BALTIMORE (WJZ) — West Baltimore-born boxing champion Gervonta Davis finds herself headlining another Showtime pay-per-view main event.
The lights, the cameras and the star power. That’s what Davis and his team are used to when they return to the big stage at 9 p.m. Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.
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In the main event at Barclays Center, Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) will battle Rolando Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) for Tank’s World Boxing Association lightweight championship belt.
WJZ got rare insider access to Davis’ longtime coaches: Coach Calvin Ford and Coach Kenny Ellis.
Rick Ritter asked Ford how it felt to achieve one of his biggest goals.
“What does it mean to you guys to be the center of attention at Memorial Day weekend in New York?” he asked. “Years ago you always told me what you dreamed of.”
“It is an honor for us. But we really don’t let it get to our heads,” said Ford. “First and foremost, we’re trying to improve our city. It’s only part of the process. We have a job to do and we have a city of youth in Baltimore that we need to motivate and let them know that anything is possible if you have the right people around you.”
Ford has coached Gervonta since he was a little kid.
“Calvin’s right. It’s an honor,” said Ellis. “People like our work and what we do is a great feeling, but it’s nothing but God’s work.”
Ellis has a star-powered daughter of her own, Mia “Killer Bee” Ellis, who is also unbeaten and fighting on the undercard Saturday night.
The last time we saw Tank in the ring it was a dogfight against Issac Pitbull Cruz. It was a fight that lasted an unexpected 12 rounds, which Tank won by decision.
“A lot of people don’t know that he (Gervonta) injured his hand two weeks before this fight, but as a team we know what happened,” Ellis said. “He still got the job done with one hand and by Saturday night he’s got both hands, so you’re going to see the old tank.”
“It was a learning experience for Tank,” said Ford. “He can’t make changes and has to stick with what works for him. On Saturday evening you will see the difference between this training camp and the last one.”
Nobody knows Davis better than his longtime coaches. They say the 27-year-old man has spent most of this camp training in Miami and is hungrier than ever after taking his conditioning and training to new levels. Now he is more focused on the condition of his body.
“He had better focus with no distractions,” Ellis said. “He has a home in Florida and after camp he would just go home. There weren’t many friends down there so he could just focus on the fight.”
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Davis has focused on his body “for a long life,” Ford said.
“This is the peak of his career where he’s preparing for these guys to come his way,” he said.
For Ford, Ellis and Davis, it’s always bigger than the fight itself. They hail from West Baltimore’s Upton Boxing Center — a gym that has been helping transform the lives of Charm City’s youth for years.
“They say if you ask God he will give it to you,” Ellis said. “We asked for it and he gives it to us. We just have to keep doing it. It’s a blessing.”
It’s a blessing that offers children something they desperately need in Baltimore: hope and opportunity.
“We’ve just got to keep sticking, sticking, and sticking until the next kid believes like we believe in the system,” Ford said of the city who sees this vision that there is an escape route that can actually be reached and reached. That’s what it’s all about.”
With a career soaring fast, the sky is the limit for one of boxing’s finest teams.
“The book is still being written,” said Ford.
“Gervonta’s close to being in a position where he’s in charge and they’re asking what he wants to do,” Ford said. “That’s where Gervonta Davis starts. The new beginning. I can’t wait to see the business side of Tank.”
As always, confidence is never an issue for this trio.
Bad blood has been brewing between Davis and Romero for years, but the time has come on Saturday night.
“I’m predicting four rounds,” Ellis said. “A KO. Rolly’s power is cut off because he has an unpaid balance. We will turn off the power to him.”
“For every word Rolly said out of his mouth, I want Tank to make him pay for it,” Ford said. “It’s an old-fashioned fight. Get your popcorn ready.”
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