Gervonta Davis vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa Teleconference Transcript
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
So, without further ado, I would like to welcome SHOWTIME
Networkís President of Sports and Event Programming, Stephen
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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?
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?
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?
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
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?
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?
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
Thank you, Calvin. So, without further ado, the main event,
the main attraction, two-time world champion, none other
than Gervonta ďTankĒ 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?
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
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?
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?
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
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?
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.
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
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?
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?
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
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
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
Do you feel like maybe 135, you could see down the road,
this being your better weight for you than 130?
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.
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.