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Notebook: Davis calls judge 'crazy' after being sent to jail
Joshua-Whyte rematch possible; Usyk signs promotional deal; Canelo-Bivol II troubles; Baumgardner signs with Connolly; Conwell pressures WBC; Quick hits; Show and tell
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When Gervonta Davis, one of boxing’s biggest stars, was sentenced on May 5 to 90 days of home confinement, three years of probation and 200 hours of community service, many thought he had gotten away with a slap on the wrist, especially since the judge initially gave him 26 months in jail but suspended the term for something far more lenient.
Davis had pleaded guilty to four of 14 charges, including one felony, in connection to a November 2020 hit-and-run accident while driving without a license in his hometown of Baltimore that left four people injured, including a pregnant woman.
But not even one month into his sentence, Davis is behind bars for breaking the terms of his home confinement, which was supposed to be done at the Baltimore home of his career-long trainer Calvin Ford. Baltimore Circuit Judge Althea M. Handy, who is overseeing Davis’ case, wanted him to serve the sentence in Baltimore instead of Parkland, Florida, where he now lives.
Then, in a shocking move that certainly won’t help him with Handy, Davis inexplicably had a phone call from jail with an unidentified person recorded with the audio posted — and later deleted — to his Instagram Story. During the call, Davis railed at the judge, complained about his home confinement and called her “crazy.”
The situation came to a head on Thursday when, after what Davis attorney Michael Tomko told Baltimore news outlets was an “impromptu hearing,” Davis was taken into custody and sent to jail to serve the rest of the 90-day sentence, which should end in early August.
The reason was because Davis had no longer been living with Ford. Instead, it was discovered that he had been staying at a Baltimore Four Seasons hotel and then at a $3.4 million condo he purchased in Baltimore’s ritzy Silo Point community, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. However, he was not permitted to be at the hotel or the new property under the terms of his home confinement sentence and the judge said Davis never requested to change the location from Ford’s property.
“The reason I didn’t want him in Florida is because this was not a holiday,” Handy said at the hearing, according to the Baltimore Banner. “He was serving time and I was being considerate enough to let him do it on home detention.”
During the hearing, Tomko said he had worked with Davis’ team to buy the condo and that he had not done anything wrong.
“Blame me, because he didn’t do anything wrong,” Tomko said, according to the Banner. “He did what I asked him to do. … I don’t think that Mr. Davis did anything wrong except listen to his lawyer.”
Handy, however, was unsympathetic and sent Davis to jail.
On Sunday, his jailhouse phone call was posted to his Instagram account.
“Man, I just want to say — let the people know — that this judge is crazy, bro,” Davis said on the call. “The judge locked me up because basically I bought a property. I did everything in my power to listen to my lawyers.”
At that point some of what Davis said was inaudible because a recorded jailhouse operator said, “You have 60 seconds remaining.”
Davis, clearly lacking even remote understanding of what he had done, then added, “She’s mad that I bought a property. That’s why I’m sitting in jail. She wanted me to be in an apartment, (Ford’s) one-bedroom apartment and I couldn’t even take that. She wanted me to stay in a one-(bedroom) apartment. Couldn’t even have my kids or nothin’ come visit me, and things like that. I just want to shed some light on this situation because she’s taking advantage of me and she’s doing stuff that’s not right to me.”
Davis (29-0, 27 KOs), 28, the WBA “regular” lightweight titleholder, who has had numerous legal issues through the years, faced the sentence just 13 days after scoring the biggest win of his career, a seventh-round knockout of then-unbeaten fellow star Ryan Garcia in a 136-pound catch weight fight on April 22 that was a smash hit. The Showtime PPV event generated 1.2 million buys and sold $22.8 million in tickets to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas — the fifth-highest gate in Nevada boxing history.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said that he has sent an offer to heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte for him to have a rematch with British countryman and former two-time titleholder Anthony Joshua on Aug. 12.
“Our plan, which we’ve stressed, is for AJ to box on Aug. 12 and in December again against Deontay Wilder,” Hearn told BBC Sport. “The negotiations will be difficult but both AJ and Whyte want the fight. Dillian has a lot of value in the rematch. This is not an opponent for Joshua, but a big fight between two world-class heavyweights and huge British names.”
Besides the discussions for Joshua-Whyte II this summer, there are also conversations about the showdown with former titleholder Wilder that would take place in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua (25-3, 22 KO), 33, shook off back-to-back decision losses to Oleksandr Usyk in world title bouts by outpointing Jermaine Franklin on April 1. Joshua, who has been working out with new trainer Derrick James in Dallas, has been on and off about his interest in a summer fight.
In the fight before he won his first world title, Joshua stopped Whyte in the seventh round of a one-sided but action-packed fight in 2015.
Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs), 36, shook off a sixth-round knockout loss to WBC/lineal champion Tyson Fury in April 2022 to barely edge Franklin in his last fight in November.
