Gervonta Davis vs. Hugo Ruiz
Thank you everybody for joining this call. Iíd like to kick
the call off and commend Premier Boxing Champions,
Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and SHOWTIME
CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and the network for saving this really
special card thatís going to take place Saturday, February
Everybodyís aware of the unfortunate injury to Abner Mares,
who was going to fight Gervonta Davis, but fortunately a
great replacement was found in Hugo Ruiz. Now Iím going to
turn it over to Stephen Espinoza to make opening comments.
Thanks very much. By now all of you are aware of the
substitution. I donít think itís any exaggeration to say
that Abner was heartbroken at this development about the
The Davis fight was a fight that Abner asked for, that he
pursued and is a fight thatís in his backyard. It was well
on its way to breaking the attendance record and it remains
to be seen whether that will happen or not but certainly had
the cards stayed together it almost certainly would have
broken the attendance record based on the trajectory of
At this point the priority was in fact saving this card.
We've got a whole host of various fighters whoíve been
training very hard for this. They all want to remain active.
Davis wants to remain active so it was a priority to save
this card and to find the best possible, available opponent.
There were a number of options pursued, a number of calls
went out to a variety of different fighters. Not
surprisingly it wasnít easy to find someone who was willing
to take on Gervonta Davis on ten daysí notice. Thankfully we
did get Hugo Ruiz interested and he immediately accepted
after he understood the situation.
Hugo Ruiz obviously was on our January 19 PPV on the
Pacquiao vs. Broner undercard at 126-pounds. He will be
moving up in weight further and I realize that there has
been some concern about that. But the one thing that gave us
comfort in approving this opponent was the physical size.
Hugo Ruiz has a significant height advantage and reach
advantage over Gervonta Davis.
Yes, this will be his first fight above 126 but his body
frame gave us some confidence that he would be able to be
competitive in this fight. In fact, with his reach advantage
and height advantage he presents some problems to Davis that
Abner did not. So we're looking forward to a very
We know Hugo is here. He was disappointed that he did not
get the title shot that he expected to on the Pacquiao
undercard. And in a certain way thereís karma is repaying
him in that he gets a title shot here on February 9.
Thank you so much Stephen. Now Iím going to introduce
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions to make a
brief comment of just about the card in general. Leonard?
Thank you Kelly. Iíd like to thank everyone for joining
todayís call. As Stephen mentioned with Hugo Ruiz being a
last-minute replacement, his reach and height advantage,
that does create somewhat of a problem obviously because
anytime as a fighter when thereís a last-minute replacement
you havenít trained and prepared for this particular
So Davis is going to have to obviously make some immediate
adjustments for those things with the height and reach
advantage that Hugo brings. Again Hugo is a proud Mexican
warrior and we expect a very, very entertaining and exciting
fight for the fans.
Okay thanks so much Leonard. At this time Iíd like to
introduce Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions to make the
introductions for Hugo Ruiz. Tom?
Well thank you Kelly. I want to say thank you to Sampson
Boxing who is the promoter of Hugo Ruiz. Sampsonís always
got these guys that weíve never heard of and they step up
and theyíre household names a few years later.
Itís also great to be here at the former StubHub Center, the
premier outdoor boxing venue of the United States at Dignity
Health Sports Park. And three out of the last six Ring
Magazine and BWAA Fights of the Year have all been at the
Dignity Health Sports Park. And let me tell you they werenít
all Fight-of-the-Year candidates going into the fight.
I know Hugo Ruiz very well. He fought two absolute wars for
me back in 2015 and 2016 for the WBC title against Julio
Ceja. And a couple weeks ago, as Stephen said, he didnít
blink an eye when there was a last-minute opponent change.
Ruiz is a more experienced guy and experience matters.
Thatís what heíll need to rely on in this fight. So it gives
me great pleasure to introduce the former world champion,
Well first of all good afternoon to everybody, this is Hugo
Ruiz and Iím very happy with my promoter Sampson Lewkowicz
to get this fight. Sampson told me keep yourself ready,
there might be something coming down the pipe and thatís how
I got this fight to fight for the 130-pound championship.
Iím very happy, training hard.
I also want to thank my father whoís going to be in my
corner. So this is a big opportunity for me for this fight
thatís taking place on February 9 and I cannot wait for the
February 9 date.
