Liam Walsh v Gervonta Davis: the story behind the flare-up between Walsh brothers and Floyd Mayweather Junior
- Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo
Insults were traded between both camps today as tempers erupted ahead of Liam Walsh's world title clash with Gervonta Davis.
Tensions had been simmering between the two at the last head-to-head meeting ahead of their clash at London's Copper Box arena tomorrow, but there was little sign of what was to come.
With Walsh's twin brother Ryan and their elder brother Michael watching from the sidelines at a press conference at the swish Landmark London Hotel, Davis' mentor, Floyd Mayweather began to take over the event with long speeches about his life and his upbringing.
But it was when he said, 'I conquered your country once and we are here to conquer again,' that he really stoked the fire.
Ryan Walsh's response from the back of the room was to point out Mayweather never fought in England.
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With the sizeable Mayweather/Davis entourage encouraging their men, Mayweather said: 'You don't know anything.'
It descended into a shouting match, but the dust appear to be settling only for the atmosphere to bristle again when both fighters were asked to make a prediction.
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Walsh politely declined, before Davis repeated a comment he had made to the American media last week that he was 'on a different level' to the man from Cromer.
With Davis and Mayweather whispering between themselves and laughing, Walsh pushed his opponent for a prediction.
Eventually, Davis said: 'You fought Paul – I forget his surname – and put in a couple of easy knockouts to protect your power so I know you have no chin.
The volume rose again before Davis added: 'Then your brother can get in next.'
Davis called Ryan Walsh a bum – although he was pointing to Michael at the time – while Mayweather joined in, saying 'I will slap both of you pussies.
'I am not worried about the two brothers. We are going to kick his ass on Saturday.'
Amidst the uproar Davis said 'Please don't run on Saturday night,' to which Liam Walsh responded: 'I won't run, mate, I promise. I will see you there, don't worry about that.'
But while Liam responded with more acceptable pre-fight bravado, the verbal slanging match between Mayweather and Ryan and Michael continued.
It was X-rated stuff as insults continued to be traded as Davis and Liam posed for the traditional pre-fight head-to-head for the big crowd of photographers and TV cameramen, and continued as the American duo were blocked from exiting stage right, as they had entered.
Even then there was more shouting before calm was finally restored.
Mayweather was clearly non-plussed at the turn of events, shaking his head and looking frustrated that his golden reputation as boxing's top man was being challenged.
Every pithy retort was met with supportive laughter and applause from 'his side of the room', but there seems little doubt that the derogatory manner of the American camp was bordering on the disrespectful – and that is what helped stoke the anger of two of the three Walsh brothers in the room.
For his part, Liam remained calm.
'I did tell them both before we came in not to get involved in anything,' said Liam. 'But they are grown men, what am I supposed to do?'
Away from the vocal shenanigans, there is a huge fight between two unbeaten fighters, with Davis' IBF world super-featherweight belt on the line.
Walsh admits it is the biggest fight of his career, with the bookmakers making Davis an odds on favourite.
'I've seen odds on me of 3-1 and 4-1 being bandied around,' said Liam. 'But there aren't three or four of us in the room, it is just one on one.'
Mayweather described the southpaw Davis – who won the title with an impressive performance over Jose Pedraza in January – as having 'dynamite in his hands'.
Whether the quality of fighters who have contributed to his 17-0 record compares with Walsh's is up for debate.
Mayweather insists his man – America's youngest ever world champion – is more than a one-fight legend in the making.
'It takes more than one fight,' he said. 'We truly believe he can be a great fighter one day.
'When he beat Pedraza he was a kid not ranked in the top 10, with 16 fights and it was a great performance. He is a good fighter on the verge of becoming a great fighter - he cannot be denied.'
Liam Walsh – and his brothers – beg to differ.