Usyk signs with SCP
Three-belt heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk has signed a multi-fight agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Skill Challenge Promotions to co-promote him along with longtime promoter Alex Krassyuk of K2 Promotions.
Usyk retained the belts in August in a rematch with Anthony Joshua in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in an event Skill Challenge put on, allowing Usyk and his team to get to know the company.
“Skill Challenge Promotions takes pride in working with an elite champion such as Oleksandr Usyk, who not only possesses technical greatness in the ring but greatness outside it as well as an ambassador for the sport,” said SCP chairman Prince Khaled bin AbdulAziz. “Our aim is to work with multi-dimensional champions who possess the mutual core values Oleksandr does as we appreciate those above everything else.”
The signing could help in the efforts to make a fight between Usyk and WBC/lineal champion Tyson Fury, which was expected on April 29 in London before the deal broke down over terms of a rematch clause. The signing, however, could mean the fight lands in Saudi Arabia, where it would be worth millions more than had it taken place in Fury’s home country of England.
“It is obviously the fight most boxing fans want to see and in time we hope to be able to make an announcement regarding the direction we’ll take with the unification bout,” said SCP’s Amer Abdallah. “Prince Khaled’s mission is to put on the best fights for the fighters and for the fans working in collaboration with all global promoters, management and networks collectively. But the first order of business is his defense against Daniel Dubois in August.”
The Usyk signing was announced Saturday, just days after Krassyuk said Usyk’s mandatory defense against WBA “regular” titlist Dubois (19-1, 18 KOs), 25, of England, in Wroclaw, Poland, has been moved from Aug. 12 to Aug. 26 to have the fight closer to Ukraine Independence Day on Aug. 24.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to work with His Highness Prince Khaled and to reach our team’s goal to claim the WBC heavyweight champion title to become the undisputed champion,” Ukraine’s Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), a 36-year-old southpaw and the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, said at the press conference announcing the deal in Riyadh.
SCP, which also put on the Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch in 2019 and the Jake Paul-Tommy Fury fight in February, has talked about staging a massive heavyweight card with Fury-Usyk and Joshua-Deontay Wilder in December. SCP also recently signed Badou Jack, who stopped Ilunga Makabu in the 12th round to win the WBC cruiserweight title on the Paul-Fury undercard.
Canelo-Bivol II issues
Undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez has said repeatedly that he next wants a rematch with WBA light heavyweight titleholder Dmitry Bivol in an effort to avenge a decision loss he took in May 2022.
Alvarez wants the fight at 175 pounds again while Bivol, who is also interested in a rematch, prefers to move down to 168 and challenge for Alvarez’s belts. Alvarez doesn’t want that because he wants to fight him at the weight where he was beaten and not at 168, where he believes that if he wins fans will accuse him of weight draining Bivol.
But weight difference aside, Bivol manage Vadim Kornilov has expressed serious doubts that the rematch, targeted for September, will be made.
“Canelo’s people don’t want a rematch,” Kornilov told ESPN Knockout. “Besides, they know that they lost very badly in the first fight with Bivol and they also know that they have less chance of winning in the rematch.”
Kornilov said Alvarez wants the same terms as the first fight even though he lost.
“In my opinion I think they don’t want a rematch and they are saying that to justify themselves and make another fight like they did with (Gennadiy) Golovkin, John Ryder and maybe (Edgar) Berlanga,” Kornilov said. “A rematch cannot take place on the same terms as the fight you lost. It’s stupid. We are looking forward. Artur Beterbiev is our target.”
While Alvarez came off the loss to Bivol to outpoint rival Golovkin in their third fight in September and then outpointed John Ryder in May, Bivol has fought just once, a lopsided decision over Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in November and has nothing close to being lined up. He is interested in a unification fight for the undisputed light heavyweight title with Beterbiev, but he is scheduled to fight mandatory challenge Callum Smith on Aug. 19 and Kornilov has previously detailed the difficulty making that fight for a variety of reasons.
Undisputed women’s junior lightweight champion Alycia Baumgardner (14-1, 7 KOs), 28, has signed an advisory deal with Keith Connolly, who will negotiate on her behalf going forward.
“She’s the first female fighter that I’ve ever signed and I think she’s the best female fighter on the planet pound-for-pound,” Connolly told Fight Freaks Unite. “I think she can be the face of the sport if she does what I think she can do. She doesn’t want to be looked at as one of the best female fighters in the world. She wants to be looked as one of the best fighters in the world period.”
Connolly, who was voted the 2019 Boxing Writers Association of America manager of the year, also represents fighters such as Edgar Berlanga, Filip Hrgovic, Richardson Hitchins, Daniel Jacobs and Adam Kownacki.
Baumgardner defends the undisputed 130-pound crown against former two-time junior welterweight titlist Christina Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs), 35, of Greece, in a rematch of Baumgardner’s only defeat, an eight-round split decision in 2018.
They meet in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card that will be Baumgardner’s homecoming fight July 15 (DAZN) at The Masonic Temple in Detroit.
