TGB Promotions

WBA lightweight champion Gervonta "Tank" Davis returns to the ring this Saturday and he already has a "hit list" of big-name fighters such as Shakur Stevenson and Devin Haney. Before those fights can materialize, Davis has to get past a tricky test in the form of Frank Martin.

If you're outside the boxing bubble, you may be wondering who Martin is and why he's facing the man who became, arguably, "the face of boxing" with his easy destruction of Ryan Garcia in April 2023.

Let's start with the why. In all honestly, Martin is not the best fight available for Davis and this is not the first time Davis' level of opposition has come into question. What landed Davis the fight is his promoter since he, like Davis, is promoted by Premier Boxing Champions, an outfit that has always preferred to keep matchmaking as in-house as possible.

Davis did use his power as one of boxing's few true superstars to push for the fight with Garcia, which was a massive financial success and only looks better on Davis' resume after Garcia's impressive -- and controversial -- showing against Haney. But it was not a surprise to see Davis shift things back a gear rather than chasing a fight with WBC champ Stevenson.

Despite not being the biggest name option, Martin is a legitimate top 10 -- if not top five -- lightweight and it's hard to argue he hasn't earned his crack at a world title after an 18-0 start to his career.

Martin's 2022 campaign was a real break-out year, culminating in an impressively lopsided victory over Michel Rivera in a fight that was, on paper, expected to be highly competitive. Instead, Martin dominated the fight from the jump and had an argument for winning all 12 rounds by utilizing his slickness, speed and technique to pick Rivera apart.

The Rivera fight was supposed to be Martin's biggest test while also serving as a WBA eliminator and putting Martin in position to face then-champ Haney.

When his title opportunity didn't immediately materialize, Martin took a fight with unheralded Artem Harutyunyan. Harutyunyan had won bronze in the 2016 Olympics but hadn't been tested at the pro level and entered the fight as a massive underdog against Martin, whose stock was at an all-time high.

The fight didn't play out as expected, however, with Martin struggling to cut off the ring and often getting thrown by Harutyunyan's head movement. While Martin had a handful of rounds where he was explosive and accurate, it took a knockdown in Round 12 for Martin to win by unanimous decision. Without the knockdown, Martin still would have gotten the win, though it would have been even on one of the three official scorecards.

While Martin ultimately got the win, his struggles in the fight caused his stock to take a bit of a hit and he no longer seemed like a sure-fire player at the top of the 135-pound division.

Martin has the opportunity to re-write that narrative again on Saturday but he faces a stiff challenge if he's going to get it done.

Davis vs. Martin is a showdown between southpaws who fight very similarly, but Davis probably has the edge in every area that matters.

Davis is known for his punching power, and for good reason, but he is more than a slugger who fires power punches with abandon. Instead, Davis is extremely patient and selective in picking his shots and is a far more tactical boxer than he's given credit for being.

Martin's biggest trouble against Harutyunyan came when he was not aggressive enough and allowed his opponent to take the lead. Against Davis, Martin has to figure out a way to not sit back and let the action come to him while also not being so aggressive that he falls into a trap and eats clean power shots from Davis.

Ultimately, Martin is a good fighter who received the fight because of promotional ties, and who is capable of beating most lightweights. But he'll have to be a better fighter than he ever has to beat Davis and rock the boxing world.