Have you had time to sort of process what these last two
weeks have gone for you?
Basically I was preparing to fight a southpaw before my
opponent was changed on the PPV bout. So I had that change
and Iíve been basically still training for a southpaw in the
last two weeks. Iíve been feeling very strong and very
active. And that last fight was basically, it was more like
a training then a real tough fight, so Iím ready. Iím rested
and Iím good to go.
Aside from your size what else do you think you have that
makes you think you can beat Gervonta Davis on February 9?
Iím very hungry. I want to of course be a champion at 130.
Those are the other attributes that I have besides what you
stated. The height advantage that I have I feel very
comfortable at 130. Sampson has taken me to be a champion at
118, 122. Iím close to 126 but also this is a big challenge
for me I understand that, but besides the height, itís the
hunger that I have to be champion at 130.
If you fought on January 19 what day did you get back to the
gym after that fight?
I was back training that Tuesday after the fight, I was back
in the gym.
How familiar are you with Davis?
Iíve seen him fight of course a few times and I know heís a
counterpuncher. He looks for the knockout just like me. So
this could be very electric starting early because as you
well know Iím also a guy that looks for the knockout from
the first round immediately. So thatís what Iíve seen and it
should be exciting.
Are worried at all that Davis might have the natural
advantage in strength and size?
No not really. I feel very comfortable at this weight. If I
was 126, if I was planning for 126 this Saturday coming up,
the 9th of February, I wouldnít have made it because Iím
already going to make 130. Thatís how strong I feel at this
weight so that does not pose a problem for me against
Why did you go back so quickly to the gym after your last
I usually take maximum five days off a week after a fight
but with this fight with Guevara there was really not that
much physical abuse from my part. I didnít receive that many
hard hits. So I started training right away.
My promoter Sampson told me, ďHey stay active there might be
something coming up the pipe.Ē And thatís what happened. So
Iím glad that I started that Tuesday after the fight.
If the fight on the Pacquiao undercard wouldíve been a
little more taxing this wouldnít have been possible for you?
Thatís correct, if the fight wouldíve been more physical
draining if it wouldíve been a toe-to-toe battle where I
wouldíve received a lot of punches and stuff then maybe I
wouldíve not taken this fight. But I continued my training
leading up to the fight with Guevara and I just continued it
because again, I felt physically well after the fight. There
were no major damages.
How much of a factor do you feel maybe rust will be for
Yes, definitely I think that rust might show. Iíve been very
active. I fought in August, November and just a couple of
weeks ago. You lose a lot of rhythm when you donít fight for
a while so that might definitely be an advantage that I have
going into this fight.
Can you use your boxing style that you currently have to
defeat Davis or do you feel you need to adopt another style
and how quickly can you adopt that style?
No my style will definitely not change. Thatís been my
style. I didnít think this fight would come so soon but I
definitely was looking at being champion at 130. This is a
great opportunity thatís been given to me to fight this
upcoming week. My style will not change. I will look toward
the knockout against Gervonta Davis. If youíve seen my 39
wins, 33 have come via the knockout. So Iím going to
maintain my style, thatís the way I fight.
Thank you so much Hugo for joining us for that part of the
Now we're going to turn it back over to Leonard Ellerbe, CEO
of Mayweather Promotions to make the formal introduction for
Gervonta Davis and his trainer Calvin Ford.
Thank you Kelly. This next gentleman, heís really more than
a coach. His call of duty, it really goes far beyond the
ring. And because of his actions, he really gained and
earned respect from many different people including myself,
in addition to all the young kids that are out there, all
the teens and a lot of fighters that he mentors.
Heís really helped people through the streets of Baltimore.
Heís done a phenomenal job in playing a vital role in
Gervontaís entire career. He sets a really positive example
for all the youth that are in that particular area. Thereís
not enough accolades to go around to say about Calvin. So
without further ado Iíd like to introduce Calvin Ford,
trainer of Gervonta Davis.
Training camp has been going great. Weíve made a transition
here to Los Angeles. Everything is going fine and whatnot.
We were looking forward to fighting Abner Mares. Just
looking forward for that, but this happens in a fight. I
hope he gets better so we actually get another chance at him
but right now weíre just concerned about this new opponent
we have in front of us.
