The Baltimore native and four time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis met face to face with his next opponent Mario Barrios in Atlanta today, and while he looks to become a champion in another division, this may end up being Tank’s biggest challenge yet. Barrios is undefeated (26-0, 17 KOs) with stoppage victories in nine of his last ten bouts. In his last outing, he brutally stopped Ryan Karl in six rounds before Tank defeated Leo Santa Cruz on the same card in San Antonio. The height and reach advantage is on the side of Barrios, however Tank feels that he can deal with that on June 26th.
“We know that Barrios is a bigger guy and that he can punch,” Davis said today in the press conference at the State Farm Arena. “We’re working hard each day in the gym, because we’re going up against a big task on June 26th. I took this fight because I want to be great. All the other big names at lightweight had scheduled fights so I felt like I wanted to go out and beat the best fighter out there for me.”
The lightweight division has been one of the hottest divisions over the past couple of years, with Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Ryan Garcia being among the most popular fighters in the sport. Tank Davis is one fighter that has been popular as well as he had events that were well attended in the past including his bout against Yuriorkis Gamboa in the same venue that he will go to battle against Barrios in. He has a high knockout ratio (95 percent) and the last one against Santa Cruz was considered as a Knockout of the Year candidate. Davis feels that his fights are a highlight waiting to happen, and he expects that in his fight against Barrios.
“Don’t go get popcorn during the fight, because it could end at any moment,” he said. “I bring what boxing needs, and that’s excitement. We all know when I fight, it’s never a boring fight. From the first round, until whenever it ends, I just keep coming, in all of my fights.”
Barrios comes in as the defending WBA champion as he got the belt in 2019 with a win over Batyr Akhmedov by decision. His height at 140 has posed problems for all of his previous opponents as he has either stopped or scored unanimous decisions in all of his fights. That statistic is why some feel that this bout is a big step up for Davis, and Barrios is aware of that.
“’Tank’ is jumping up two weight classes,” Barrios said. “He’s doing something a lot of great fighters have done. He even said it: this isn’t an easy fight for him. We’re ready to face the best version of ‘Tank’ that anyone has ever seen and it’s going to be war.”
He was surprised when his name was suggested as an opponent for Davis for this year, and he guessed that they based the decision on what they may have seen in a few of his previous fights. However, Barrios sees this as an opportunity to show his boxing skill to more fans of the sport.
“Whether you like ‘Tank’ or not, he has one of the biggest names in boxing. This is the type of fight that can skyrocket my name up there to the top level of the sport. This is a huge opportunity for me. ‘Tank’ called me out. I know he’s trying to do something great, but this is a dangerous fight for him.”