No matter what public stance Floyd Mayweather takes on his fighter Gervonta “Tank” Davis leaving the Mayweather Promotions stable, there had to be plenty of behind-the-scenes grumbling from the five-division former world champ and his team. The 27-year-old Davis, after all, was, by far, the biggest star ever produced by the Hall of Famer’s promotional company and is headed to an extremely lucrative clash with Ryan Garcia this coming spring.
In front of the cameras, however, “Money” Mayweather has been nothing but diplomatic.
In a recent symposium of sorts, recorded live for the YouTube Earn Your Leisure Network, Mayweather spoke of his in-ring and out-of-ring successes. After a question regarding his management philosophy, the topic of “Tank” Davis came up.
“I’ve always been a gentleman. I’ve always been respectful. There’s nothing like taking a kid that comes from the same background as you, helping them, and putting them in a position to become a multimillionaire,” Mayweather said.
“You meet a kid, and he comes up to you for an autograph. I sign the autograph for him and then I tell him, ‘in a few years when you get older, I’m going to work with you and make you world champion someday.’ Years later, I started working with him, helped him, and pushed him to be great. And if he feels like he’s grown wings where he can fly and become his own boss, more power to him. Because I didn’t get into the sport of boxing after I retired to not want to see fighters grow. If he feels that he can surpass Floyd Mayweather, or be the next Floyd Mayweather, I’m here to push you. Go for it.”
Davis, a Baltimore native, has become one of the top draws in boxing over the last few years, drawing huge live gate numbers and working his way towards becoming a pay-per-view attraction.
In the face of months’ worth of rumors regarding his “under contract” status with Mayweather Promotions, Davis recently confirmed that he was now a promotional free agent, but that there was no bad blood with his former team.
“It’s just a test run right now with this, you know what I mean. I’m on my own,” Davis said back in early December, as the promotion of his January 7 bout with Hector Luis Garcia kicked off. “But much love to Mayweather Promotions, Leonard, Floyd, all them guys. I definitely appreciate them. I’m just doing my own thing now. That said in the future, we can’t work together or anything like that. I’m just trying to put my own pants on.”
Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions had been criticized by many for the slow path they’ve taken with Davis, especially when it comes to the talented young fighter’s level of opposition. But the results when it comes to drawing power, can’t be denied. The explosive multi-division world titlist has developed a grassroots following, building his brand the old school way– through in-person drawing power and an entertaining ring style that brings fans out to watch the show.
While pay-per-view returns have been slow in coming, it seems to be just a matter of time before the buy rates grow and the money comes pouring in. Many feel that the Ryan Garcia fight will be the catalyst for the jump from stardom to pay-per-view superstardom.
Floyd Mayweather may miss out on the returns from his investment in Davis.
Ironically, though, Davis is following the same path Mayweather, himself, took back in 2006 when he broke free from Top Rank Promotions to eventually become the most financially successful fighter of all time.