THE BIG INTERVIEW – LIAM WALSH
By Richard Hubbard
Liam Walsh strongly suspects Gervonta Davis has no idea what he is getting himself into as he prepares to bounce out at the Copper Box on Saturday night.
The Baltimore boy is brimming with confidence, having won the IBF world super featherweight title against Jose Pedraza in January at the age of just 22.
Davis, who operates under the Floyd Mayweather promotional banner, has been dismissive of the challenge ahead of him and brashly stated that he didn’t anticipate Walsh’s evening extending beyond six rounds, at a push.
Walsh himself goes along with the thinking that the ‘Tank’ is indeed on a mission on his trip to London – but more one to widen his profile overseas and build a fanbase for his predicted glittering future ahead.
The Cromer man believes he is something of an afterthought.
“I definitely do,” said the unbeaten mandatory challenger for the title. “To start with I thought it was a bit of show, he is a world champion who would give me maximum respect – and hopefully he has – but his arrogance and ego overwhelms him to the point where he does think he is going to come over to England, flatten me, get paid and off he goes into the sunset.
“He couldn’t be more wrong. No-one has ever come and flattened me with no resistance – it has never happened and it is not going to happen.”
Davis has regaled his Twitter followers with his thoughts on what lies ahead in London and, while Liam doesn’t do social media, he knows a man who does.
His twin Ryan has responded in kind to any provocative post delivered from Stateside, while Liam is certain over-confidence will be the new champion’s downfall.
“I am not on social media, but there is my brother Ryan and friends texting me all the time telling me what is out there.
“I just think, if he believes it, he has got to be very careful. He is clearly over confident, but when you go into a fight thinking it is going to be that easy or you are going to win with almost no resistance, when it then starts getting difficult you have to adapt on the job and not a lot of fighters can do that.
“Your mind is in a different place and, all of a sudden, it is hard to get to where you need to be because your mind is programmed that it is going to be a lot easier than this.”
Walsh isn’t sure whether all the Money Team are singing from the same hymn sheet, or whether Davis will have been informed by those around him that he is in for a fight.
Mayweather himself always talked a good game, but was always a safety-first practitioner when push came to shove.
“He might have had the odd word in his ear, I don’t know, but you’d like to think so, wouldn’t you? It would be so unprofessional not to have at least studied me.
“He said he has seen one or two of my fights, mentioning my fight against (Paul) Appleby, so I wonder if it is all smoke and mirrors with him.
“It also doesn’t really bother me because all I know is I will be turning up 100 per cent ready and prepared for anything he brings.
“If he hasn’t got the same mindset it will be a tough night for him.”
Davis was relentless in hunting his prey when Pedraza was overwhelmed in New York, but a question mark remains over whether he can find another way if his stalking is successfully repelled.
“I think he is better than what we have seen and I think he is that good,” is the generous assessment of Walsh. “You only have to look at his amateur pedigree, which is something like 230 fights with 215 wins and in America that is some going.
“When you have had 200-odd amateur fights you have come across a lot of styles to get through with 215 wins. You have obviously got a brain and are a good fighter, you’re not just a brawler or a big puncher, which they are sort of selling him on at the minute.
“He is a tank and can blast anyone out, but he has got far more skills than just power punching.
“So I think he can bring other things to the table, but I am going to come at him with something he has never seen, or I don’t think he has.
“I’m going to give him a lot more to think about than anybody else ever has. The fights I have seen on YouTube or looked up on Boxrec, a lot of those fights were made to order.
“They were put in front of him for him to look good, which is fine and they have done a good job with him. I said at the head to head thing that, while Frank has done a good job with me, they have done a cracking job with him.”
Round 3: Liam on why nothing can be left to chance should the cards be called for at the Copper Box