Gervonta Davis vs. Liam Walsh Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Where: Copper Box Arena, London, England
Weight Class: Junior Lightweight: 130 Pounds
Titles: IBF 130 Pound Title
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Gervonta Davis, 17-0 (16 KOs), Baltimore, Maryland
Liam Walsh, 21-0 (14 KOs), Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Betting Odds: Gervonta Davis -420, Liam Walsh +335
IBF Junior Lightweight Champion Gervonta Davis makes the first defense of his title against unbeaten challenger Liam Walsh in London on May 20. It is a battle of unbeaten 130-pounders, featuring a man many feel is a rising star in Davis, just 22, against an unbeaten Walsh who is an exciting top-rated contender. In January, Davis stopped unbeaten Jose Pedraza in 7 rounds to annex the belt and is a robust favorite over the 30-year old Englishman. Will Davis live up to the hype or will we begin to see cracks in the armor as he rises the level of his opposition?
With fighters like Davis, we don't know until we really know. At first glance, everything appears to be in order. He is unbeaten in 17 fights and with 16 KOs, as he has shown considerable power in his brief 4-year career. He won numerous national amateur tournaments, giving him the ideal background for a future star. He is backed by Floyd Mayweather, who serves as his mentor and promoter. Mayweather has been effusive in his praise of the young Baltimore-based champion. Davis is young, can punch, and in his lone title bout, he won by knockout over an undefeated reigning champion. He is explosive and from the southpaw stance, he wields a strong straight left along with a good uppercut. It's like the story sort of writes itself.
But let's look beneath the surface. While everything looks to be in order, the jury is still out. And just because fighters are vaguely similar to Mayweather doesn't mean their game features the finer points that the future Hall of Famer has. Personally, I don't like his feet. He is exceptionally heavy on his right foot, with all his offense stemming from that position. Often times, fans and observers of the sport look at what happens above the waist. But it is often what happens beneath the waist that tells you how special a fighter is or is going to be. Good feet make it hard to read a fighter and what they are going to do next. Fighters like Davis who are heavy on the front foot can be a predictable and easy to figure out for capable fighters.
Again, we don't know until we know, but with fighters like Davis, you have no choice but to evaluate the skills they show. Granted, being able to end a fight in swift order with power-punching is an attribute that can take a fighter very far. But we can't help but notice that Davis isn't all that fluid, with his stiff legs making it easy for opponents to see what he's trying to do. His power has been the deciding factor thus far. He hasn't been forced to adapt. We don't know if he can fight when forced into retreat or when put in a position to overcome adversity. The Baltimore slugger looks great when letting the shots fly against non-elite fighters. But when the competition gets tougher, he's going to have to set up that power more thoughtfully. He's going to need to tuck that head in. Simply put, he'll need to show a cerebral side he hasn't been forced to show as he's been knocking everyone out. When it comes to using movement and a jab, setting up his power, controlling distance, and offering an air of unpredictability, the young champion still leaves things to be desired and could be in trouble against an elite opponent.
The question is whether or not his challenger Liam Walsh is elite. The short answer is no. That doesn't mean he isn't a live underdog. The English product is 30 and tall for 130 pounds. His career is only 21 fights deep, a bit of a shallow body of work for a fighter nearly a decade into his pro career. Nevertheless, he has won all his fights. He increased the quality of his opposition over time, beating some of the best 130-pounders in England. In his last fight in October, he scored a unanimous decision over contender Andrey Klimov in an elimination bout to earn this title shot.
Among the more-positive traits Walsh carries to the ring is a herky-jerky style. He is a southpaw, but can fight from both stances with a good jab from either side. He is exceptionally nimble and quick. His punches sting and unlike the champion, he is on the balls of his feet and difficult to pinpoint, as he possesses no tells. Walsh's punches are thrown with great suddenness and they lash out quickly with velocity. The challenger has strong powers of anticipation and is a very skillful boxer.
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My concerns for Walsh are multifold. I think Davis represents a step up in terms of talent by a potentially-substantial margin. A lot of Walsh's opponents were more or less there to be hit, while possessing a mere fraction of the danger-element Davis carries with him into the squared-circle. And being so lanky, Walsh is available as a big target. He doesn't do a ton of bending at the waist and with that erect British style, one bristles at the thought of Davis slamming home power-shots. Boxers like Walsh who have that head sticking up can thrive, as long as they avoid hurtful punchers who can wing both straight and circular shots, which describes Davis to a tee.
Walsh's limitations aside, I see him as being a really good fighter in his home nation fighting a champ who might register higher in terms of hype than actual substance. One wants to avoid making picks that will look silly down the line. If Davis actually develops into a superstar, we don't want to throw away money on fighters like Walsh chasing that upset. At the same time, we only have our observations to go on and while those thoughts are by no means iron-clad or without possible error, we see Walsh as offering solid value at +335.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Liam Walsh at +335. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Davis-Walsh fight from the comfort of home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!