Chalk up another strange moment in boxing courtesy of Don King.
King's latest victim is Reno's "Koncrete" Kelvin Davis, who is scheduled to face Ezra Sellers tonight for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title in Miami in a Showtime-televised contest beginning at 9 p.m.
Davis, 20-2-1, with 15 knockouts, had a contract stipulating that the 12-round bout with Sellers would be contested at 200 pounds, but Davis found out Thursday - 26 hours before the weight--in - that the fight was to be held at 190 pounds.
"Showtime and Don King said, 'We're sorry. It's our mistake,'" said Davis' business manager Percy T. Moore from Miami, when reached on his cell phone Friday night. "Don King said it was a typo, that his secretary made a mistake."
Moore said Davis and his brother and trainer Kelly found out about the snafu while they were sitting around talking to some people from Showtime.
"Someone made the comment to Kelvin, 'You sure don't look like you weigh 190 pounds,'" Moore said. "Kelly said, 'That's because we're not. We're fighting at 200 pounds.' Then someone said, 'You have to be 190.' Kelly said, 'No, we have a contract that says 200 pounds.'"
King reportedly backtracked later on his culpability in the matter and Moore said there was a heated argument. Moore said the 35-year-old Sellers, 27-5 (24), of Washington, D.C., was at the allegedly contracted 190-pound weight limit and said he wouldn't fight Davis unless he weighed 190 pounds. Moore said King tried to have the pair meet at 193 or 194 pounds, but the 25-year-old Davis wanted to fight for the title so badly that he dropped the entire 10 pounds.
"Kelvin told Sellers, 'There, (deleted), now you have no excuses that I'm over 190,'" Moore said.
During the course of several visits and conversations with Davis leading up to the fight, the Nevada Appeal discussed the 200-pound weight limit with Kelvin and Kelly Davis several times. Davis' nutritionist and trainer P.J. Tracy - then of Nevada Fitness - had targeted Davis to be nine-and-a-half percent body fat at 200 pounds for the fight.
Understandably angry, Davis reportedly launched into a profanity-laced tirade at the press conference. While he didn't mention Davis' weight ordeal, fightnews.com reporter Mathew B. Cleary III included some choice quotes by Davis in his press conference article:
"I am a fighter," Cleary quoted Davis. "I have been fighting my whole life. When I was in school, I would go to other schools just to seek out the toughest kid so I could challenge him to a fight. It does not matter what is at stake; I will fight you for a glass of water. There is no more pressure on me for this fight than any other.
"On Saturday, my plan is to go in fighting and come out a world champion. Sellers is a good fighter with a good record and has experience. I have the mentality of a warrior. I am very focused. But the key for me is to use my brains and be smart. The difference Saturday will be my determination. I will do anything and everything to win, just like I always do. I am willing to die in the ring.
"I don't give a (deleted) how tall they are, I don't give a (deleted) what size someone is, I outboxed (Louis Azille) when I had a fractured hand and the (deleted) just wanted to run around. I haven't had sex in three months. I am (very angry) and I want to rip your (deleted) head off. I am a warrior. (Deleted) that (deleted Sellers), (delete) my fifth grade teacher. That (deleted) said I would be dead at the age of 21. If I win you can shoot me in the ring, I don't give a (deleted). That is Kelvin Davis. I am sorry."
According to Cleary, Kelly Davis challenged Sellers.
"Let's make this one round," Kelly Davis reportedly said. "Let's just go in there and trade punches until someone gets knocked out. Everyone says they want to come to fight and they end up running around for the night. Let's just do this in one round."
Moore said to some extent the Miami heat helped Davis drop the weight and that, far from feeling drained, Davis feels angry and that he got "jerked around" by King and Showtime.
"He's more confident, if anything, because he's (so mad)," Moore said. "King and Showtime said, 'It's not our fault. Try to lose as much weight as possible.'"
Moore said neither of the Davis brothers were available for comment because they were "in the zone."
The Nevada Appeal was unsuccessful in reaching King's public relations agent, Bobbie Goodman on Friday evening.
When asked if Davis was seeking recompensation for King's and Showtime's blunder, Moore said the matter was "in negotiation."
Davis is seeking to become the first Northern Nevada boxer to win a world title. Carson City's Nicky Walker was the only local fighter to vie for a world title, dropping a 15-round unanimous decision to Graciano Rocchigiani in Germany, on June 3, 1988.
Davis, at 5-foot-8, is giving up 5 inches to the 6-foot-1 Sellers, who is a southpaw.
In the weeks leading up to this fight, Davis and his brother spoke several times on the issue of being underestimated - Kelvin for being short and inexperienced as a boxer, and Kelly for being inexperienced as a manager.
Now add to the mix the mysterious contract clause, add the specter of Don King and the surreal events that seem to surround him, add Davis' rapid weight loss and that he is a fighter from a small city, and Davis has to be considered a considerable underdog.
But if Davis' life is indicative of anything, it shows he is used to battling and overcoming long odds. Tonight he will try to defy the odds, break the house and bring the belt on home.
Contact Mike Houser at firstname.lastname@example.org.