Inspired by Whitaker, Davis wants a 2024 showdown with Navarette

Lightweight contender Keyshawn Davis tackles Jose Pedraza on the Teofimo Lopez-Jamaine Ortiz undercard this Thursday in Las Vegas. Davis takes on his toughest test after just 10 professional fights when he takes on the former two-weight world champion. 

Davis, 9-0 (6KOs) carries the torch for Norfolk, Virginia, following on from the legendary Pernell Whitaker as he prepares to claim world titles in 2024 and the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist is expected to go as far as his predecessor. 

“Yeah, Pernell Whitaker is actually from my town,” Davis said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I’m a boxing fan, so I would have watched his fights anyway, but he used to actually coach me. I was inspired by him, I still hold some things to this day that he taught me. He’s a 757 hero, a legend

Despite Whitaker’s past glory and Davis’s current rise, Norfolk has seen little in-between. The Scope Arena in their hometown hosted Whitaker’s first title defense against Louie Lomeli in 1989, bouts with the likes of Jose Luis Ramirez and Santos Cardona followed until his last contest on home turf when defeating Buddy McGirt in 1994.

“It has been so long since he fought there,” Davis explained. “The last time he fought in Norfolk was in the nineties, I probably wasn’t around then. It was just so long ago, but now that I am part of the new generation of boxing there they are just so much behind me because they remember the days of Pernell Whitaker.”

Pedraza, 29-5-1 (14KOs), will be attempting to disrupt Davis’s intended ascendency to greatness.

“I’m expecting him to come to win,” Davis added. “I think in his head he thinks he is really going to win, but that just makes it more exciting for me honestly. I love to fight and I love proving people wrong, it gives me more anger and aggression in a positive way. It is an honour to fight Pedraza, he has fought a lot of champions. He is a two-time champion in two different divisions. I’m happy he took the fight, so I can perform under the bright lights. I feel like I am going to come out with an extraordinary victory.”

However, the 34-year-old Puerto Rican is stepping stone to a world title with Davis expected to win. 

“Certain people are just born with it,” Davis said of the expectation on him. “Some people are just born with that gift of staying focused and blocking out any distractions. I’ve mapped out my life, my whole entire life and how I want to live it. It all starts with God, I believe in Jesus Christ. He helped me map my life out. Not just Boxing. Boxing is not my entire life, it’s a component in my life. I still got 100 years left to live. But, I’ve mapped it all out so I can be the greatest athlete.”

Davis’s name is beginning to be linked with the big names in his weight class. His biggest career test is partly clouded by his next fight after, as a world title shot awaits to present itself. 

“Who wouldn’t want to fight Lomachenko,” Davis continued. “He’s got a great fanbase, he’s a great fighter. But for me personally, what I think will be a fan friendly fight, will be me and Emanuel Navarrete after this fight right here. He’s just moved up to 135, he’s with Top Rank and he’s getting a WBO title. I’m ranked high in the WBO, so it could definitely happen this year.”