Conwell presses WBC for shot
Junior middleweight contender Charles Conwell (18-0, 13 KOs), 25, of Cleveland, is continuing his efforts of petitioning the WBC for a title fight against undisputed champion Jermell Charlo, although Charlo is currently injured and has two other mandatories to deal with before a WBC one would be up.
“Our understanding is that the WBC will order a rematch between (WBC interim titlist) Brian Mendoza and Sebastian Fundora next. We want the WBC to therefore make Charles the mandatory challenger for Jermell Charlo,” Conwell manager Mark Habibi said. “Alternatively, the WBC can make him the mandatory challenger for the rematch between Mendoza and Fundora and allow him to take an interim fight. It seems like Charlo is just sitting on the belt and Charles is ready now to fight him, Mendoza or Fundora.
“The (then) interim champ (Fundora) was knocked out cold (by Mendoza in April). I don’t truly understand why the WBC would even consider allowing this rematch to happen. Charles has been patiently waiting for his opportunity. It’s not fair to him for this to continue.”
Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, last fought on Nov. 26, winning hard-fought majority decision over Juan Carlos Abreu in a WBC semifinal title eliminator.
Former junior featherweight and bantamweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux (21-3, 14 KOs), 42, the Miami-based two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, will now face Puerto Rico’s Charlie Clemente (12-0, 5 KOs) in a 10-round bantamweight fight on the undercard of the Adrien Broner-William Hutchinson 10-round welterweight fight on Friday (FITE, 7 p.m. ET, $24,99) at Casino Miami in Miami, Florida, promoter Don King announced. Rigondeaux, who is seeking a second win in a row following back-to-back defeats, was supposed to face fellow southpaw Julian Evaristo Aristule (35-17-1, 18 KOs), 39, of Argentina, but he is out due to visa issues. Clemente, who has not had a fight since 2016, is moving up two divisions from flyweight.
Promising Australian heavyweight Justis Huni (7-0, 4 KOs), 24, who recently signed with Matchroom Boxing and was to make his debut for the company on the Regis Prograis-Danielito Zorrilla undercard on June 17 (DAZN) in New Orleans, has withdrawn due to an ankle injury. Huni, who has had all of his fights in Australia, was scheduled to fight former cruiserweight title challenger Andrew Tabiti (20-1, 16 KOs), 33, of Las Vegas, in a 10-rounder.
The WBA on Monday approved a request from WBA/IBF junior featherweight titlist Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) allowing him (if they can make a deal) to meet the winner of the fight between WBC/WBO titleholder Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) and former undisputed bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs). They meet July 25 and if the winner faces Tapales it would be for the undisputed 122-pound title. In conjunction with the ruling, the WBA also ordered former unified titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-1, 8 KOs), who lost the belts by split decision to Tapales in an upset in April, to meet former bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda (40-3, 22 KOs) in a junior featherweight final title eliminator.
Promoter Tuto Zabala Jr. of All Star Boxing will promote his next show on Aug. 4 at the Coliseo de Combates in Panama City, Panama and it will stream on ESPN+ in the United States. In the main event, welterweight Derrieck Cuevas (25-1-1, 17 KOs), 28, of Puerto Rico, will face Panama City’s Alberto Mosquera (28-5-2, 16 KOs), 36, in a 10-rounder.
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz announced he has signed welterweight prospect Freudis Rojas Jr. (10-0, 10 KOs), 24, a 6-foot-2 southpaw from Las Vegas. Rojas has yet to be pushed past the fourth round, although he has also yet to face an opponent of note. Rojas, who is managed by Marlon Johnson and was an accomplished amateur, will have his first fight of the deal in July. “Freudis Rojas will be a future star in the welterweight division and more,” Lewkowicz said. “This young Mexican American has the team and the experience, power and skills to move quickly up the ladder to a world championship, and I am proud to be able to help him get there.”
Show and tell
Roy Jones Jr. was in his prime and considered the clear No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He had won titles at middleweight (by routing Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins) and super middleweight (by doing the same to HOFer James Toney). As a light heavyweight he routed the aging Mike McCallum (HOFer), knocked out Montell Griffin in the first round to avenge a disqualification loss, spectacularly knocked out Virgil Hill (HOFer) and routed Lou Del Valle to unify the WBC and WBA titles.
This was still the three-belt era and when, three fights later, Jones faced highly regarded IBF titlist Reggie Johnson it was for the undisputed crown. Jones, as he usually did, made it look easy. He shredded Johnson. He dropped him in the first and third rounds and won 120-106 across the board for a shutout to become the first undisputed 175-pound champion since the great Michael Spinks did it in the two-belt era in 1984. Jones-Johnson took place on June 5, 1999 — 24 years ago on Monday. Here’s a closed circuit television poster for the fight in my collection.
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Photos: Garcia/Ford: Ryan Hafey/PBC; Joshua-Whyte: Matchroom Boxing; Bivol-Alvarez and Baumgardner: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing; Conwell: Tom Hogan
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