I think he a little bit stronger and I know from watching
some of his, heís going to come to put on a good show for
this upcoming fight with Gervonta Davis.
He became the youngest reigning American champion in 2017
obviously fighting on SHOWTIME after knocking out Jose
Pedraza at just 22-years-old. He became also the youngest
two-time world champion last April when he knocked out Jesus
Cuellar in round three.
So without further ado, heís earned the reputation in sports
and entertainment as being the next PPV star, the WBA Super
Featherweight Champion of the World, Gervonta ďTankĒ Davis.
I just want to say Iím excited for February 9. Iím looking
forward to my new opponent. Sorry to the fans who purchased
tickets thinking that I was fighting Abner. My main focus
was fighting Abner.
February 9 Iím just trying to give them an action-packed
fight no matter who I fight. Iíll put on a great performance
for the fans so they can enjoy the fight and go home with
something to talk about.
What was your mindset when you first heard that Abner got
I was actually asleep when I got a call that Abner pulled
out. At first I thought he was lying but then I had to
think, if I was in his shoes I knew his health means more
than our fight. Hopefully he will be okay and we'll get
another shot at fighting him sometime in 2019 but my main
focus is on February 9 and on my new opponent.
Why do you truly believe that Ruiz is a stronger opponent
I believe that heís stronger because look at his knockout
ratio. Heís 39 and 4 with 33 knockouts. That had to play a
big part. And I didnít even know he was coming up from 126.
I didnít know that. I just knew that they gave me a new
opponent. I didnít know who he was, Iím just excited for
How relieved are you knowing that everything you have set
out for 2019 is going to stay on course?
Iím actually in a better space knowing that I. I never had
dates lined up like this with me being the main event. I
have my dates and Iím just super excited. This camp I really
havenít been down, so Iíve been happy knowing that I have a
big future and three big fights lined up for me. Iím just
excited. Iím just soaking it all in, making sure Iím
training hard so every fight I bring excitement to the
sport. Iím just, Iím in a great space right now.
What do you think is the main difference between Hugo Ruiz
and Abner Mares stylistically if there is any?
I believe that Hugo, heís more aggressive than Abner. I
think he has more pop on his punches. I just watched a
little clip of him. I havenít studied him like that. I just
watched a little a clip once I knew who I was fighting just
to be aware of what I have in front of me.
Did you actually get a chance to watch Hugo at all when you
were there at his last fight?
I was doing a SHOWTIME interview right after. So my main
focus was the SHOWTIME interview so I didnít watch his
Gervonta have you heard the criticisms that you replaced one
guy moving up in weight for another guy moving up in weight?
How would you respond to that?
My mind was focused on Abner. Not to throw any other fighter
under the bus but, Vasyl Lomachenko, he fought someone that
was two weight classes under him and not only one time, he
fought another person that was smaller than him, Rigondeaux
and Miguel Marriaga.
But Iím just excited to put on a great show no matter who
Iím in there with. Itís all about the performance that
Gervonta Davis puts on and Iím here to put on a great
Leonard was it in your mind and belief that we will
absolutely salvage this show and find somebody for Gervonta
Most definitely. That was definitely the mindset. Obviously
heís a prideful champion. Heís been off for, itíll be ten
months when he steps in the ring and he needed to fight. So
Hugo was the best available guy that we could find. Heís in
shape. Heís ready. Heís a proud Mexican warrior. Heís going
to put on a very entertaining fight for all the fans in
attendance and all the fans that are watching on SHOWTIME.
Have there been any changes in preparation or training camp
by the time you guys found out about the new opponent, or
since it was too close to fight day have you guys been
pretty much sticking to the same routine?
No weíve been sticking to the same routine. We didnít change
anything. Actually Gervonta has various different sparring
partners in there because Iím still a student of the game
too and I always say you never know when a fighter is going
to change their stuff. If you look at when Gennady Golovkin
fought Danny Jacobs, he went southpaw. So you have to
prepare yourself for anything thatís going to happen that
night. So we look at different looks and just like you
prepare for anything else. Most coaches and trainers want to
prepare for any situation thatís going to come so youíll be
prepared for it.
