Koncrete Davis still has his spirit
“We shall fight on the beaches.
We shall fight on the landing grounds.
We shall fight in the fields and in the streets.
We shall fight in the hills.
We shall never surrender.”
– Winston Churchill.
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Boxing Columnist
The IBF may have stripped Reno’s “Koncrete” Kelvin Davis of his cruiserweight title, but it hasn’t taken away his fighting spirit.
Forget about frowns, Davis was all grins Monday at Koncrete Gym as he and his brother/trainer/manager Kelly Davis discussed his future, which may include another title shot in the near future.
“I was frustrated, aggravated -everything,” a grinning Kelvin Davis said of being stripped of his title. “Now I’m just trying to stay focused. I’m helping out (training) some people in the gym. It eases the stress.”
Kelly Davis said he has a signed contract with Don King for Kelvin to have a tune-up fight on April 30, followed by a shot at WBA-WBC champion Jean-Marc Mormeck in June. Mormeck unified the belts with a 12-round unanimous decision Saturday over former WBC beltholder Wayne Braithwaite in a Showtime-televised fight.
The 26-year-old Davis became Northern Nevada’s first world champion when he stopped Ezra Sellers in eight rounds on May 1, 2004, in Miami. Davis, 21-2-1, with 16 knockouts, was set to defend his title Feb. 5 in St. Louis against O’Neil Bell, but following a contractual disagreement with his promoter, Don King, the IBF vacated his title Feb. 9.
“It’s been almost a year since I’ve fought,” Kelvin said. “I don’t know why King doesn’t want me to fight. He makes all these promises. They’re all lies. He told me I could fight for the unified championship and then the heavyweight title.”
Even though his unsuccessful Feb. 26 appeal hearing in Las Vegas cost Davis $10,000 and his championship, a Kelly Davis-King bargaining session has apparently borne fruit.
“We got the contract we were looking for,” Kelly Davis said. “We get four fights a year – two with King and two more on our own if King can’t find us an opponent. There is going to be no more sitting on the shelf. The contract gives us what we want for four fights a year. You can’t lose.”
Kelvin Davis said he’s been encouraged by ESPN2 Friday Night Fights analyst Teddy Atlas’ and Showtime commentator Al Bernstein’s recent comments about Davis being the man to beat in the cruiserweight division.
“My style is exciting,” Davis said. “I’m America’s champion. (Former heavyweight champion) Lennox Lewis was a great fighter, but he wasn’t American. Mormeck’s from France. People want an American champion. But we’re two fighters with the same style. It’ll be a great fight.”
Like Davis, Mormeck is a pressure fighter. Mormeck, now 30-2, with 21 knockouts, backed up Braithwaite throughout their fight Saturday, dropping him in the seventh round. But unlike Davis, Braithwaite will retreat behind his gloves at times and try to mix in some boxing.
Even though he was forced to drop 10 pounds the night before he fought Sellers (due to a contractual error), Davis was relentlessly aggressive, knocking down Sellers three times and throwing murderous punches from both the orthodox and southpaw stances.
Davis, who is running five to six miles daily up Mt. Rose Highway, looked to be in fighting shape Monday, his six-pack abs bulging after a light workout.
“I’m twice as strong as I was on Feb. 5,” said Davis, who at 201 pounds is only one pound over the cruiserweight limit. “I started training hard three weeks ago. I was down to 195. I was stressed out. I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I’m picking it back up.”
Even though he was stripped of his crown, Davis still has physical possession of his IBF belt.
“I’m still champion. They took my title (out of the ring),” Davis said. “I’m going to come in the ring with it when I fight Mormeck. That’s my belt. We (Kelly and Kelvin as a team) earned it. When I beat Mormeck I’m going to hold all three belts.”
If Davis wins, make it four. THE RING magazine, which recently had its cruiserweight championship vacant and Braithwaite and Mormeck ranked one and two, respectively, now recognizes Mormeck its champion and will present him with its belt. If Davis can beat Mormeck, the belt would be his.
Bell and “Cowboy” Dale Brown will square off for Davis’ vacated title May 25 at the Seminole Hard Rock Café Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Cima Georgevich, whose Redline Entertainment represents Warrior’s Boxing, Bell’s and Brown’s promoter, sent the Nevada Appeal a press release saying both fighters would be interested in facing Davis after their tilt.
It’s true that King and the IBF have landed some mighty blows on him, but like Winston Churchill and his British countrymen some 60-plus years ago Davis appears far from surrendering.
n Mike Houser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org