Gervonta Davis didn’t hesitate when his assistant trainer, Barry Hunter, asked him recently to spar with Shawn Porter.
The former IBF/WBC welterweight champion needed southpaw looks for his huge fight Saturday night against Terence Crawford, a right-handed opponent who often boxes from a left-handed stance. Getting that type of work made sense for Davis, too, because he is preparing for an aggressive, rugged, stout opponent in Isaac Cruz.
Porter stands about an inch-and-a-half taller than Davis and has boxed at or around the welterweight limit of 147 pounds for the past 11 years. That didn’t prevent Davis, who boxed at a career-high 140 pounds in his last fight, from holding his own in a spirited sparring session at Porter’s gym in Las Vegas.
Baltimore’s Davis gave his take on sparring Porter during a virtual press conference Monday to promote his pay-per-view fight against Cruz.
“It definitely was a good experience, you know, to spar and work with Shawn Porter,” Davis said. “My coach, Barry Hunter, he called me and asked me do I wanna work with Shawn Porter. I said, ‘Why not?’ We went up to, you know, his gym and we got work in. You know, I know, for sure, after that sparring session Shawn knows that, you know, I could hold my own. You know, and I can say the same for Shawn. You know, so he know that, you know, I’m one of the top guys, I’d say.”
The 34-year-old Porter, a native of Akron, Ohio, will attempt to become the first fighter to defeat Crawford when they square off in a 12-round fight for Crawford’s WBO welterweight title at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is consistently listed as at least a 6-1 favorite over Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) by most online sportsbooks. Their bout will headline a four-fight ESPN Pay-Per-View show scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. PT ($69.99).
The 27-year-old Davis, meanwhile, will defend his WBA world lightweight title when he meets Mexico City’s Cruz in the 12-round main event of a Showtime Pay-Per-View event December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Most oddsmakers have established Davis (25-0, 24 KOs), who has won world titles in three weight classes, as a heavy favorite to conquer Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs), who has won 11 straight fights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.