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  Gervonta Davis vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa Teleconference Transcript

Leonard Ellerbe

Thank you. Iíd like to thank everyone for joining the call for two-time super featherweight champion, Gervonta Davis and former unified champion Yuriorkis Gamboa as they prepare to battle for the WBA Lightweight World Championship.

In our co-feature, weíll have WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal taking on two division champion Badou Jack. Plus, a very, very exciting opening bout weíll have former 168-pound champion Jose Uzcategui taking on Mayweather Promotionsí own Lionell Thompson in a ten-round bout.

Weíre very excited to bring you this exciting card on December 28, live from the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Our event will be broadcasted live on SHOWTIME at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT

Weíre very excited to bring boxingís biggest rising star, Gervonta Davis, to Atlanta on December 28, which will no doubt close out 2019 in a major way. Mayweather Promotions will be hosting our first ever event down in ATL as part of a great holiday special on SHOWTIME.

Again, Mayweather promotionís own Gervonta Davis takes on Yuriorkis Gamboa in a very exciting bout. This will be a night that will be filled with exciting music as well as weíre bringing both cultures together in an epic event in Atlanta at State Farm Arena.

This will add another notch in sportís history book as it will be the first world championship boxing event in Atlanta since Evander Holyfield took on Vaughn Bean in September of 1998. We have no other than to thank Stephen Espinoza for allowing us to bring this great event to this great city of Atlanta.

So, without further ado, I would like to welcome SHOWTIME Networkís President of Sports and Event Programming, Stephen Espinoza.

Stephen Espinoza

Thanks, Leonard. Weíre thrilled to be back in business on another exciting event with Mayweather Promotions, this time in Atlanta. For SHOWTIME, this kicks off another great run to start the new year a little bit early.

Weíve got eight shows in 10 weeks, featuring some of boxingís biggest names: Gervonta Davis, of course, Danny Garcia, Jarrett Hurt, Claressa Shields, plus some of the top prospects and rising stars, Jaron Ennis and Stephen Fulton Jr. Thatís across SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION; ShoBox, and of course our streaming program SHOWTIME BOXING COUNTDOWN.

Now, Atlanta has a long history in boxing. Some of the biggest names in the sport have fought there. Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Pernell Whitaker, Lennox Lewis, Jack Dempsey all have fought in Atlanta. None of the other champions who have fought there have done so recently.

This will be the first world championship boxing event in Atlanta in more than 20 years. The last time there was a world title fight in Atlanta was in fact a SHOWTIME event, September of 1998, Evander Holyfield versus Vaughn Bean.

This is a long-awaited return of championship boxing to a long-underserved boxing market, and I canít think of a better fight to do that than this one. We all know Yuriorkis Gamboa. He is a gold medalist, a former titleholder at 126 and 130 pounds, and in fact was a Unified featherweight champion from 2009 to 2011.

Heís won four fights in a row. He is a full-fledged lightweight. He is now weighing over 130 for the 10th time consecutively. His last 10 most recent fights heís been over 130, and over one-third of his career has been at 130 or higher.

Gervonta Davis is going up to meet this challenge. Thatíll leave the first time in the last six fights that Gervonta has been over 130, and only nine of his 22 career fights have been above 130, so it will be interesting to see him settle into the new weight.

Gervonta, as Leonard accurately described, is one of the rising stars in the sport. Heís fighting for the third time this year, which is considered very active for a world champion. And I donít think itís an exaggeration to say that Gervonta is one of the top young stars in the sport.

He is numerically one of the top three draws in all of boxing for 2013. We expect a sellout or something very close on December 28, which will mean that over three different cities on three different dates and three fights this year, Gervonta will have sold well over 30,000 tickets, including over 8,000 in Carson, California, against a last-minute opponent.

At Royal Farms in Baltimore, a sellout crowd of nearly 15,000, and State Farm Arena in Atlanta, ticket sales are going very, very well. So with well over 30,000 seats sold among three fights in 2019, that puts Gervonta at the top of the list, along with Errol Spence and Anthony Joshua in terms of the boxers who have sold the most tickets across events in 2019.

So when we described Gervonta as one of the young stars in boxing, this is not just hyperbole. Itís not salesmanship, it is actually a fact, and it is very important, what heís doing here. Thereís no young fighter doing what Gervonta is doing right now.

