ATLANTA – Gervonta Davis doesn’t need Josh Taylor to do big business.
Leonard Ellerbe realizes that blunt assessment won’t satisfy devout boxing fans that would love to see Davis remain at 140 pounds to challenge the undefeated, undisputed junior welterweight champion in Davis’ next fight. But Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Floyd Mayweather himself and others involved in Davis’ career are more concerned with continuing to build Davis into a star that transcends boxing.
The 26-year-old knockout artist drew an announced crowd of 16,570 to State Farm Arena on Saturday night for his 11th-round technical knockout of Mario Barrios. That crowd topped the 14,129 that attended Davis’ 12th-round stoppage of an even bigger underdog, Yuriorkis Gamboa, in December 2019 at State Farm Arena.
The previously unbeaten Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) was the WBA’s secondary super lightweight champion entering their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. Scotland’s Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs), who is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., is the WBA’s true champion in that division.
That distinction doesn’t matter, according to Ellerbe, to the vast majority of Davis’ fan base.
“He’s an excellent fighter,” Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com in reference to Taylor. “Can’t draw sh!t in the United States. Can’t draw sh!t. And see, that’s a problem. That’s a problem. The only way that’s a huge, huge fight is if you do something over there [in the United Kingdom]. … And again, it’s that whatever we decide, we’ll let you guys know. And again, I’m just being honest – if you asked the 16,570 in that building tonight, I guarantee you, I said earlier it might’ve been a hundred people, it probably would’ve been 70 people would’ve even heard of [Taylor]. And I guarantee you the 70 people would’ve been included in this media room, my staff, the Showtime staff.
“Because the 16,570 in that building, they came to see Tank Davis. They came to see Tank Davis, just like any of these other cities that we go to. And see, just because you guys say that this guy’s the [best], it’s like, again, people want to see big fights and they wanna come and support.”
Baltimore’s Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) repeatedly stated before he beat Barrios that this was a temporary move up to the 140-pound division. The three-division champion expects to drop back down to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds or even the junior lightweight maximum of 130 pounds for his next fight.
Ellerbe expects Davis to return to the ring within the next four or five months, but he declined to mention any potential opponents.
“You know, I don’t who we gonna fight next,” Ellerbe said. “I don’t know, but it’ll be somebody who’s good, that’s for sure. It needs to be somebody who’s a top guy.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.