Gervonta Davis delivered a stunning body shot to stop Ryan Garcia in the seventh round and end one of boxing’s most eagerly-awaited fights in recent history on Saturday night.
Davis improved to 29-0, with all but two of his victories by knockdown. It was the first defeat for Garcia, who won 19 of his first 23 fights by KO.
Davis had also sent Garcia to the mat with a roundhouse left in the second round, and spent most of the rest of the fight working the body.
“I didn’t think that body shot would end it, but I saw his facial expression and that’s what made me take it to him,” Davis said. “It was a good shot, for sure. I thought he was going to get up, but I like to play mind games, so when he was looking at me, I was looking at him trying to tell him, Get up!’ He just shook his head, No.'”
Garcia did manage to land two sharp rights to Davis’ face in the sixth round, only for ‘Tank’ to respond in the seventh with a left that sent Garcia stumbling backwards despite having not initially appeared to hurt him.
The 24-year-old would be forced to take a knee as a result of the impact, prompting referee Thomas Taylor to call the bout.
“He caught me with a good shot, and I just couldn’t recover,” Garcia said. “He caught me with a good body shot, snuck under me and caught me good.
“I couldn’t breathe. I was going to get back up, but I just couldn’t get up.”
Former champions Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Manny Pacquiao featured among a celebrity-filled crowd for one of the biggest fights of the year as Davis and Garcia embodied the excited surrounding the lightweight division.
“Everything about this was exciting,” Davis said. “I was excited to be a part of this event. I remember coming up in the Golden Gloves and seeing Floyd (Mayweather Jr.) fight at the MGM. It was crazy. I actually just saw Rihanna perform at the Super Bowl, and I thought that’s going to be me one day, and we’re here.”
Davis’ victory could set up a showdown with undefeated Devin Haney, who owns all four major championship belts in the division and is scheduled to face former champ Vasiliy Lomachenko in May
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