Thereís no other fighter in boxing doing what heís doing. With Atlanta, we expected Gervonta will have launched his second long-underserved market, having gone to Carson earlier in the year.

He relaunched the Baltimore market. Weíre using him to relaunch the Atlanta market, and it says a lot about his drawing power that we are launching two new markets in 2019, on the back of Gervonta Davis.

Itís great for ĎTank,í itís great for this event. Itís great for Atlanta, but most importantly itís great for the sport of boxing. I expect a great fight, I expect the best out of Yuriorkis Gamboa, and an exciting night on December 28.

L. Ellerbe

Thank you, Stephen. And as Stephen mentioned, Gervonta Davis, heíll be in the main event. Heíll be taking on Yuriorkis Gamboa. Gamboa is a former Unified featherweight champion and a former lightweight champion, and he still brings a lot of experience, a Cuban old school fighter, coming from the great Cuban tradition.

So without further ado, heís a powerful fighter with lots of experience. He hails from Cuba. Heís a former Olympian. Heís invested in all the right tools to bring out the best in Gervonta Davis on December the 28th, so Iíd like to welcome Yuriorkis Gamboa on the call.

Yuriorkis Gamboa

Iím very happy to be on this conference call. Iím also very appreciative of the opportunity given to me. A little odd that Iím saying that, given that Iím the veteran coming into this fight, but I think everythingís lined up for me to have a big night on the 28th.


This question is actually for Leonard and Stephen. You guys have been around a long time. Gervonta Davis, he refers to himself as the one, and heís incredibly popular both in the ring and out of the ring, on social media.

What do you attribute his magnetic appeal with younger fans, especially from knowing him both in and out the ring? What do you attribute that magnetic appeal thatís growing with every fight?

S. Espinoza

Well, Iíll actually refer back to the early stages of Gamboaís career as well, because I think you can draw a lot of parallels in their styles. What people love about Gamboa when he burst on the scene is the same thing as people love about ďTankĒ Davis, and that is their ferocious style inside the ring; the knockout power, the flashiness, the showmanship.

Thatís what brings the boxing fans in, thatís what generated the enthusiasm and the name for Gamboa, and thatís whatís generating the enthusiasm for Gervonta Davis. In terms of outside the ring, Gervonta has just struck a chord with both boxing fans and non-boxing fans.

I think his story has resonated, his personality, and the struggle that heís come from. And again, I will draw the parallel with Gamboa as well. What these two young men have overcome in their careers is the stuff of movies, and I speak not so much in their careers but in their lives, the obstacles that theyíve overcome, their journeys that theyíve been on.

You know, very different journeys. You know, one from Cuba, one from inner city Baltimore. But long and tough and difficult journeys to get to where they are now, in which they fought for it at every stage of the way, both in and out of the ring.

So I think the combination of that in and out of the ring is really what has built ďTankĒ to what he is, and I think, by drawing the parallel, itís very similar to what established Gamboa as a star as well.

L. Ellerbe

Pretty much just to touch on what Stephen just said is that, when it comes to ďTankĒ, especially in the urban markets, which is carried over into other markets now, is that he represents what the fans like, this generation of fans want to see.

They want to see knockouts, and thatís what ďTankĒ believes in, and when he comes to the ring, his sole mentality is, ďIím not going to play with you. If you donít belong in there with me.Ē With him, heís going to run you out of that ring.

And the fans have gravitated to that style, and itís a very entertaining style that they know, and itís very reminiscent of the Mike Tyson era. And Iím not comparing the two fighters, but Iím just talking about what they both brought to the table.

That, when you came into the arena and you were coming to see a Mike Tyson or Gervonta Davis, you couldnít get up out of your seat to go to the restroom or go get some popcorn and a drink, because the fight might be over.

And thatís what he brings to the table and heís been able to cross over in markets now, where thereís other entertainers all over the world, just not African-Americans, all kinds of entertainers, actresses and actors. All have gravitated, and heís the next guy up.

He has the it factor. Itís different, from a boxing standpoint, because we donít see many stars in our sport that bring that to the table, and thatís what makes him very, very exciting and makes him the most exciting young star in the entire sport.


