Mike CoppingerESPN2 minute reading
LAS VEGAS — Ryan Garcia pounced, then dropped to a knee, the late effect of a liver shot that perfectly placed Kervonta “Tank” Davis’ left hand that dropped his opponent for the second time in their superfight on Saturday.
This time, Garcia didn’t beat the count.
Referee Thomas Taylor scored 10 at 1 minute, 44 seconds into the 7th round, with Garcia still on one knee struggling to breathe. Davis’ victory came in front of 20,842 at a sold-out T-Mobile Arena, a counterintuitive but decisive finish to one of boxing’s most anticipated bouts in years.
With that single left hand, Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) cemented himself as one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters, not just one of the sport’s biggest stars in his 136-pound catchweight bout a few months ago. Trash talk and exaggeration.
“I thought he was going to get up,” Davis said, but I like to play mind games, so when he looked at me, I was looking at him to try to tell him to “get up,” and then he was. He shook his head ‘no’.”
Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) also landed in Round 2, the result of a well-timed counter left hand that landed on his face. As soon as his body hit the canvas, Garcia got up as if to show that the shot didn’t hurt him. He showed no ill effects from the knockdown throughout the match.
But body shots like the one Davis landed in the seventh are a different animal, even if they don’t produce the brutality fans crave.
“I couldn’t breathe,” Garcia said. “I was going to get back up, but I couldn’t get up. … He caught me with a good shot. I don’t want to make any excuses here. … I couldn’t. Recover. … He caught me with a good body shot, right below me. He snuck up on me and got a good hold of me.”
Davis came off a TKO victory over Hector Luis Garcia in January. Garcia (23-1, 20 KOs) hasn’t fought all of 2021, returning last year with wins over Emmanuel Dago and Javier Fortuna.
Davies’ WBA secondary lightweight title is not on the line on Saturday. Both fighters had to weigh in earlier in the day at no more than 146 pounds due to a rehydration rule requested by Davis.