In a battle of undefeated superstars in the primes of their careers, Gervonta “Tank” Davis stopped “King” Ryan Garcia with a fierce body shot in round seven of their lightweight showdown that headlined a SHOWTIME PPV production Saturday night from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
“Everything about this was exciting,” said Davis. “I was excited to be a part of this event. I remember coming up in the Golden Gloves and seeing Floyd Mayweather fight at MGM Grand. It was crazy. I actually just saw Rihanna perform at the Super Bowl, and I thought, ‘that’s going to be me one day.’ And we’re here. The reality definitely matches the dream. But the job is never done until I retire, so I’m going to keep my head down, stay humble and continue to work.”
“I’m good,” said Garcia. “‘Tank’ is a great fighter. I take my hat off to him. I know we talked a lot of trash leading into the fight, but he knows what it is. It’s all love at the end of the day. I was honored to be in the ring with a great fighter and I respect him a lot. You know how the business goes. But I want to say to ‘Tank’, you’re a good man.”
After years of build-up, two of boxing’s most exciting and popular fighters went toe-to-toe in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,842, with the three-time, five-division champion Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) emerging victorious after landing a powerful straight left hand to the body that caused a delayed reaction from Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) and eventually saw him take a knee.
“I didn’t think that body shot would end it, but I saw his facial expression and that’s what made me take it to him,” said Davis. “It was a good shot, for sure. I thought he was going to get up but I like to play mind games, so when he was looking at me, I was looking at him trying to tell him, ‘get up!’ And he just shook his head, no.”
“He just caught me with a good shot,” said Garcia. “I don’t want to make any excuses in here. He caught me with a good shot and I just couldn’t recover and that’s it. He caught me with a good body shot, snuck under me and caught me good. I couldn’t breathe. I was going to get back up, but I just couldn’t get up.”
As referee Thomas Taylor conducted his count, Garcia attempted to rise to his feet but was in visible pain and was counted out at 1:44 in the round. It marked four consecutive knockouts for Davis, who owns the WBA Lightweight Title in addition to past conquests at super featherweight and super lightweight.
Following a cautious first round, it was Garcia who pushed the envelope first, blitzing Davis early in round two as he sought to land his signature power left hook. However, Davis quickly turned the tide, ducking under a left hook and returning fire with a powerful left hook of his own that put Garcia down. Although Garcia rose to his feet, he rarely was as aggressive following the first knockdown.
“The first knockdown was just him not knowing his placement,” said Davis. “I knew that I was the smaller guy, and my coach was telling me in camp that he’s going to come up with his head up, so just shoot over the top.”
“I think I should have pressured him a little harder near the ropes,” said Garcia. “I was giving him a little bit too much respect and I think that was my downfall. I think I gave him a little too much respect in the ring.”
The body shots that eventually ended the bout were an important tool for Davis, who according to CompuBox landed 18 punches to the body throughout the fight. Both fighters landed an impressive percentage of power punches, with Davis connecting on 48% and Garcia at 42%. At the time of the stoppage, Davis led on all three cards, with tallies of 59-55, 59-56 and 58-56, and declared himself the new face of the sport.
“I’m definitely the face of boxing,” said Davis. “Absolutely!”