Thanks very much. Stephen, just as another quick follow-up to what you were saying earlier, can you just talk about the star power of ďTankĒ Davis to have this fight and so close, in the midst of the holiday, with people traveling and thereís still so much interest generated with this fight, to hold this fight. What does it say about his star power?

S. Espinoza

Yes, going into a market that has been dormant for a long time is a challenge for a promoter, itís a challenge for a fighter, and thatís why, quite honestly, you see this sport going back to the same cities because the safe and reliable thing is to go to where you know.

It is risky to launch or re-launch a market that has been quiet. You know, ďTankĒ very strongly believed that he could support an event and people would come out in Baltimore, and he was 150 percent correct. They came out far beyond what anyone expected, and a sell out in a great performance.

And on the shoulders of that, as a team, we and Mayweather Promotions had been looking for the right event to launch Atlanta again and bring that back to prominence, and you know, to say that, this young fighter is the one whoís going to reignite the market, thatís putting a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.

But I think, between his personality, his performance, and you know, the charisma and electricity that goes along with his events, this is proven already, when you look at the live gate, to be a wise decision to turn to Davis and Gamboa to re-launch and reignite that Atlanta market.


Is this one of the best training camps of your career, and also what the death of his former trainer Jorge Hernandez means to him?

Y. Gamboa

Everyone knows what Mr. Hernandez meant to me. He was not only my trainer in Cuba, but he was like a second father figure to me, and his memory will always live with me. At the same time, Iím going to dedicate this fight to his memory and to his legacy.

My training has been excellent with the same trainer Iíve had who trained me for my last few bouts. Weíve done a great deal with increasing my workload, to increase the capacity of my workload on fight night.

Also learning a lot of new techniques and a lot of game planning has gone into this camp. Iíve learned to be a lot more cerebral because at the end of the day, the cerebral part of the fight is whatís going to take me to victory on the night of December 28.


Do you feel like there is more motivation in this training camp compared to maybe some of your past fights, because itís been so long since you fought for a title and just the overall magnitude of this fight?

Y. Gamboa

Definitely, both play a huge factor into what went into this training camp. We all know the significance of fighting for a world title, and at the same time, the magnitude of this fight in and of itself has contributed to the intensity of this training camp and the workload that weíve had.

The work that went into this training camp was for me to regain and exceed the level that I was at when I was a reigning world champion.


Did that win in July against Roman Martinez feel even sweeter than maybe some of your past wins because you still managed to show that youíve got plenty of power even at this stage of your career?

Y. Gamboa

I think the work that was done and put into the camp against Roman Martinez and the results or the outcome of that bout clearly reflected the amount of work that I put into training camp.

Now I expanded and went above and beyond my last training camp in order to get to the level I need to, in order to come out victorious on December 28.


What advantages do you believe you have over Gervonta Davis, heading into this fight?

Y. Gamboa

Obviously the nod has to go for me for experience, just because of the mere fact of my record and who Iíve faced. I definitely think Iíve faced the better opponents and the better quality of opponents than Gervonta has, with all due respect to him.

At the same time, the last fight that I had against Martinez, not only that but also against Beltran, goes to indicate that thereís a lot left for me to give in this sport. So, there are a lot of things that are being overlooked, and that I believe give me a definite advantage over Gervonta, come December 28.


You made it very clear, after your co-main event in Baltimore that Gervonta Davis was the fight that you wanted. Why did you feel so strongly about that? Why were you so clear that he was the fighter you wanted?

Y. Gamboa

Itís a fight that was promised to me when I came into an agreement with PBC and itís something thatís within the contract that if I was able to beat Martinez, Gervonta was on the horizon and I knew that if I did my part by beating Martinez in July that the next step would logically be Gervonta. So, thatís why I was so sure of it.


How important is this fight for your legacy and for all of Cuban boxing?

Y. Gamboa

This fight definitely has some great significance to me, to be representing Cuban boxing and with whatís happened as of late, not only with Luis Ortiz but also in prior fights where, some of my compatriots did not come through, with exception of Yunier Dorticos. This fight represents not only a victory for me, but it also represents a victory for Cuba, and a victory for all my people if I do come out with a victory.


What do you expect from the fight? How do you expect it to develop? Do you expect a firefight? Do you think itís going to be more of a tactical, skillful fight?

