Gervonta Davis stops Ryan Garcia with body shot in Round 7
LAS VEGAS – It was fun while it lasted. The April 22 showdown between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia promised to deliver a major boxing event and an explosive fight. It delivered on the big event, packing the T-Mobile Arena, and it came close to the “explosive” part of its promise, providing the 20,842 fans in attendance with seven rounds of intense boxing that featured some entertaining moments.
The more explosive of the young lightweight contenders proved to be Davis (29-0, 27 KOs), who dropped Garcia in Round 2 and finished the California star with a body shot in Round 7.
Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) had a strong opening round, and was taking the fight to Davis when he was caught with an overhand left in Round 2. The 24-year-old boxer popped up almost immediately and survived the round, but he was outclassed by the more experienced 28-year-old fighter over the next three rounds.
Davis, who won his first world title when he was 22, is known for his speed and power just as much as Garcia, but he’s added a lot of ring savvy to his athletic gifts over the years and it showed as he controlled the distance and pacing of the fight during the middle rounds.
However, Garcia showed some grit and offensive versatility by connecting with a pair of right hands in Round 6 and resuming the pressuring tactics that earned him the opening round.
Garcia remained bold in Round 7, scoring again with the right hand but Davis landed a short left to his upper-right rib cage that immediately hurt the Instagram sensation but didn’t put him down to a knee until a couple seconds later.
It was a delayed knockdown that Garcia could not get up from.
“I seen his face expression (after landing the punch),” Davis, The Ring’s No. 2-rated lightweight, said during his post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray. “That’s what made me take it to him. (It was a) good shot.
“I knew I was the smarter boxer. Coach (Calvin Ford) told me he was going to come in with his head up.”
Garcia may have been open for the overhand left, but it was the underhand left that ended the fight.
“Tank is a great fighter,” said Garcia, The Ring’s No 3-rated lightweight. “I was honored to be in the ring with a great fighter. He just caught me with a good body shot, stuck me underneath. I don’t want to make no excuses in here, but I couldn’t breathe.”
Garcia agreed to a 136-pound catchweight and a rehydration clause to make the Davis fight. Sucking his 6-foot frame down to 135.5 pounds on Friday and then limiting how much he could rehydrate probably didn’t help his ability to take a good body shot.
But the popular young contender didn’t take too bad of a beating and can look forward to more big events down the line, hopefully at 140 pounds where he belongs. Perhaps in time Davis and Garcia can do it again. Garcia thinks he can do better.
“I think I should have pressured him a little harder,” he said. “I think I gave him a little too much respect.”
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