Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Jul 7, 2014
Ring Di Alarm!—Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis

Ring Di Alarm!—Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis

July 4, 2014
The Mouthpiece
Ring Di Alarm!—Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis
By: George H. Hanson Jr., Esq.

Davis (R.) moving in on Eastman (Picture by Sleek Photos)

Davis (R.) moving in on Eastman (Picture: Sleek Photos)

Monday, June 30th 9:30 am I made my way from Mandeville to Spanish Town for an 11am meeting with Jamaica’s most popular boxer—Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis. The tough, hard-nosed gritty pugilist has captured the heart, mind and soul of the country and is somewhat of a folk hero following his June 18th victory in the semi-finals of the island’s popular Wray & Nephew Contender boxing series. Davis won a unanimous eight-round decision over former middleweight title challenger—the dreadlocked ageless, grizzled Guyanese wonder—Howard “The Battersea Bomber” Eastman (49 wins – 12 losses – 0 draws – 38 kos). Driving solo I decided to bypass the now contentious ridiculously priced Highway 2000 and welcomed the challenges and the scenery of the old road which would inevitably lead to a traffic jam in Old Harbour. It is utterly amazing the limits to which one can push a 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara jeep on narrow Jamaican roads littered with potholes and reckless drivers who I am confident can see incoming traffic around corners. Vacation is not the time to wear a watch and worry about punctuality when one can bask in the adventure, scenery and beauty of the rhythmic flow of life in my homeland.

I was met at the Spanish Town roundabout a little after 11am by Terri-Ann Richards— the architect of Davis’ brain trust who holds a Master’s degree in accounting. I followed her vehicle for the short ride to G.C Foster College of Sports and Physical Education where the fighter has trained since he was a teenager. I was led along the perimeter of the beautiful, exquisite indoor volleyball court to the nearby “boxing room” to an awaiting Davis and the rest of his team engrossed in preparation for the July 9th finals. The boxing ring occupied the majority of the rustic space with a heavy bag in the corner that appeared so old it had me wondering if it had been donated by Jack Johnson after his historic fight with James J. Jeffries on July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada.

There is an old adage that fighters are made not born. Nothing could be farther from the truth in the case of Tsetsi Davis. He was born for combat, fighting his way out of the womb and battling through life. Abandoned by his father at birth—he still has never met man who’s DNA he shares—he grew up in Christiana, Manchester with his mother and six siblings before relocating to Kingston eventually setting roots in Spanish Town. Life in Christiana was tough as he spent most of his time farming with his step-father whose philosophy was geared towards hard labor and not educational pursuits.

(L-R) Gayle, Davis and Hanson (Picture by Terri Ann Richards)

(L-R) Gayle, Davis and Hanson (Picture: Terri-Ann Richards)

Introspective, humble and calm it is surprising that Davis was once a self-described hot-tempered youngster who was always fighting with the local boys and in school. His penchant for physical engagement would eventually lead to his educational demise as he was expelled at thirteen-years old from school. A survivor and a man of many talents he apprenticed as a carpenter and then a mason doing everything he could to earn a living. But, fighting was in his blood like an incurable virus. Davis was introduced to the sweet science after an epic battle with his brother on the cricket pitch in Spanish Town. Armed with cricket gloves a sixteen-year old Davis waged war with his brother—seven years his senior—after a dispute. An elder gentleman from the community saw promise in the relentless teenager and told him about the boxing gym at G.C Foster and trainer George Leslie—an Englishman who was the head instructor. Armed with an abundance of self-confidence and unbridled aggression Davis joined the gym and was an instant success. His grandfather bought him his first pair of red boxing boots and he took the amateur ranks by storm. He won sixty-two of his sixty-six amateur bouts, representing Jamaica 13 times in international competition before joining the punch-for-pay ranks in 2009.
Unlike the overwhelming majority of American fighters who employ so-called strength and conditioning coaches whose collective knowledge of physiology and nutrition could fit on the back of a postage stamp, Davis is in good hands. Marlon Gayle a lecturer at G.C. Foster not only has a Master’s in Physical Education but also a sound understanding of the requisite training and preparation for a ten-round fight. Gayle—a graduate of Cuba’s International School of Physical Education & Sports (Escuela Internacional de Educacion Fisica y Deporte) — has transformed Davis into a lean mean fighting machine with the ability to fight non-stop for ten-rounds. Under Gayle’s guidance, Davis (12 wins – 3 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) who has routinely competed as a middleweight is able to lose the thirteen pounds to make the welterweight limit of 147 pounds while maintaining his strength and endurance.