Y. Gamboa

I think itís going to be a blend of both. I think thereís going to be good exchanges here and there throughout the rounds. But at the same time, I think we both carry a significant amount of intelligence into the ring, and I donít expect anything less from Tank, and obviously not from myself.

So, I suspect itís going to be a good mix. Thereís going to be a lot of tactical moves, a lot of game-playing from both sides. But by the same token, thereís going to be absolutely no shying away from exchanging blows in the middle of the ring.

L. Ellerbe

We expect a great fight come Saturday December 28, from Gamboa and his team. Theyíll be very well-prepared. So, as we move on to Gervonta Davis, when you have a superstar fighter, itís all about team.

And this next person, the next person Iíd like to welcome onto the call, heís been a tremendous part of Gervonta Davisís team. Heís been a father figure, heís been a mentor, and heís been an outstanding trainer to not only Gervonta, but several other young men and young women in the Upton Gym. So without further ado, Calvin Ford, to say a few words.

Calvin Ford

How you doing, Leonard? Thank you for this opportunity to be able to talk to you all. Just looking forward to December 28. ďTankĒ and I are working hard, looking forward to that name guy Gamboa.

Iíve been watching his work for a while. Just waiting for the fight to get here, so we can show our talent and what we do here at Upton Boxing in Baltimore.

L. Ellerbe

Thank you, Calvin. So, without further ado, the main event, the main attraction, two-time world champion, none other than Gervonta ďTankĒ Davis.

Gervonta Davis

Campís been going great. Iíve been training hard with just a few pounds to lose now. Weíve been sharpening our tools. Iím back training with the younger guys in the gym and things like that. Campís been going great. I feel strong, I feel healthy. I canít wait till fight night.

Itís going to be an explosive night, not just for me. The whole card going to be explosive, I believe. I have my young brothers fighting on the undercard again, so itís a night that Iím looking forward to. I canít wait.


What is it about you, would you say, that people care so much about in and out of the ring?

G. Davis

I believe, just in the ring, Iím explosive. Iím a great fighter all around the board. Outside the ring, Iím not a mean guy. Iím a likeable guy. Iím reachable, to my people. So I believe Iím just overall a great person. I believe that, and people see that.

Some might, see me on Instagram or Twitter and think otherwise, but when you really get to know me, Iím a likeable guy. So thatís why I think that, people are drawn to me.


When it comes to boxing 25 and under, you seem to be the guy thatís generating the most popularity. How would you describe that with the younger fans in particular?

G. Davis

I believe because Iím around that age group, I have a big impact on the youth. Iím just 25. I just turned 25, and Iím doing well for myself. And again, Iím reachable. Itís not only like they can see me on Instagram or TV or anything.

But Iím actually in Baltimore City where Iím from, and Iím around other fights in other cities, and you can come up to me and take pictures and things like that. When Floyd was coming up, when he was younger, and he was doing well for himself and he was in the area like me. So, itís better than, being reachable, than just seeing somebody thatís going to work for themself like a star, just on TV. When you see them on TV, you see them. But when you actually get near them and feel them and be face to face with them, itís more enjoyable. So thatís what I think.


Why is now the time to play at 135, and going forward, would you envision jumping back and forth between 130 and 135, depending on the fight?

G. Davis

For me, the jump back down to 130, I believe I can do it. If the right opportunity comes, Iíd definitely come back to 130. It was just a game plan for me and my team. We came to 135 to snatch a belt, and I felt like I definitely wanted to do that.

Iíd be a two division, three-time world champion. So I thought it was a great idea to do, so we did it.


To this point, has the year gone how you wanted it to go, for you and Calvin?

G. Davis

For me on my end, it definitely went as planned. My team discussed that we would fight three times this year. I definitely am going to fight three times this year, so Iím happy. Hopefully 2020 will be a better year, but Iím happy with my career right now.

C. Ford

Everything is right on time. We would have had Abner Mares first, so we were still looking for that name guy. Gamboa stepped up, to the plate to take this fight, so weíre looking to, start fighting these name guys the public wants to see.

So right now, weíre just concerned about this fight right here and going in for a great performance. I canít wait to see Tank, because he got to his peak quicker than what I thought he would this camp.

