NEW YORK – Gervonta Davis has the second-highest knockout percentage of any active champion in boxing.
Only Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev, the IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion who has stopped each of his 17 professional opponents inside the distance, ranks above Davis in that category. Baltimore’s Davis has knocked out 92 percent of his opponents (26-0, 24 KOs) since he made his pro debut in February 2013.
His outspoken opponent Saturday night, Rolando Romero, still deemed Davis’ power overrated.
“If he had real power,” Romero said Thursday, “he woulda knocked out ‘Pitbull’ Cruz.”
While speaking to a group of reporters before a press conference at a Marriott near the Brooklyn Bridge, Romero also questioned the validity of the hand injury Davis revealed hindered him for most of his 12-round fight versus Cruz.
Davis said he entered his fight with Cruz with an injured left hand and aggravated it early in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. Regardless, Cruz took the powerful southpaw’s hardest shots well enough to become the first fighter to go 12 rounds with Davis and halted his 16-fight knockout streak.
“Hand injury? Man, every motherf------ has hand injuries,” Romero said. “Man, I went into f------- the Yigit fight, f------- I was in a car accident f------- like the week before. And I had a f------ broken arm. I mean, you f------- saw me after the f------ fight. F-------, I was like, ‘Bro, give two f-----. I still f------ his ass up.’ Man, I went into this one fight, right, my hand, right? You see how f------ up this sh!t is, right? It look f------ up. It’s good now. And I was over there, right, and I swear on everything, I was in the f------- back room, screaming, because of when they were putting on the gloves cuz it was Grant gloves and it was so f------- tight.
“And I was in the back room f------- screaming. I went like this [leans back] – boom! Knocked the dude out. Man, you gotta make adjustments. Man, Floyd f------- finished when he fought Baldomir, no? Yeah, he fought that entire fight with a broken hand. Man, if you a puncher, you gonna find a f------- way at the end of it.”
The 26-year-old Romero, of North Las Vegas, Nevada, has knocked out 86 percent of his opponents (14-0, 12 KOs), but he has fought a lower level of opposition than Davis, the defending WBA world lightweight champion. Romero’s resume is one of the reasons Davis is listed as an 8-1 favorite by Caesars Sportsbook entering their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (9 p.m. ET; $74.99).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.