Frank Warren backs Liam Walsh to upset the odds and beat Gervonta Davis

19 May 2017 03:09

Frank Warren is predicting Liam Walsh will overcome Gervonta Davis in London on Saturday night and earn his place among the greatest victors the promoter has overseen.

America's IBF super-featherweight champion Davis, 22, not only became a world champion in only his 17th professional fight, he is considered one of the world's most promising fighters and is guided by Floyd Mayweather.

He is a more aggressive fighter than his mentor, as 16 stoppages from his 17 wins demonstrate, but as the 40-year-old Mayweather recognises there are other elements that bond the two.

While Mayweather escaped poverty in Las Vegas to at one point become the world's highest-paid athlete, Davis did so in drug-riddled Baltimore and Mayweather, also his promoter, believes he is on the same path.

They appear to have paid little attention to Cromer's Walsh, one of three brothers who box and perhaps Britain's most underrated fighter.

The 31-year-old has long appeared ready for a world-level bout - he had been matched against Ricky Burns in 2012 before a car crash forced him to withdraw - and it may prove his misfortune that his chance finally comes against a fighter of Davis' calibre.

Warren is of a different mind. Much of the Hall of Fame promoter's success has come in his ability to match his fighters against opponents they would not be expected to beat and with such timing they have excelled.

In 2006 America's Jeff Lacy came to Britain hailed as the "new Mike Tyson" amid predictions he would inflict the first defeat of Joe Calzaghe's career, only to be thoroughly outclassed.

Little under a year earlier Ricky Hatton was expected to be stopped by the fearsome Kostya Tszyu but secured one of the greatest wins of any British fighter.

Five years after Walsh's first world-title fight was cancelled, Warren believes he can achieve something similar.

"Lacy, Tszyu and Davis were coming (to the UK) being the darlings of American television, were big favourites with the bookmakers, and they took it as a foregone conclusion," Warren, 65, told Press Association Sport.

"It's a similar thing with Mike Tyson, when we went out with Danny Williams (and won in Louisville in 2004). For the first two rounds it was 'You're going to be hit with the kitchen sink but after that he'll be blowing, and you'll win', and that's what happened.

"I'm hoping and believing that they're underestimating Liam, and that they're just showing up.

"Davis is a highly-rated fighter, he can punch, but he's not the fastest, and sometimes he doesn't balance himself too well. If Liam can keep him off balance and at the end of that jab.

"I think about Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy and Ricky Hatton and Kostya Tszyu. Certain boxers have it in them to be something special and Liam is one of them.

"It is going to be tough for him, but I believe in him."

A sign of Mayweather's faith in Davis comes in him not just accompanying his protege to London but, within a sport he has never seemed particularly passionate about, training alongside him despite his inactivity.

"I signed with Floyd, I moved to Vegas and that put my mind on another level," said Davis. "Floyd has been really hands on, getting up running with me, it's been really motivating."

Asked if the comparisons to Hatton and Calzaghe inspired him, Walsh responded: "They do, yeah. Calzaghe was a massive underdog, everyone was hyped on Lacy. You've seen it done."

Source: PA