So Iím going to see what type of performance Gamboa is going to put on. Heís top secret with everything, so Iím looking forward to what heís going to bring to the table. Iím seeing ahead, but I like to focus on the person that heís going to put on his performance on.


Gervonta, I was just wondering if, at least on paper, you feel that Yuriorkis Gamboa is the best opponent that you will have fought?

G. Davis

On paper, I believe - itís got to be hand in hand with Jose Pedraza. Yes, I think so. Itís got to be hand in hand, because when I fought Pedraza, he was a world champion. He was a young world champion and he was undefeated.

Gamboa, he was, an Olympian. a former world champion, so itís got to be hand in hand. I canít take no credit away from, Pedraza, so I believe them two are probably the best.


Okay, but you feel heís clearly the best opponent that youíve fought since you beat Pedraza?

G. Davis

Yes, he is probably one of the best opponents since I beat Pedraza. I know he comes to fight. Iím looking forward to it, actually. In the gym, we work on things that he might do in the fight, and weíre just waiting for December 28, to see what he brings to the table.


Also Calvin, could you answer that as well, in terms of where he might rank as far as guys ďTankĒhas fought so far?

C. Ford

Well, again, if you remember any of my last interviews, Iím still looking for that guy thatís going to bring the best out of Tank, because I know Tankís capabilities. But I know Gamboa is going to be Gamboa.

Heís doing all the stuff that he needs to be doing to prepare for this title. Itís a world title. Heís got the motivation in front of him. And I know Tankís capabilities. Itís not about the power.

So Iím looking for Gamboa to be that guy. So his team and them, theyíre doing their job. They understand what theyíre against.

Theyíre working on stuff. We understand what weíre against. Weíre just waiting for December 28 so we can put on a great performance for Atlanta, because theyíve been waiting for it for the longest. I hope Baltimore will be in Atlanta, and just make it one big party.


Do you remember Gamboaís fight against Crawford? Was there anything that you could take away from that fight and what maybe you remember from that?

G. Davis

When I watched the Crawford vs Gamboa fight, thatís the fight I actually keep watching. Gamboa was touching him up in the beginning of rounds, because Crawford was too wide. So, I took that and tried to not be wide, like throwing a lot of round punches.

But the explosiveness was there and he was actually right-handed when Gamboa was touching him up. So once he turned southpaw, then that was a different story. I was learning from his mistakes, just not be wide.

But Iím always going to be me in the ring and do, what Gervonta Davis does. Thatís, be explosive, be fast, and if we go 12 rounds, Iím definitely here for it. But I donít see this fight going 12 rounds.


Would it mean something to you at all to get him out of there before Crawford did?

G. Davis

Not really, but if I do, it would tell that, Iím top five, pound for pound, for sure.


Have you felt the difference in preparing for a fight at 135 pounds versus when you held the 130-pound title? Do you feel like itís a little easier for you, not having to worry about cutting those extra five pounds?

G. Davis

I donít want to say easier, but I definitely got in shape way quicker than I normally do. I start running on the highest speed level. It was just way quicker than it normally is.

So, Iím just looking forward to December the 28th. I know itís been great for me inside the gym, but itís always about, December the 28th, fight night, how you perform there and how you put on a show?

So, campís been going great for me. Itís actually been, fast. I got in shape fast. And sparring ten and 12 rounds. I want to say I probably have like close to, like, 80 to 90 rounds in. So, I donít know if thatís a good thing or a bad thing, but Iíve been working, so I donít have to worry about the weight. Iím good on the weight, so itís been great for me.


Do you feel like maybe 135, you could see down the road, this being your better weight for you than 130?

G. Davis

Itís possible. Itís possible Iím at a better weight class. Because I havenít fought at that weight yet, so I donít know yet. Itís all good in training camp, and it matters, but what weíre really worried about is December the 28th and how it looks when I get inside the ring.

So, right now, it feels great. I donít have to worry about the weight. Iím actually a couple pounds over my weight class. But we still have, a couple more days and things like that. Iím feeling great right now, so weíll just see how we feel December the 28th.

L. Ellerbe

Okay. Iíd like to thank everyone who came onto the call, and we really look forward to a great SHOWTIME event. This fight will be the event of the year, at the end of the year. Have a great day.


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