WASHINGTON, D.C. – Garcia dropped one, and he took off.
After a slow start, lightweight superstar Gervonta “Tank” Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) relied on his trademark strength to force 130-pound reigning champion Hector Luis Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs) into submission Saturday inside Capital One. Arena. , in the final move before a proposed showdown in April with fellow undefeated Ryan Garcia.
“God willing, I’m ready to fight,” said Davis. “It’s due in April and I’m here. On my end, I’m ready. I’ll take a week off and I’ll be back.” [in the gym] Definitely.”
Davis, a native of nearby Baltimore, maintained his poise and focus despite a tumultuous boot camp in which the 28-year-old spent a night in jail a week before the fight following his misdemeanor arrest for domestic assault.
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Garcia, 31, who boxed for the Dominican Republic at the 2016 Olympics, relied on his technique and height to force the shorter Davis to bide his time in the start. But the action rebounded dramatically in the fourth round as the pair of southern paws traded big shots from close range.
Action continued until the eighth round when a fight in the first two rows of the crowd caused a strange stop in motion as ringside security sorted things out. When the fight resumed, Davis began to walk Garcia with a large left hand and appeared to pin him briefly before the end of the round.
Garcia, who complained to his corner after the round that he couldn’t see him, was unable to answer the bell for the start of round 9, giving Davis a TKO victory to retain the WBA lightweight title.
“I was a little surprised, but when I caught him, I knew he was hurt and he was hurt badly,” Davis said. “He’s a fighter and I know he doesn’t want to show it but he’s injured.”
The official timeout was 13 seconds into the ninth round with Davis leading 78-73, 78-73 and 78-74 on the judges’ scorecards.
“When the blows came to my head in the final round, I couldn’t see anymore,” Garcia said.
Despite playing effort from Garcia, who worked within punching range the entire time and was willing to trade takes for a bigger punch, Davis outscored his opponent by a margin of 99 to 55, according to ShoStats. Davis also got an impressive 53% power-up.
“I feel as though I have things to work on,” Davis said. “I’m a fighter, not a retiree, so my skill is never full. I’m always willing to learn.”
“[I struggled] A little bit because I don’t fight south often but it’s okay because that’s part of the game.”
Garcia had a breakout 2022, handing a first defeat to Chris Colbert before winning the WBA 130-pound title over Roger Gutierrez to become a dark horse in the conversation of the year.
After the fight, Davis admitted that the only opponent he had a chance of defeating was himself.
“[I need to] Close to my people, listen to my loved ones, and listen to them [adviser] He wandered and just focused. There are a lot of bumps in the road but as long as we stay focused together, this is how I will achieve longevity in the sport.
The undercard saw Jaron “Boots” Ennis fail to record a knockout for the first time since 2017 as he cruised to victory over Karen Chokhadjian. Ennis went the distance—the first time he’d gotten past round six—finding Chukhadzhian difficult to land him cleanly. In addition, Roman Villa rallied late on to stun Rashidi Ellis with a majority decision. Villa twice scored a knockdown in the final round to give himself the advantage on two of the judges’ scorecards. And Demetrius Andrade made his super middleweight debut as he easily tackled Demond Nicholson via decision.
CBS Sports was with you all the way on Saturday with live scores and highlights below.
Fight card, results
- Gervonta Davis Def. Hector Luis Garcia via ninth-round TKO
- Jaron Ennis Dave. Karen Chokhadjian via unanimous decision (120-108, 120-108, 120-108)
- Roman Villa defeated. Rashidi Ellis by majority decision (114-112, 114-112, 113-113)
- Demetrius Andrade defeated. Diamond Nicholson via unanimous decision (100-88, 100-88, 100-88)
Davis vs. Garcia scorecard, live coverage
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