Gervonta Davis is fighting in Baltimore. While the opponent and venue has yet to be determined, the tentative date is set for July. This opens up a litany of potential options of where this fight could be held in a city clamoring for a champion.
Baltimore has produced former world heavyweight champion Hasim “The Rock” Rahman. It’s a fighter’s town. Davis is the homegrown talent and the next big thing. He’s fresh out of the city-funded Upton Boxing Club in West Baltimore and could inspire this city’s youth for decades.
It’s important for Baltimore to make a splash with this event with its reputation continuously reeling in the media’s spotlight. The obvious choice is to hold the event at the Royal Farms Arena. An aging facility that would get the job done, but almost certainly fail to make a splash. Here’s a list of the top six venues for where this fight could be held.
1. Royal Farms Arena
Sitting in the heart of downtown Baltimore with a capacity of 14,000 it’d be hard to pass up on holding the fight here. It’s the obvious choice and it’d be the overwhelming betting favorite if this type of thing is wagered on.
“The Chicken Box” as it’s affectionately called by locals (Royal Farms sells some of the best fried chicken in America) is most likely where Tank will be slugging it out this July.
2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Widely considered to be the most beautiful ballpark in baseball, there hasn’t been much to cheer about for fans in recent years. The Orioles have been drawing consistently low attendance and have crashed to the cellar of the American League East Division.
This energy could change with one special night of the hometown fans packing this place to see Davis fight in his backyard. As day turns into night at Oriole Park, and the warm breeze comes in off the Inner Harbor, there wouldn’t be a better place to see a fight in the world for that July night.
Yankee Stadium has hosted fights as recently as 2010 (Cotto – Foreman) so there is a precedent for this type of spectacle in the modern era of boxing.
3. Pimlico Race Course
This is a long shot, but the allure of bringing a boxing match to the home of the Preakness Stakes would be powerful for local sports fans. In a city that once was home to the “World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum” (Memorial Stadium) Baltimore has some of the most passionate fans in the world. As the home to a major fight, Pimlico could be the conduit from this city’s proud sporting past (it opened in 1870) to the bright future it may have with Davis.
Logistically this would be tough. There’d be a lot of seats that wouldn’t have a view of the ring, but there is certainly some configuration that could make it work. The Pimlico neighborhood is just a few miles from Davis’ home neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester.
4. SECU Arena
This is the home of Towson University basketball. It’s new. It’s nice. And it offers a ton more modern amenities than Royal Farms Arena. The problem is that it’s small (just 5,200 seats) and it’s not in the city limits! It’s in nearby Towson, which is very close to Baltimore, but still not exactly Baltimore.
5. UMBC Events Center
This arena, much like Towson’s arena is brand new. It’s home to the UMBC Retrievers basketball team and opened in 2018. The same problems that would prevent the SECU Center from hosting the Davis fight are also present here. It’s small (5,000 seats) and it’s not in the city.
6. M&T Bank Stadium
The home of the Ravens wouldn’t be the first NFL stadium in recent years to host a major boxing event (AT&T Stadium in Dallas has hosted a few major fights in the past couple years), but this is a long shot. Filling up this 71,000 seat stadium just wouldn’t be possible at this stage of Davis’ career, but give him time! This is Ravenstown and above all nothing in sports matters more than the Ravens do to Baltimore, but give Davis time and anything could happen.
This blog has been written by Casey Callanan, Baltimore city resident and host of the Characters of Boxing (And Beyond) Podcast.