Beginning his career as a nine-year-old third grader, Davis went on to log 161 wins in 169 bouts during his career. He was a six-time Carolina AAU Champion, winning in flyweight, open bantamweight, open featherweight, and open lightweight divisions. At the age of 17, Davis became the youngest boxer to represent the Carolinas in the Eastern Tournament of Champions in New York City. He also starred as a high school football player at Mt. Holly. He scored 66 points for the 1956 league championship team in addition to playing middle linebacker on defense. Davis also served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.