Premier Boxing Champions

Gervonta "Tank" Davis will return to the ring for the first time since April 2023 when he faces Frank Martin in a Prime Video pay-per-view main event on Saturday. Davis, arguably "the face of boxing," will be defending his WBA lightweight title.

Davis has become one of the most popular fighters in the sport while rising through the ranks and building a reputation as one of boxing's top power punchers. Those who key in too much on Davis' power punching miss on the well-rounded, patient game he has built to create openings to land the big shots that finish opponents off.

In his most recent outing, Davis crushed fellow young superstar Ryan Garcia in a catchweight fight, scoring a pair of knockdowns, with a body shot for the second keeping Garcia on the canvas for the referee's 10 count.

Davis was already a superstar coming into the Garcia fight, but the win took him to another level. For years, Davis had talked about big fights with the other young stars around the lightweight division, but those meetings hadn't materialized. When the opportunity finally came, he made the most of it.

In some ways, the Martin fight is a disappointing step backward. Davis has talked up the idea of fights with the likes of WBC lightweight champ Shakur Stevenson or former undisputed champ Devin Haney but instead finds himself against Martin, a fighter who deserves respect for his talent but brings very little name value to the promotion of the fight (read more about why this fight was made here).

"I'm gonna break you up. I'm gonna split all that up under your eyes. Every time I tell people something is gonna happen, what happens?" Davis said at the final press conference this week. "It hasn't even hit him yet. He'll see Saturday. It's gonna hit him. Especially when I touch him. What is he bringing to the table that I haven't seen?"

Martin is a solid fighter with speed, power and tactical know-how. He's done the one thing fighters need to do to open the door to a championship opportunity: win.

At 18-0, Martin steadily climbed through the rankings, culminating in a career-best performance in a one-sided drubbing of Michel Rivera in December 2022. That fight was viewed as a nearly 50/50 fight before the fighters entered the ring but Martin made a case to win all 12 rounds.

Unfortunately, Martin took a step backward in his next fight, struggling to a narrow decision win against unheralded Artem Harutyunyan. Martin was uncharacteristically passive for many rounds, allowing Harutyunyan to stay competitive on the cards. In the end, Martin put together some good rounds down the stretch and scored a knockdown in Round 12 to avoid the upset.

Martin will need to look far more like the man who ran up the score on Rivera than the one who fought Harutyunyan if he wants to take down one of the pound-for-pound most talented men in the sport.

"This can go down however he wants it to go down. If he acts up, like I've been saying, you're gonna see Gervonta Davis get knocked out. If he acts up, he's getting knocked out, period. If he acts crazy, he's going to sleep," Martin said."Calvin's telling me to push those buttons, well I'm coming to push every button he's got. Come out and expect a good fight. Let's get it."

There are four total title fights on the main card. Beyond the main event, the fight was the most attention this week sees the debut of former super middleweight champion David Benavidez at 175 pounds when he takes on former light heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Benavidez has continued to push for a shot against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, but the Mexican superstar has continued to stiff-arm him at every turn. Now, he gets the chance to grab a piece of a title with hopes of becoming undisputed at light heavyweight. 

"To be honest with you, I did everything in my power possible to make that fight happen," Benavidez told CBS Sports at Thursday's media day. "I beat the fighters that they told me I couldn't beat. I was No. 1 contender for the past three years but I had my hands tied. 

"I did everything in my power possible to make it happen. The only reason this fight is not happening is because Canelo doesn't want it to happen because he knows damn well that when he faces me, I'm taking all of his titles home with me."

Another title fight set for Saturday night sees Gary Antuanne Russell take on Alberto Puello for the vacant WBC interim junior welterweight title. Russell, younger brother of former WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr., is a perfect 17-0 with all of those wins coming by knockout. Puello is no slouch himself, however, as he enters with a perfect record as well at 22-0 with 10 knockouts. And the PPV opener sees Carlos Adames look to defend his WBC middleweight title against veteran Terrell Gausha.

Russell noted that his extended layoff had a lot to do with his father's suddenly death in May 2022 and coping with it. 

"I had a lot of mental things I had to deal with, my father passing, just getting used to him not being in the gym, acclimating to my older brother that's now the head coach. But it's nothing like your father. I look at it as we were all still learning, there's no cap to learning. For me to have that understanding, it's like dang, [Gary Russell Jr.] is still learning, [Gary Allen Russell] is still learning and now I got to look at them as the master because I've got to continuously put myself in the position of student still if I want to grow. That alone brings a lot of vulnerability."

Let's take a look at the rest of the undercard before getting to a prediction and pick on the main event.

Davis vs. Martin fight card, odds

  • Gervonta Davis (c) -700 vs. Frank Martin +475, WBA lightweight title
  • David Benavidez -650 vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk +450, vacant WBC interim light heavyweight title
  • Gary Antuanne Russell -700 vs. Alberto Puello +475, vacant WBC interim junior welterweight title
  • Carlos Adames (c) -750 vs. Terrell Gausha +500, WBC middleweight title

Viewing information

  • Date: June 15
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena -- Las Vegas
  • Start time: 8 p.m. ET
  • How to watch: Prime Video PPV | Price: $74.95


While Martin is a step down from the level of name fans want to see Davis facing -- especially for modern pay-per-view prices -- he is a good fighter who would be expected to beat all but the elite tier of lightweights. The problem is, Davis is on that elite tier. There's not really anything that Martin does that Davis doesn't do better. Because of that, Martin has to hope Davis is rusty from his time out of the ring, which included a stint in jail, and can't get rolling or can't find his timing.

More likely is that this fight plays out very predictably. Davis tends to start slow, getting a feel for his opponent's speed and locking in his own timing while looking for openings. It's a Vasiliy Lomachenko-esque "downloading the data" approach for Davis at the beginning of fights and it gives brief glimpses of hope for opponents, as was the case for Garcia and Rolando Romero. Then the switch flips and it's all downhill from there as Davis starts landing frequently and powerfully.

Expect Martin to put a few early rounds in the bank before Davis cracks him with a few good shots and then it becomes a game of survival. Once Martin is worn down a bit, Davis likely gets the mid to late rounds stoppage. Pick: Gervonta Davis via TKO8

Who wins Davis vs. Martin, and which method-of-victory prop is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Peter Kahn's best bets for Saturday, all from the boxing specialist who has netted his followers a profit of more than $4,000, and find out.