The Premier Boxing Champions closes out the year with a big night at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. PBC’s year-end event will hold the first and second boxing world title fights in the state of Atlanta since 1998 when Evander Holyfield defended his heavyweight world title against Vaughn Bean at the now-demolished Georgia Dome.
In the main event, undefeated former super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis moves up in weight to take on former featherweight world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa for the vacant WBA lightweight title on December 28, 2019. In the co-main event, Jean Pascal defends his WBA light heavyweight title against former world champion Badou Jack.
Let’s preview the main event and pick our winner:
Gervonta “Tank” Davis
Gervonta Davis is a former two-time super-featherweight champion. The 25-year old from Baltimore, Maryland won the IBF super featherweight title in 2017 and the WBA (Super) super featherweight championship from 2018 up to this year. He is ranked as the 2nd best super featherweight by The Ring and fourth by BoxRec.
Known as “Tank”, Davis is a southpaw fighter who stands 5-5 ½ with a reach of 67 ½ inches. He has a professional record of 22-0 with 21 wins coming by way of knockout. Davis owns notable wins over former world champions Cristobal Cruz, Jose Pedraza, Jesus Cuellar, and Hugo Ruiz, all of whom he defeated via knockout. 16 of his knockouts have come between Rounds 1 and 3.
Davis is a pit bull inside the ring. He is aggressive and relentless in putting pressure on his opponents. What makes him dangerous is that he has power in both hands. He is known as the Tank because he has mowed every opponent he has faced and he has knocked out all but one of his opponents, including the last 13. He also has underrated defense and terrific footwork. He can get in and out without getting into much trouble. Davis is most dangerous when fighting on the inside.
Odds were taken from Betway as of 12/22/19
Yuriorkis Gamboa is the former unified featherweight champion. The 37-year old Cuban held the WBA and IBF featherweight titles in 2009 and once challenged for the WBO lightweight title in 2014, losing to Terence Crawford. As an amateur, Gamboa won Olympic Gold in the flyweight division in 2004 and the bronze medal at the World Championships in 2005.
“El Ciclon de Guantanamo” stands 5-5 ½ tall and has a reach of 65 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a professional record of 30-2 with 18 knockouts. Gamboa went unbeaten in nine world title fights from 2009-2012, with 8 wins and 1 draw. In 2014, he suffered his first professional loss at the hands of Terence Crawford and he has never been the same again. He’s fought sporadically in the last five years and is coming off a July 2019 win over Roman Martinez.
In his prime, Gamboa had quick hands and rapid punches. He was like his nickname, a cyclone that blitzed through his opponents. Gamboa had one of the fastest hands in the featherweight division and his hand speed gave his opponents all sorts of problems. He also had decent punching power although his hands aren’t as heavy as Tank Davis’. The concern with Gamboa is that he is already 37-years old and he has never been the same fighter since losing to Bud Crawford.
This is, without doubt, the biggest fight of Gervonta Davis’ career. If we look at his young career, Davis has steamrolled past every opponent that has been put in front of him. He has 21 knockouts in 22 wins and continues to improve as he moves up in weight class to challenge for the vacant lightweight title.
Gamboa has the edge in experience here. The 37-year old Cuban not only has more professional fights at 32, but he also has a vast and successful amateur career which includes a featherweight gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. If Gamboa survives the early onslaught, he has the experience to take Davis to deep waters and make this a competitive 12-round war. But that is easier said than done.
Davis has stopped all but one of his 22 opponents so far and when you look at these two fighters, not only does Tank have the obvious edge in punching power, he is also the better-skilled fighter between them and continues to show improvement in every fight. Gamboa isn’t a shot fighter yet but his best years are definitely behind him now and he has plenty of mileage in his meter.
Yuriorkis Gamboa used to be one of the best fighters at the lighter weight class but the loss to Terence Crawford destroyed his career. He’s fought on and off since then and has been inconsistent, struggling in fights he should’ve won easily. His inactivity and inconsistency will be a problem against a hungry fighter who isn’t even near his prime.
Gamboa is the biggest name that Davis has faced so far but he is not a new face to the American because these two used to spar against each other. With the element of surprise gone, Davis should be able to walk down Gamboa, land clean and put his former sparring partner to sleep. Tank has top-level power and is a legit knockout artist. Forget all the drama, this kid has one-punch knockout power.
The Cuban has more experience fighting at 135 pounds but he is not naturally bigger and Davis is much stronger. The problem with Gamboa is that he has a weak chin, and this was exposed during the Crawford bout. In my unofficial count, Gamboa has been dropped a total of 14 times in 32 fights. I have no doubt that Davis is going to land that big punch because Gamboa no longer has the speed or reflexes to avoid getting hit. I think Davis comes out firing and Gamboa gets on the defensive right from the opening bell. I’m picking Gervonta Davis to win by knockout.
Prediction: Gervonta Davis