This camp I actually sparred different type of guys. I
sparred someone thatís come after me. He was much taller
with a longer reach, so I thank him for the work and things
like that because now I needed it. Iím excited. Nothing
other than training. Weíll adapt to whatever was in front of
us, so. Iím just excited to see what he brings February 9.
Is there a lot more excitement for this fight considering
that itís been a long time since you last fought?
Iím just excited. This is my first main event in the US, so
like I said Iím in a great space right now. I know that 2019
is very big for me and Iím just soaking it all in. I donít
feel like I should be nervous though when you have good food
on your plate. Iím just, Iím ready.
How will you take advantage of the taller fighter with the
longer reach, how do you plan to take advantage of this guy?
We're not going to try to take advantage, we're just going
to see, what type of fight heís going to bring. Tank, heís
in a good spirit. Heís been great this camp. Heís been
coming in doing what we asking him to do. If you look at his
Instagram heís been posting how heís coming along.
Everything has been on point.
So when we look at a situation of opponent change, we want
to roll with it. The main thing is, we want to put on a good
performance, because at the end of the day thatís what you
all are going to talk about especially after the long
So we've been preparing for the long layoff. We want to make
him look sharper and like he never was off the ring. Thatís
going to show that heís not looking past this opponent right
here, but to let everyone know, man heís the truth and
thatís what we trying to show. Tank is the truth. Gervonta
is the truth.
What do you consider a good performance?
Like I always say if you watch any of my interviews itís
what the opponent brings to Tank because you all still
havenít seen the best of Tank. Watching him sparring with
certain people and doing certain thing, it gets real
exciting there. So Iím just waiting to see what Tank does.
Tank is like Michael Jordan to me in the ring. He puts on a
show and makes you watch what he going to do next. So thatís
what Iím looking forward to. Iím looking for a great
performance from him.
For me itís just getting in there to do what I do best. I
want to just capitalize off of that mistake and make them
pay for it all night, thatís all. Show them that Iím not
just best in my weight class, Iím probably like one of the
best fighters on TV, if not the best.
Leonard what assurances did you get from each other that
that everything was going to go smooth this year?
Itís actions. He knows firsthand that in 2018 a lot of
things happened and a lot of things people donít know about
and that those were personal things. Again heís a young man.
He made a few mistakes and he stepped up. He owned those
mistakes and heís moved on.
He wants to have a phenomenal year and everythingís in place
for him to do that. We think the world of Gervonta Davis. We
think that heís going to eventually be the biggest star in
this sport and right now heís the most exciting fighter in
the entire sport.
So thatís what we're looking forward to, him just getting
back. Thatís why Floyd was very adamant to me when Abner
fell out. He called me it was, like really the wee hours of
the morning and he said, ďTank has to fight.Ē And we're all
on the same page with that.
Heís young, he needs to be active. He wants to be out there
showcasing his skills to show you that he is what he is. And
again come next Saturday night I think we can expect another
sensational performance from Tank.
Leonard was Ruiz on that short list immediately or did you
initially reach out to other fighters who ultimately
Yes, there was a short list but I want to give props to Tom
Brown. With Tom being a Hall of Fame matchmaker and an
excellent promoter, and again with having the resources and
having worked with a lot of these fighters, being in his
position, it made things that much easier.
So there were a few options, a few guys we looked at but
this was the best guy who was available. We know style-wise
that he brings excitement. Heís a very aggressive fighter
with a bunch of knockouts. And heís coming to bring the
fight for the fans. Heís a proud Mexican warrior and we know
thereís going to be a very entertaining fight. His style and
Tankís style are matched very well and itís going to be a
very, very entertaining fight.
Gervonta how are you maintaining your focus with the
Iím not tripping off of changing opponents and things like
that because when I actually first started, they used to
change my opponents a lot. A lot of fighters used to pull
out and things like that. And also I came from the amateurs.
We used to fight five times a week and with different
So Iím not really tripping off the opponent change. All Iím
here to do is put on a good performance on February 9 and
weíre looking forward to it.
Okay great. Gervonta we're all looking forward to it and we
appreciate how great of a boxing star you are for this sport
and the sports world in general. So congratulations on your
careers to date and we look forward to seeing you fight on
Saturday night. Thank you so much to the media for joining
us and we will see you next week at the fights.