Davis vs Farmer… there are exceptions to ‘never too late’
The day for it to be too late for a unification bout for Super Featherweight champions Gervonta “Tank” Davis versus Tevin “American Idol” Farmer could be rapidly approaching. At best, it’s just a solid Saturday night world championship fight.
Some of us are trying to determine whether, or agree that, Davis is a marquee performer – a Pay Per View star. However, it does not look like we are going to get the two to three truly meaningful fights that would typically serve as the prerequisite bouts to confirm Davis’ PPV worthiness.
On the other hand, Farmer’s nearly unprecedented run to 30 wins, 4 losses and a draw from his 7-4-1 record following his loss to Jose Pedraza in February 2013 unfortunately does not mean more to the public than it does to Farmer himself. This is despite the fact the 29-year old won the vacant IBF Super Featherweight and went on to complete four title defenses in less than 12 months. The IBF belt was a title one could say he won twice when considering the fact Farmer dropped a questionable decision to Kenichi Ogawa that was later changed to a No Contest after Ogawa tested positive for Androstanediol.
After spending a year with Eddie Hearn under the Matchroom Boxing banner, defending his titles on the DAZN app, now we find ourselves at a point of uncertainty. Could the major payoff on the investment possibly be a unification fight with Davis for his WBA championship?
If so, it’s not going to be as easy as A-B-C. Currently, most of the punches are being thrown online between Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and Matchroom’s Hearn.
My optimism for Davis vs. Farmer being finalized somewhat centers around Hearn’s success with making the DAZN-streamed Super Lightweight unification bout between Top Rank-promoted Jose Carlos Ramirez, the WBC champion, against WBO champion Maurice Hooker. While the fight was the culmination of a successful partnership between Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing, would Hearn have willingly taken all the risks to make the fight if he wasn’t so sure that Hooker was going to defeat Ramirez? Ramirez stopped Hooker in the sixth round.
How did the fight come together?
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reported Ramirez and Top Rank received over $4 million for their participation in the showdown that resulted in a Fight of the Year candidate. For context, multiple outlets reported Amir Khan’s purse was $5 million for his Welterweight title fight with Terence Crawford on ESPN Pay Per View.
In both an AB Boxing interview and a tweet from his Twitter account, Farmer confirmed receipt of a $2 million offer from Ellerbe.
Im not like all these other fighters that blow they money and be force to take fights because they need the money. I don’t need that 2 mil. Gotta come correct. I know my worth. Nobody going to tell me my worth. https://t.co/T2gHhpVFOr
— TEVIN FARMER (@TevinFarmer22) August 23, 2019
Furthermore, in ensuing Twitter activity Farmer asserts Davis declined a $5 million offer to face him on DAZN. In a Fight Hype video dated August 24 Ellerbe stated, “Well, I haven’t got this latest thing that he’s [Hearn] negotiated through the media. I haven’t got that. And again, if something like that comes across my table, just as his promoter, I will take a look at it, me and his team, and we will pass the information on and we will go from there.”
Later in the video Ellerbe hits on the most critical issue that portends that if there’s any realistic chance for Davis-Farmer, it will only happen on Showtime or possibly FOX Sports. “What makes a young fighter want to risk a portion of his career to be able to fight on an unknown entity?”
That entity would be DAZN, and DAZN is the competition. At the moment, a potential career high payday for Davis seemingly doesn’t appear to outweigh the optics of Mayweather Promotions aiding DAZN’s pursuit of new subscribers and servicing its current ones. Career-high payday and unified champion status.
Fair enough. But, with Davis appearing to be one of the fighters Showtime covets, Showtime’s 2019 schedule to date leaves many to pander their level of involvement moving forward with Davis.
This is definitely cliché, but at the moment, only time can really tell. A Davis-Farmer showdown seems like it would’ve been good money as part of Showtime’s phenomenal 2017 where the network’s calendar boasted of over 30 championship title fights. In 2019, even after several years of free online promotion of what is now a unification bout, seeing Showtime bring it to fruition seems unrealistic. Especially if Farmer believes he can command more money for his services.
Based on Farmer’s self-value and the fact he seems to be confident in his ability to get returns from his investments in real estate in Philadelphia, I don’t see Showtime being a part of this rivalry’s resolution – not within the fourth months left in 2019. Farmer’s current free agent status isn’t even a boon to the hopes of fight fans.
However it does sound like Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s President of Sports and Event Programming, recently tweeted that the network’s next play is close to being announced.
Don't worry…Showtime is not cutting boxing in any way, shape or form. Anyone who tells you different doesn't know what they're talking about. We are as committed & enthusiastic as ever. Upcoming announcements will make that abundantly clear. https://t.co/GiIlr73Bj2
— Stephen Espinoza (@StephenEspinoza) August 20, 2019
“Abundantly clear” probably won’t address Davis-Farmer, for those of us who hoped for this to be resolved this year, but hopefully there’s a Davis date – which would match his total outings in 2017. Typically a TBA wouldn’t be well-received, but it – along with the initial offer to Farmer – could speak to the fact Mayweather Promotions is aware of fan expectations that his quality of opposition be stepped up quickly.
As for Hearn, Matchroom, Farmer and DAZN it may be forced to continue battling with another cliché – money can’t buy you love. Well, just ignore Leonard!
Davis photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Farmer photo by Justin Bettman/Matchroom Boxing