By Keith Idec and Ryan Burton
Gervonta Davis will face someone other than Abner Mares in Davis’ first fight in 9½ months.
Multiple sources have confirmed to BoxingScene.com that Mares has withdrawn from their 12-round, 130-pound title fight due to an undisclosed injury sustained during training camp recently. Mares, 33, was supposed to challenge Davis, 24, for the unbeaten Baltimore southpaw’s WBA “super” world super featherweight title February 9 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Matchmakers for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions have been scouring boxing for an acceptable replacement for Mares with barely one week left until the event. Showtime was set to televise Davis-Mares as the main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader from the outdoor venue formerly known as StubHub Center.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the companies involved in the card don’t want to cancel it because the venue nearly is sold out, Davis hasn’t fought since April 21 and there are 15 additional fights at least tentatively scheduled to take place that night. BoxingTalk.com was first to report early Wednesday morning that Mares has withdrawn from the Davis fight.
Davis sent out a hint something was amiss Tuesday night through his Twitter account – a simple “This is crazy,” followed by an emoji of a sad face.
Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) wants nothing more than to make his first defense of the title he won by stopping Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs) in the third round of their fight last spring at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The defending champion was listed by most Internet sports books as at least a 9-1 favorite over Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs), but Mares’ name recognition drew attention to Davis’ defense in the Los Angeles area.
The 2004 Mexican Olympian is known for engaging in entertaining fights. The Downey, California, resident also has won world titles in three weight classes.
In addition to Davis’ fight, Showtime is supposed to televise a lightweight bout between Sharif Bogere (32-1, 20 KOs) and Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 2 NC) and a junior welterweight battle that’ll match Mario Barrios (22-0, 14 KOs) against Richard Zamora (19-2, 12 KOs).
To salvage the show, Davis theoretically could box Bogere or Fortuna in the main event. It is not clear, however, if that seriously is being considered because it would have to take place above the 130-pound limit at which the Davis-Mares match was contracted.
Bogere, a Las Vegas resident raised in Uganda, is a career lightweight and never has weighed in at less than 134 pounds for a professional fight. Like Davis, the 30-year-old lightweight contender is represented by Mayweather Promotions and has been preparing to fight a southpaw.
The 29-year-old Fortuna, a former WBA 130-pound champion from the Dominican Republic, seems less likely to replace Mares than Bogere because Davis has not been training to oppose a left-handed opponent.
It wouldn’t be necessary for Bogere or Fortuna to box Davis at the 130-pound limit because neither fighter is ranked in the top 15 by the WBA in its super featherweight division – a requirement to receive a title shot.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.