Gervonta "Tank” Davis said that his move to increase two weight classes to 140 lbs for Saturday's pay per view in Atlanta was a sign that he was "daring enough to be great." His performance was a sight to behold.
Davis (25-0, 24 KOs), a 26 year-old rising star, headlined the second consecutive PPV card. He also added a title in a third weight category by stopping Mario Barrios (17-1, 17 KOs), a WBA regular champion at 140 lbs, in Round 11. It was a dramatic and thrilling slugfest inside State Farm Arena.
Davis led on all three scorecards when the stoppage occurred, but Barrios was busier than expected and was fighting him on what seemed to be equal terms through a series exciting and competitive rounds that closed the fight.
After a hot start by Barrios, Davis rallied in Round 11. He landed a left uppercut on the body to floor Barrios for the third time. Barrios was able to get back on his feet after a hot start from Barrios, but a frenzy by Davis along the ropes forced Thomas Taylor to intervene at 2:03 of the round.
"I made it difficult, I made it difficult. Davis stated that Davis could have made the task easier, but that is just how it is. "I went up two sizes and got the job done."
Davis, the reigning WBA champion at 130 pounds and secondary WBA titleholder of 135 pounds, proved to be the stronger puncher, despite losing nearly six inches of height in his junior-welterweight debut. This was just nine months after recording the knockout in 2020 when he finished Leo Santa Cruz with an elbow in Round 6.
It was only adjustments. Davis stated that he is 140 pounds and that he wanted to be caught with clean shots. I don't want to just throw any shot. They were missing at first, but I eventually caught up to him.
"I was coming up in two weight classes, but I knew that I could catch him if I caught them."
Barrios started strong by using his jab to control the distance and not over extend himself, but the diminutive Davis made the biggest adjustment in the fight when he began parrying at Barrios' jab using his right glove. Barrios was disarmed by the change and became concerned that Davis would be too quick to counter him.
Tank: "I have never hated Tank, congrats! Barrios stated that he came in and did his job. "This was an intense fight, and that's why we came here. "I'll be back."
When Barrios was surprised by Davis' lead right hook, Round 8, Davis seemed to have seized control of the momentum and dropped him hard. Davis attempted to get a second knockdown by using the left hand, but he failed to finish Barrios' tough fight.
In Round 9, Barrios appeared as if he was going to hurt Davis by hitting him with a left-hand. The action continued to escalate as both fighters traded big shots in central ring.
The most interesting thing about the fight was the fact that Floyd Mayweather, Davis' promoter and mentor, approached Davis twice in the corner during rounds to inform him that he could be down on the scorecards after a close fight. "I knew that [Barrios] was hurt. Davis stated that Davis had to catch Barrios at the right moment. "Floyd came up to me and told me that I was down. He replied, "Show me you are great." He set the tone. I am just following his lead. Floyd, I am grateful for you. It's a great honor to be here.
Barrios was having big moments in the fight as it moved into the championship rounds. Davis, however, was able to rally bigger down the stretch and stun him with a huge shot leading to the end.
Davis stated, "My coach told me to go on a jab side other than me, so I faked that I was going left and threw the hook over top, that's how he caught me."
CompuBox reports that Davis defeated Barrios by a margin 96 to 93. CompuBox reports that both fighters landed 17 total body shots, but Barrios used a steady attack late to slow down Davis.
Erickson Lubin, a former junior middleweight title challenger, may have secured his rematch against Jermell Charlo. He stopped Jeison Rosario in the co-main with a sixth round TKO. Lubin, a former junior title challenger in middleweight, brought Rosario to his knees before landing the knockout punch to the head. Rosario was unable to respond and the referee stopped the fight. Rosario was still in pain from the body blow. Rosario suffered his second consecutive defeat by a body shot TKO. Charlo also stopped Rosario in the same manner last September.
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