets. Then there is the recent issue he has had with JoJo Diaz, which saw the two men get in each other’s faces at the Canelo-Jacobs press conference; and it is not just active boxers with whom Farmer has beef. He also is not happy with Sergio Mora’s commentating and took to Twitter to beg that he not be assigned to call any of his fights. Since there are no signs Davis is willing to fight him -- although there are always unfounded claims that “Tank” is desperate to make that fight happen -- Farmer is now calling out Diaz for his next bout, according to Fight Hub TV: “I get past this fight and then we can focus on him, you know? I’m giving JoJo a shot after this. Nothing is 100 percent in boxing, but I’m giving him a shot after this.” Yes, Farmer has been talking about a lot of fighters lately, but he has not talked that much about the one he is fighting. Leading up to the bout, Frenois called his style Farmer’s “worst nightmare” and said that Farmer was a “fake champion.” Still, Farmer cannot seem to muster a reason to care about him. Fighting almost exclusively out of his home nation of France, Frenois is 46-1 but with only 12 knockouts. Coming off of a draw with Jono Carroll, Frenois is a slick southpaw known for his high punch output. Farmer has issues with seemingly everybody in boxing. Soon, we will see if he gets caught looking past a guy he really does not seem to care about.

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