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Making ‘Koncrete’ a local hero

John Seelmeyer

Kelly Davis peers through the ropes outside the ring of a boxing gym on East 4th Street.

His intent eyes don’t miss a thing that’s happening inside the ring where his brother, Kelvin, is training for the biggest fight of his life.

Every detail of the action in the ring factors into the strategy Kelly is weaving as the manager and trainer of Kelvin “Koncrete” Davis.

But nary a punch is being thrown today.

Instead, the intense gaze of Kelly Davis is directed toward the television sportscaster interviewing his boxing brother.

In the strategy of Kelly Davis, the interview is nearly as important not as important, but nearly so as the battle Kelvin will face when he climbs into the ring May 23 against O’Neil Bell.

A victory in the bout in Oklahoma City, which will be broadcast on ESPN, could put Kelvin Davis into an International Boxing Federation title fight in the cruiser weight division.

And a victory, Kelly figures, would be an important steppingstone in his plans as a businessman and a manager.

Although he doesn’t speak the language of marketing, Kelly Davis wants to position his brother who grew up in Sparks as a sports hero around whom northern Nevada can rally.

And if they can develop a solid base of fans in the Reno area, the Davis brothers believe they can fill hometown venues with crowds and attract hometown investors, Kelly Davis said the other day as he waited for a sparring partner to warm up.

The marketing campaign begins with the efforts of Kelvin Davis in the ring.

In a four-year career, he’s compiled a 20-1 record.

Not a stray ounce of fat appears in the 190 pounds he packs on a 5-foot, 8-inch frame.

Sixteen times, Kelvin Davis knocked out his opponent.

But the marketing challenge, Kelly Davis acknowledged, is maintaining his brother’s ferocity in the ring while letting potential fans know that the 24-year-old boxer is approachable someone they’d like to know.

So in the weeks leading up to his next fight, Kelvin Davis has been everywhere from events at the Boys and Girls Club to autograph sessions at downtown nightclubs.

He flashed a winning smile for television cameras again and again.

“I want to represent this city.

It’s what I’ve dreamed of,” he told interviewers.

Despite a Mike Tyson-like tattoo across his face Kelvin contends he had it first, and was copied by Tyson the Davis brothers repeat their mantra: “We’re gentlemen.” The effort to build a local fan base maybe attracting some local investors, too is a way the Davis brothers hope to break out of a business where they’re barely breaking even.

Kelly Davis sighs as he ticks off the costs of a six-week training camp:

* A sparring partner is $1,000 a week, and the Davis camp picks up the cost of his food and hotel as well.

* Running shoes are $200 a pair, and Kelvin Davis goes through a lot of shoes with a training schedule that starts with a six-mile run each morning before he heads to the gym.

* Boxing gloves are more than $200 a pair.

So are protective headgear.

They wear out remarkably quickly.

* A cut man the specialist who waits in a boxer’s corner to deal with injury will command at least $500 on the night of a fight.

The payoffs, meanwhile, haven’t been huge.

His last two fights each grossed $5,000 for Kelvin.

His brother got a third.

After paying a few other expenses, Kelvin Davis took home $2,800 for a night in the ring and six weeks of a training camp’s rigors.

It stings when the Davis brothers see other fighters with their wealthy backers, fighters who don’t have to rely on family and friends.

From that sting, Kelvin Davis finds motivation to hit the speed bag a little faster.

“It make me run harder.

It makes me train harder,” he said.”We’re not babied.We’re serious.”