On July 9th Davis is scheduled to face stable-mate Sakima Mullings (15 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 10 kos) in the finals for the Jamaican Welterweight title. Both boxers are trained by Wayne Sharpe who learned the sweet science in Patterson, New Jersey. Migrating to the US as a ten-year old he Sharpe learned how to boxing in the tough gyms of Patterson eventually turning pro before finding his way back home. An affable lithe forty-three year old it was enjoyable talking boxing with him since the boxing community is one small circle of friends. I couldn’t resist the temptation to throw some gasoline on the fire in asking him the rationale for choosing the losing corner on July 9th since he will be with Mullings and not Davis. The logic was prophetic and plausible with him deferring the decision to Mullings’ manager and stating that it was a business decision that Davis understood. Trainer Larry McGhee—who reminds me of the great Georgie Benton—will be in Davis’ corner. The nattily dressed and elegant McGhee trains boxers out of the Power House Boxing Club in Spanish Town. It doesn’t matter if it Sharpe, McGhee or the ghost of Joe Louis’ trainer—the legendary Jack Blackburn—instructing Davis on fight night. Mullings’ best chance is to petition the Jamaican Boxing Board to grant special privileges by allowing him to bring a cricket bat into the ring. That is the only logical method in assisting him to keep Davis at bay and slow his attack. Most discussions over the prior week have concluded that Davis will live up to his moniker “Lights Out.”

While boxing is the sole or primary source of income for Floyd “Money” Mayweather and countless other professional fighters who earn lucrative paydays, Davis has to maintain a full-time job in order to provide for his family. He is employed as a farrier at Caymanas Park—the island’s only horse racing track leased and operated by Caymanas Park Limited (“CTL”)—in nearby Gregory Park, St. Catherine. His responsibilities entail the intricate and seminal skills of the preparation of the horses’ feet, assessing potential lameness issues, and fitting appropriate shoes, including any necessary remedial measures. He described his job with much passion and details that it easy to grasp the importance and art of this age-old tradition that is outcome determinant to the participants earning potential and physical well-being. Davis is paradoxical professional—the same hands that destroy dreams and wreck opponents’ health in the squared circle, ensures and safeguards the health of majestic animals built for speed, power and endurance.

Davis (Picture by Sleek Photos)

Davis (Picture by Sleek Photos)

There is no question that Davis is fighting for his three children – son Enrique (age 9), daughter Natalia (age 3) and son Gabriel (age 2). They are his motivation to risk life and limb in pursuit of victory. It is his goal to secure their future through his ring endeavors. The J$2,000,000 or approximately US$18,000 to the winner on July 9th —his largest purse—will be used for his kids’ educational fund. Like so many parents, he believes that his children should have access to an excellent education—their ticket to success.

Even though International Boxing Hall of Famers Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya are his favorite fighters Davis evokes fond memories of fellow Jamaican Glenn “The Road Warrior” Johnson. Like Johnson—the former IBF light-heavyweight champion—Davis is a relentless bald-pated pressure fighter who fights from a high guard offense, doesn’t take a backwards steps while breaking the spirit of his opponents. He reiterated that I wasn’t the first to make the comparison and concurred that they were accurate. The confident boxer fights with the intensity and destructive force of a man who is convinced that his life is contingent on victory.

A lover of pop music Davis trains with Katy Perry and the King of Pop Michael Jackson providing the soundtrack for his daily workouts. Music is a constant in his camp and oftentimes people are perplexed by his choice of music. But, the fighter likes what he likes and relishes in his eclectic taste. Perry and Jackson blare during training sessions but it is Dr. Martin Luther King who is his inspiration. He admires the great human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner for his outspoken determination and unwavering commitment to his beliefs. Similar to King, Davis is dedicated and sedulous in his pursuits. His goal is to win a world championship for Jamaica.

The island is swept up in the gale force winds of Davis’ bigger than life persona and popularity. I was amazed that everyone that I was able to engage in a conversation about boxing knew him and was anxiously awaiting the finals against Mullings. As the most popular pugilist in Jamaica, he is an inspiration to people with dreams and aspirations, particularly young men. His hard work and dedication has been recognized by Phillip Andrew Azar—board member of CTL—who had a race dedicated in his honor and will be providing t-shirts for Wednesday’s battle. It is only a matter of time before advertisers and sponsors come knocking at his door. Davis’ brain trust is in discussion with several companies in anticipation of victory on July 9th. His story is a true Jamaican account that is more compelling than that of Ivanhoe Martin—the character played by reggae artist Jimmy Cliff in the groundbreaking 1972 cult classic film The Harder They Come.

Fightkingsgloves-1Last year Davis lost a 10-round split-decision to Devon “Concrete” Moncrieffe for the Jamaican Middleweight title in the finals of the Contender. Thus, he is fighting for respect, love and honor. He has no prediction other than boxing is as natural to him as breathing. Having sparred on numerous occasions with Mullings he knows what to expect and will see how it plays out on fight night. I am not one to pontificate, prognosticate, regurgitate, imitate, or even hesitate—so allow me to get to the point— ring di alarm at 9:30 PM or 10:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday night as Wayne Sharpe stands in the losing corner. I will be watching the live stream on www.televisionjamaica.com.

Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!

About George Hanson., Jr Esq.

George Hanson., Jr Esq. has written 106 post in this blog.

Hailing from New Forest, Jamaica, Hanson started boxing as a teenager in Philadelphia under the tutelage of former welterweight contender, Dick Turner. He excelled, capturing four Pennsylvania State Amateur Championships—his last while a junior at Drexel University studying Accounting. According to most who have seen Hanson fight, “He is the best fighter never to have turned professional.”



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