Baltimore native Gervonta “Tank” Davis moved up two weight classes and beat the “Regular” WBA Jr. Welterweight champion, Mario Barrios, with an 11th round TKO.
At 2:13 of round 11, referee Thomas Taylor stopped the fight after Barrios took a hard body shot and slumped to his knees in pain. It was the third knockdown of the night for Barrios; Barrios had never been knocked down in his 26 pro fights. He got up and wanted to continue, but Taylor had seen enough.
Davis (25-0, 24 KO’s) gave up six inches in height and had early trouble getting out of the way of Barrios’ long jab.
“I let the fight be close,” said Davis. “I am the type of fighter that wants to catch you with clean shots; I just don’t want to throw any kind of shot. I do not like to throw punches unless I know [where] they land. I was missing a lot, but I eventually caught up with him.”
Davis joins some all-time greats in winning titles in three divisions simultaneously, including his promotor and mentor, Floyd Mayweather. Davis did it at a younger age than Mayweather alternatively.
Sooner or later, in all of Davis’ fights, he inches closer and tries to take the head off his opponent. He is a smart fighter, and he saw that he had to close the distance on the much taller Barrios after the first five rounds.
Mayweather yelled, “You’re down” from his seat near Davis’ corner. Then, in rounds 6, 7 and 8, Davis got closer and started landing his overhead lead left hand and began to stick some jabs. Again, nothing hurt Barrios (26-1, 17 KO’s), but Davis found the range.
“I have never been a hater. Congrats to Tank. He came here and did his thing. He fought a good fight, and he was better tonight, but I definitely will be back.” said Barrios.
Everything changed in the 8th round. The southpaw Davis caught Barrios with a roundhouse right hook that Barrios never saw, and he landed on his back for the first time in his career.
“I am lefthanded, so I faked with my left and threw the right hook,” explained Davis. Barrios got up, but Davis caught him again, this time with a straight left and knocked him down again. Two knockdowns in a round usually mean a 10-7 score on judges’ cards, which put Davis right back in the fight. “That’s boxing,” said Barrios. “All fighters land punches.”
Barrios landed his share to the face and body of Davis. Davis took the shots from the naturally bigger man with seemly no problems. It was amazing to see Davis take the hard shots from Barrios. Mayweather said Davis, 26, has the potential to be great, and all great fighters can take hard shots.