By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — West Baltimore native and boxing champion Gervonta Davis finds himself headlining another Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.

The lights, the cameras, and the star power. It’s something Davis and his team are used to as they find themselves back on the big stage at  9 p.m. on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.

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The main event at the Barclays Center features Davis (26-0, 24 KO) vs Rolando Romero (14-0, 12 KO) for Tank’s World Boxing Association lightweight championship belt.

WJZ has obtained rare, inside access to Davis’ longtime trainers: Coach Calvin Ford and Coach Kenny Ellis.

Rick Ritter asked Ford about how it felt to achieve one of his biggest goals.

“What does it mean for you guys to be center stage, Memorial Day Weekend, in New York?” he asked. “This is what you used to tell me years ago that you dreamt of.”

“It’s an honor for us. We really don’t let it get to our head though,” Ford said. “We’re trying to uplift our city first and foremost. It’s just part of the process. We got a job to do and we got a city of youth in Baltimore that we need to motivate and let them know that if you put the right people around you, anything is possible.”

 Ford has trained Gervonta since he was a little kid.

“Calvin’s right. It’s an honor,” Ellis said. “People taking a liking to our work and what we do, it’s an amazing feeling but it’s nothing but God’s work.”

Ellis has a star-powered daughter of his own, Mia “Killer Bee” Ellis, who is also undefeated and fighting on Saturday night’s undercard. 

The last time we saw Tank in the ring, it was a dog fight against Issac Pitbull Cruz. It was a fight that went an unexpected 12 rounds, that Tank won by decision.

“A lot of people don’t know that he (Gervonta) hurt his hand two weeks before that fight but as a team, we know what happened,” Ellis said. “He still got the job done with one hand and on Saturday night, he’s got both hands so you’re going to see the old Tank.”

“That was a learning experience for Tank,” Ford said. “He can’t make no changes and has to stick to what’s working for him. On Saturday night, you’ll get to see the difference from this training camp to last.”

No one knows Davis better than his longtime trainers. They say the 27-year-old man spent most of this camp training in Miami and is hungrier than ever after taking his conditioning and workouts to a new level. Now, he is focusing more on the condition of his body.

“He’s had better concentration with no distractions,” Ellis said. “He has a home in Florida and after camp, he would just go home. Not a lot of friends around down there so he was able to just concentrate on the fight.”

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Davis has been concentrating on his body “for longevity” Ford said. 

“This is the pinnacle of his career, where he’s getting ready for those young boys to come at him,” he said.

For Ford, Ellis, and Davis it’s always bigger than the fight itself. They hail from the Upton Boxing Center in West Baltimore—a gym that has been helping change the lives of Charm City youth for years.

“They say if you ask God, he’ll give it to you,” Ellis said. “We have asked for this and he’s giving it to us. We just have to keep running with it. It’s a blessing.”

It’s a blessing that is providing kids with something they desperately need in Baltimore: hope and opportunity.

“We just have to keep plugging, plugging, and plugging until the next kid believes like we believe in the system,” Ford said. “We got the Ravens, Orioles, and Tank boxing—but Tank isn’t the only one coming out of the city that sees this vision, that there’s an escape you can actually reach and get to. That right there is what it’s all about.”

With a career trajectory that is quickly spiraling upwards, the sky remains the limit for one of boxing’s premier teams.

“The book is still being written,” Ford said. 

“Gervonta is about to be in a position where he’s calling the shots and they’re asking what he wants to do,” Ford said. “That’s the beginning of Gervonta Davis. The new beginning. I can’t wait to see the business side of Tank.”

As always, confidence is never an issue for this trio.

Bad blood between Davis and Romero has been boiling for years but on Saturday night, it’s go-time.

“I’m predicting four rounds,” Ellis said. “A knockout. Rolly’s electricity is going to be turned off because he has an unpaid balance. We’re going to cut off his electricity.”

“For every word that Rolly said out of his mouth, I want Tank to make him pay for it,” Ford said. “This is an old-fashioned fight. Get your popcorn ready.”

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Rick Ritter