The undercard for the Mayweather vs McGregor super-event was recently announced and it features two title fights involving two Mayweather-backed fighters. The young, undefeated Gervonta Davis defends his IBF junior lightweight title against another young, undefeated fighter in Francisco Fonseca. And Mayweather Promotions golden child Badou Jack moves up to light heavyweight to take on Nathan Cleverly for the regular WBA title.
Like the main event itself, these are match-ups that heavily favor Team Mayweather. Let’s break down the two title fights and take a look at what’s in store.
Gervonta Davis (-3300) vs. Francisco Fonseca (+1400), Draw (+3300)
Twenty-two-year-old Gervonta Davis (18-0, 17 KOs) is being groomed by Team Mayweather to become the next big thing in the lower weight classes, and they’re unwilling to take any risks at this point in time. After issuing José Pedraza his first professional loss and claiming the IBF title, Davis went on to beat the then-undefeated Liam Walsh. Now, he faces another undefeated fighter in Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs).
That may seem impressive, and in many ways it is, but Davis has yet to face an opponent that poses a significant threat to him. Both Pedraza and Walsh were finished quite easily by the Mayweather prodigy — as expected.
Fonseca boasts an undefeated record but he hasn’t faced a fighter even close to Davis’ level. Davis is extremely unlikely to lose and the odds reflect that. Mayweather Promotions is using this title defense as a way to showcase Davis’ boxing prowess, rather than setting him up with a formidable opponent. Fonseca has an extremely narrow chance of an upset and I wouldn’t count on it happening.
Gervonta Davis (-3300)
Nathan Cleverly (+300) vs. Badou Jack (-275), Draw (+2200)
After vacating his WBC super middleweight title, Badou “The Ripper” Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs) is moving up to light heavyweight to challenge Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs) for the regular WBA title.
This is a far more competitive bout than the Davis fight, but it still favors the Mayweather fighter. Jack has his eyes set on Andre Ward but he has some ways to go before he can challenge the king of the light heavyweight division. While Ward is the undisputed WBA champ, Cleverly is the regular WBA champ. By snatching the regular title, Jack is one step closer to his dream fight.
The British champ defeated the aging Jürgen Brähmer for the title, but against the top names in the division, he hasn’t performed so well.
Aside from a huge upset loss against Derek Edwards, where Jack was stopped in the first round, The Ripper did well to rise through the ranks of the super middleweight. But his wins don’t come easily with three of his last four fight being majority decisions (one later ruled a DQ) and one was a split decision.
Jack is clearly a gifted fighter, but doesn’t win convincingly. He lacks power and a lot of his wins are often put to a tough decision. At +300, it’s worth taking a punt on Cleverly.
Pick: Nathan Cleverly (+300)