Jesus Cuellar was tailor-made for Gervonta “Tank” Davis, but Tank had looked sluggish in would-be tuneup fights before. Most recently, Davis failed to impress in a showcase bout against Francisco Fonseca on the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor undercard.
Tank lived up to the hype Saturday night, April 21 at Barclays Center, however, finishing Cuellar at 2:45 of Round 3. With the win, Davis picked up the vacant WBA Super World Super Featherweight title.
“On the undercard of Mayweather-McGregor fight, I just wasn’t focused,” admitted Davis. “It was the second time fighting on his card so it got to my head and it showed. After the fight, I went home and talked to my team and we decided it was time to leave Baltimore. I’m focused and it showed because I’m a champ again.”
Davis put the pressure on Cuellar from the opening bell, mixing up his repertoire to keep the veteran Argentinian guessing. There were no feel-out rounds for Davis, as the Baltimore native maintained his momentum up in Round 2; securing his first knockdown and continuing to demoralize Cuellar.
Things came further unraveled for Cuellar in Round 3, as he hit the canvas for a second time. Though Cuellar beat the count, Davis kept his foot on the pedal and unleashed another combination, this time forcing referee Benjy Esteves to intervene.
It may not have come against elite competition, but Davis’ win was an excellent pick-me-up for those who had abandoned his bandwagon.
After his underwhelming win against Fonseca, Tank spent nearly eight months on the sidelines, dulling all momentum of his back-to-back wins against Jose Pedraza and Liam Walsh.
It didn’t take long for fans to call for a matchup against Vasiliy Lomachenko after Davis’ win. With a showcase win under his belt, the onus will be on Tank to take a step-up in competition.
“I definitely want the winner of that Tevin Farmer vs. Bill [Billy Dib] fight,” said Davis. “Let’s unify baby!”
Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing