By Steve Kim Updated on June 14, 2024

How Live are these 'Dogs'?

 Picture for How Live are these 'Dogs'?

There is a pay-per-view card taking place this Saturday in a familiar setting, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The show is co-headlined by two of Premier Boxing Champions biggest stars, Gervonta Davis and David Benavidez, who are engaging in title fights.

These are two strong names on top of the marquee for this Amazon Prime pay-per-view offering.

The question is: just how strong and live are the dance partners? They are both right around 7-to-1 underdogs this weekend?

The defending champion is one of boxing's more well-known names. While Martin is a relative unknown. Keep this in mind, the last time Martin (18-0, 12 KOs) competed, it was in a small ballroom at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas last summer. There are grumblings from a good number of fans who would much rather see Davis face the likes of Shakur Stevenson (who holds the WBC belt), or other marquee names in and around this division. 

Picture for How Live are these 'Dogs'?

Photo credit: Esther Lin

But Davis, being one of the better box-office draws in America (having drawn sizable crowds in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Brooklyn) has been carefully guided by his handlers. He passes the 'eye test' with his hard-hitting style, but his resume is a bit bland and lacking.

As you scout Martin, what you see is a quick-silver southpaw who doesn't fit the athletic profile of many of Davis' past opponents. This is a guy with speed, quickness, and reflexes. Martin is actually ranked fifth in the division by Ring Magazine (with Davis coming in at number two). But what he lacks is real world-class seasoning. That fight last summer at the Cosmo, he struggled mightily to get past Artum Harutyunyan in a close 12 round affair.

You just wonder if the bright lights of this big stage, and the pressure that comes in what will be his first pay-per-view performance will get to him. 

You don't believe me? Well, here's what Leonard Ellerbe, who works with Davis, said at the press conference on Wednesday, "Let's be real, for starters, in 2017, you know what 'Tank' was doing? 'Tank' became world champion. You know what Frank Martin was doing? He wasn't even professional yet, OK?" 

Picture for How Live are these 'Dogs'?

Photo credit: Esther Lin

"So one thing about this boxing sh*t, you can't skip steps. It's something that we call 'experience'."

This is a rather strange way to promote a fight. It's actually a way to dismiss dangerous foes you really don't want to face.  Regardless, Ellerbe isn't wrong here. 

One other factor in this bout, Davis last fought in April of 2023 (where he stopped Ryan Garcia), while Martin has been inactive since he eked past Harutyunyan. This is a bout that should be sponsored by WD-40, as ring rust could be a factor.

Picture for How Live are these 'Dogs'?

Photo credit: Esther Lin

In what is the co-main of this card,  Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs), after a productive 2023 campaign that saw him defeat the likes of Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade, now moves up to 175, where he faces former belt-holder, Oleksandr Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs). Gvozdyk once held the WBC belt in this division. This bout will have the WBC interim belt at stake.

Now, there is some real intrigue here given that this is Benavidez's initial foray as a full-fledged light heavyweight. In the past, he's struggled to fit his 6'2 frame into the 168-pound weight limit. Now, he moves up and it will be interesting to see how much stronger he'll be, and at the same time -- how he will take a real light heavyweight punch.

Picture for How Live are these 'Dogs'?

Photo credit: Esther Lin

But you wonder just what version of 'the Nail' that Benavidez is facing. At one time, Gvozdyk was considered an elite light heavyweight, as he dethroned long-standing champion, Adonis Stevenson in 2018. But a year later, he was hammered late by Artur Beterbiev. This brought about a retirement, which was really a lengthy hiatus from the sport. Gvozdyk took three-and-a-half years off before coming back in February of '23. He has notched three victories coming into this contest against nondescript opposition.

How much does the 37 year old have left in the tank? And can he keep off an ascending fighter who is a decade younger?

What this match-up really needs is a hot tub time machine.


This week on 'the 3 Knockdown Rule', Mario Lopez and I review last week's fights from New York, while looking ahead to Davis-Martin. Also Bob Arum joined us for a segment:


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Also on this pay-per-view bill is WBC middleweight champion, Carlos Adames, facing Terrell Gausha. Also Gary Antuanne Russell will face Alberto Puello for the WBC interim junior welterweight belt....Meanwhile on DAZN, IBF 140 pound champion, Subriel Matias, makes his homecoming in Puerto Rico versus Liam Paro....WBO featherweight champion, Rafael Espinoza, signed a promotional pact with Top Rank....I can be reached at

About Author
How Live are these 'Dogs'?
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.