On Saturday, January 7, 2023, Gervonta “Tank” Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) took on the unbeaten WBA 130-pound champion Hector “El Androide” Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs).
Davis, the undefeated five-time world champion and certified boxing superstar, was defending his WBA Lightweight title from the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC, which is only a short drive from Davis’ native Baltimore, Maryland.
The leadup to the fight was full of drama, specifically for Davis, who was arrested and booked on one account of Battery Causing Bodily Harm before being released after his accuser (the mother of his child) retracted her accusations.
Davis still isn’t in the clear legally, as he is set to appear in court for an alleged hit-and-run incident. Staying focused before a big fight is one thing, but facing this level of outside-the-ring distractions requires Jedi-level concentration.
Davis’ ability to focus on the task at hand and perform on a high level has always been one of his greatest attributes. Saturday night was no different. In front of 19,731 partisan fans, Davis methodically broke down the previously unbeaten Garcia, before hurting him badly with a left hand late in the eighth round that Garcia later said left him dazed and confused.
“When I got the shot to my head in the final round, that’s when I couldn’t see from my eye,” said Garcia, who even with the loss still owns the WBA Super Featherweight world title. “I didn’t know where I was when he hit me with that shot. My vision is back but my head still hurts. I couldn’t see from my right eye. It was going well up until that point. I was picking my shots.”
Although Garcia felt he was doing well at the time of stoppage, all three judges had Davis comfortably ahead with scores of 79-73, 79-73 and 78-74.
Garcia stayed on his stool as the bell for Round 9 rang, and a few moments later, his trainer Bob Santos advised referee Albert Earl Brown to stop the fight, with the official stoppage coming 13 seconds into the ninth stanza.
“I was a little surprised he didn’t come out,” said Davis after the fight. “But I knew he was hurt bad but he’s a fighter and he didn’t want to show it. I knew he was hurt though.”
Davis was patient through the first three rounds, gathering data and getting comfortable at the proper distance. By Round 4, Davis began flashing powerful combinations, which Garcia had difficulty keeping up with. After landing only four power punches in the first three rounds, Davis connected on 69 in rounds four through eight.
The victory was Davis’ fifth successful defense of his WBA Lightweight title and now sets him up for a clash against the popular Ryan Garcia.
When asked about Garcia confirming an April 15 data for their fight, Davis smiled and laughed. “Well, he already confirmed it,” said Davis.
But Tank is obviously done talking about a fight that’s been hyped up for quite some time. Instead, the Baltimore-native is ready for action.
“It should be no more talking. It should be working,” said Davis. Agreed.