Davis rolls with punches
Nevada Appeal Boxing Columnist
If there’s one thing certain about fighting for promoter Don King, it’s that’s nothing is certain.
Former IBF cruiserweight titlist “Koncrete” Kelvin Davis, who was stripped of his championship in February after he and King had a contract dispute, got yet another taste of King’s idiosyncratic ways Wednesday.
As late as Tuesday the 26-year-old Davis, of Reno, was scheduled to meet former knockout victim Chris “Cold Steel” Thomas in a 12-round contest for Thomas’ NABO title at the Fleet Center, in Chicago, on the undercard of Saturday’s WBO heavyweight showdown between champion Lamon Brewster and Andrew Golota, which will be televised on HBO.
The latest word is that Thomas is out and Guillermo Jones, ranked No. 4 in both the WBC and WBA, is in.
“We found out about (the change of opponents) at Wednesday’s press conference,” Kelvin’s brother/manager/trainer Kelly Davis, said when contacted Thursday in Chicago on his cell phone. “There are no surprises (when it comes to) Don King. It’s part of the game. We trained just as hard anyway, so what’s the big deal.”
“The big deal,” as it were, may be a number of things. Davis hasn’t fought since winning the vacant IBF title against Ezra Sellers 55 weeks ago. At 5-foot-7, Davis is 9 inches shorter than the 6-foot-4 Jones. And Davis, who originally took the proposed Thomas fight on short notice just to get back in the ring, hasn’t had any sparring in months.
Then there’s the matter of experience. Jones, of Colon, Panama, is more experienced, with a record of 31-3-2, with 24 knockouts. He’s also had three world title fights – a controversial loss and equally suspect draw against then-WBA junior middleweight titlist Laurent Boudouani in 1998 and a draw against WBO cruiserweight beltholder Johnny Nelson on November 23, 2002. Nelson has successfully defended his belt 12 consecutive times.
When informed that he was meeting a tall, slippery counterpuncher in the 33-year-old Jones, Kelvin Davis appeared unconcerned.
“I thought it was all Chris Thomas, but hey, I’ve got to fight anyway,” Davis said. “My style goes with lighter guys or heavier guys. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to make you fight. I’m going to do my stuff.”
Asked what happened to Thomas, Davis supplied a quick, matter-of-fact answer.
“He didn’t want to fight me,” Davis said. “He was talking stuff before, but I come out here and he got cold feet. I’d knocked him out before.”
From Davis’ perspective, even though Jones has never before been stopped, it is questionable if he will be able to weather the voluminous heavy punches that Davis is known to throw.
In addition to finally being able to get back into the ring, Davis found out Wednesday that he stands to benefit greatly if he can defeat Jones. Davis said he met with an HBO matchmaker at the press conference who informed him that the network is interested in matching him with WBA-WBC champion Jean-Marc Mormeck, of France.
Mormeck, 31-2, 21 KO’s, is coming off a convincing April 2 victory over previous WBC titlist Wayne Braithwaite. Like Davis, Mormeck is a straight-ahead action fighter who likes to bang, although he mixes in some occasional boxing between flurries.
“It feels good. They just said to take care of this fight,” Davis said of his possible future opportunity to debut on boxing’s biggest stage – HBO – against Mormeck. “(Fighting) always motivates me – not just HBO. I have my own personal reasons. I want to get my career back on track. I stay motivated for that.”
Two other things that stand to benefit Davis is that he said he was initially prepared to go 12 rounds – this bout is scheduled for 10 – and he’s a natural 200-pounder. When Jones fought Nelson, the cruiserweight division had a 190-pound weight limit.
Kelvin echoed Kelly’s sentiments that all he has to do is get near enough to Jones to unload with both hands and the rest will take care of itself.
“Jones moves a lot, but he’s going to be facing me and my style,” Kelvin Davis said. “I’m going to go to his body and slow him down. We both can counterpunch. I’m not worried what he’s going to be doing.”
Even if Davis wins, fighting for King will remain uncertain. But if Davis gets a crack at Mormeck on HBO, at least there will appear to be a method to King’s madness.