IT LOOKS as though there will finally be official confirmation of Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia fighting each other in April. According to those involved, as well as reports from the likes of ESPN, contracts have been signed. The announcement may have even happened by the time you’re reading this. But there’s a far more important headline that isn’t getting nearly as much traction: Davis just pleaded guilty to four counts stemming from a hit-and-run accident in November 2020 in his hometown of Baltimore.
The charges he admitted his guilt for are: leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failure to locate and notify an owner of unattended property damage, driving with a revoked licence and failure to stop at a red light.
Davis drove his Lamborghini through a red light and collided with the side of another car in the early hours of November 5, 2020. The driver of the other car and three passengers suffered cuts, bruises and other injuries that required them to be transported to a nearby hospital. Davis left the scene of the accident before the authorities arrived.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Davis will be sentenced May 5 and is looking at jail time. The judge overseeing the case, Melissa Phinn, previously rejected a plea deal back in September which would have seen Davis serve 60 days under house arrest.
In almost all of the reporting on this, one of the main takeaways is that it will not impact Davis’ fight with Garcia, which is planned for April 15 – before Davis is sentenced. As accurate as that is, it’s depressing that the collective boxing media can seemingly only focus on that aspect of this story.
Instead, should we not be questioning whether Davis should even be headlining a pay-per-view event, having just pleaded guilty to numerous crimes? But that’s not how things work. Just 11 days prior to his last bout – another PPV main event – Davis had been arrested on a misdemeanour domestic violence charge of battery causing bodily harm. He pleaded not-guilty in that instance.
Davis is hardly the first fighter to break the law and continue with their career as if nothing had happened – Floyd Mayweather’s jail sentence being postponed by a Las Vegas court to allow him to first fight Miguel Cotto springs to mind – and he certainly won’t be the last. In almost any other sport, in fact almost any other career, such transgressions would have a serious impact on a person’s future and their ability to ply their trade.
Of course, our ability to create such change in the sport is very limited. As long as they still attract views, fighters will continue to be given large platforms, regardless of what they may have done outside of the ring. What we can do, though, is try to change our attitudes toward fighters who have committed crimes – particularly crimes that cause serious physical harm to others, as is the case with Davis.
Other attitudes within the sport that need changing are those surrounding homophobia, as highlighted in an excellent Sky Sports feature written by John Dennen, with whom many of you will be familiar.
Speaking to figures like Don McRae and organisations like Sports Media LGBT+ and the British Boxing Board of Control, Dennen outlines the importance of calling out homophobic comments or actions when they occur and that everyone involved in the sport – from the fighters themselves through to us writers in the media – have a responsibility to tackle discrimination in all its forms.
The good news is that change does appear to be happening, particularly at the amateur level. The Sky Sports piece includes quotes from trainers and boxers involved in the unpaid code, some of whom are gay, and how the attitudes of young people are more progressive and inclusive. Reporting like this, which includes voices from underrepresented communities, is essential.
Another positive development we are seeing is an increase in the scientific research into women’s boxing. STV News reports that Hannah Rankin has been working with Abertay University in Dundee to collect information and data that will help advance our understanding of female boxing both in training and in competition. The project is thought to be the world’s first extensive piece of research into women’s boxing.
Given that organisations like the WBC still have very outdated views of female fighters, such as insisting they still fight two-minute rounds “for their safety,” research like this could be hugely impactful for the sport.
Not only that but, as Rankin outlines in the STV News article, this project could also hopefully encourage more women and girls to take up the sport. With more data and understanding about how women can achieve the best results in training and fighting, the sport can become even more accessible and safe.
Much has been written about DAZN’s changes to its pricing structure in recent weeks and rightfully so – increases to monthly subscriptions across the board have left some fans baffled. It’s only gotten worse, though. In the US, subscribers now face a minimum charge of $224.99 for an annual commitment. They can pay that in one go or lock themselves into 12 monthly payments of $19.99. Alternatively, there is an option to pay $24.99 per month with the option to cancel at any time.
Off the back of that news came a report from The Times, who spoke to DAZN chief executive Shay Segev, that the streaming platform has very real plans to bid for Premier League broadcast rights in the UK sometime in the near future. That noise you can hear is the collective groan of fans up and down the country realising they may have to sign up to yet another broadcasting service to follow the sports they love.
Boxing on the Box
John Ramirez-Luis Villa Padilla
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Jake Paul-Tommy Fury
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