- Tevin Farmer, the IBF super featherweight world champion, fights in Miami on Thursday.
- The 29-year-old American “can’t be touched” by punches or bullets, Sergio Mora, a boxing analyst for DAZN, told Business Insider.
- “A defensive wizard,” Farmer has a fighting style that inspires boos from hardcore audiences as fans want to see him in action fights where he is hit, maybe bloodied, and even beaten.
- Should the defensively brilliant Farmer make his next opponent, Joseph Diaz, look foolish, then he could end up fighting Gervonta Davis.
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“Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it,” George Foreman once said.
When boxing fans don’t appreciate a fighter, you’ll know about it. Floyd Mayweather had his fair share of haters, and it’s partly, but not wholly, because he was able to hit while hardly being hit in return.
Defensive boxers are wildly under-appreciated by paying fans who are thirsty for spine-tingling knockouts. But boxing is really about making your opponent miss then making them pay by landing a punch of your own. Do this enough times and you can escape the sport with your faculties intact, having earned a decent sum of money.
Tevin Farmer, a 29-year-old American, is on the cusp of doing exactly that.
He is one or two fights away from landing a huge fight, potentially against Mayweather’s protege Gervonta Davis, one of boxing’s ticket-selling attractions having wowed big crowds in Baltimore and Atlanta.
He’s a defensive wizard.
Farmer, like Mayweather, knows how to make an opponent miss.
He is also booed heavily because of it, as proved by his last bout – a comfortable and unanimous decision win over Guillaume Frenois in Arlington, Texas, in July.
“He makes difficult fights look easy,” DAZN boxing analyst and former super middleweight fighter Sergio Mora told Business Insider ahead of Farmer’s IBF super featherweight world title defence against Joseph Diaz on Thursday.
“He’s a defensive wizard like Pernell Whitaker and Hector Camacho, fighters who weren’t appreciated until later in their career when they fought bigger opponents like Julio Cesar Chavez or Oscar de la Hoya. And they still made them look silly defensively, not being able to touch them.
“Not until fighters fought really legitimate opponents, the big names in their division, do boxing fans actually appreciate what they’re doing in the ring. Against other opposition, they can be pushed aside. Jo Jo Diaz is not one of those fighters, he’s a former Olympian, champion, and one of the toughest fights to date for Farmer.”
Farmer fights like he’s Neo from ‘The Matrix’
“He really is amazing … like Neo from ‘The Matrix,'” Mora told us.
Farmer slips, dodges, and ducks under punches when he boxes in a professional ring – a prizefighting version of Neo. But Farmer was once hit by a bullet for real when he was shot through his right hand in July, 2017, when he tried to disarm someone holding a gun, The Ring reported.
He was told by a doctor he’d never be able to fight again, but five months later he was back in the ring. Within a few fights, he was back to his best.
“He can’t be touched by punches … or bullets, it seems like,” Mora said, adding that he is phenomenal to watch despite the jeers from a crowd of hardcore fans who want action, punches landed, and knockouts.
“[Being in action fights is] not how you last in this game,” Mora said. “He’s created a career that is defensive. I was a defensive fighter for 20 years. It’s not popular, but effective.
“He’s defending his title, making the best money of his career, and if he goes to war giving the fans what they want – ending up in hospital – people aren’t going to care. He’s doing what’s best for his career, family, doing what he’s doing being successful.”
Victory against Diaz could lead to a massive battle against Davis
Farmer has been a world champion at super-featherweight since 2018, a world title he has defended five times. Victory against Diaz on Thursday would be a sixth defence and could see the American move to a higher weight class in pursuit of a big-money, high-profile fight.
An all-American battle against “Tank” Davis would fit that criteria as Davis, 25, is steadily being built into one of the biggest stars in boxing. He has won titles at super featherweight and lightweight, and is listed as one of Business Insider’s best boxers in the world right now.
With an unbeaten record of 23 wins (22 knockouts), he is a clear power-puncher and that heavy-hitting style would provide a classic style match-up against Farmer’s defensive prowess, Mora told us.
“‘Tank’ Davis is proving to be a popular fighter in Baltimore and Atlanta … he’s a draw,” Mora said.
“A champion, a power puncher rather than a boxer. It would be a classic style match-up of a boxer versus the puncher, an intriguing fight, a big fight which would be even bigger if they do it at the right time of their career.”
First, Farmer must fight and beat Diaz in Miami.