In one of the most anticipated match-ups of the year, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia finally met in front of a packed T-Mobile Arena of 20,842 fans in Las Vegas in the Showtime PPV on Saturday night, presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
And while the ending felt somewhat anticlimactic, it cemented Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) as one of the biggest stars in boxing.
While the fight was more of a chess match than a fireworks show, Davis provided the first big moment of the fight in the second round when an overhand left landed right on the button and floored Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs). Though Garcia seemed more surprised than hurt by the shot, it gave Davis the opening to turn up the aggression.
“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.”
Over the next few rounds, Garcia opted to continue applying pressure, rather than utilizing his height and reach to keep Davis at bay while Davis found success with counter-punches on the inside.
Then in the seventh round, as Garcia attempted to fire off a combination, Davis snuck in a thumping left uppercut right on Garcia’s rib cage that momentarily froze him. As Garcia backed away, he took a knee and winced in pain. While he attempted to get to his feet, Garcia could not get off the canvas and was counted out at 1:44 of the round.
“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.”
“I’m good,” continued 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.”
Davis was all smiles after the win but just as surprised at the finish.
“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.”
At the time of the knockout, Davis led on all three of the judges’ scorecards, with tallies of 59-55, 59-56, and 58-56.
Asked if he sees himself as the new face of boxing, Davis declared, “I’m definitely the face of boxing. Absolutely!”