Bigger man: Gervonta Davis wins first super lightweight fight in 11
SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 26, 2021 – Gervonta “Tank” Davis of Baltimore (25-0, 24 KOs) made a successful debut in the super lightweight division, defeating Mario Barrios of San Antonio, Texas (26-1, 17 KOs) with an 11th round TKO win.
Davis said he made it tough on himself going up two weight divisions. “I definitely could have made it easier, but I went up two weight classes, and I got the job done. “I mean, I hit him with some clean shots, but I’m the type of fighter that wants to catch you with clean shots. I don’t just want to throw any type of shot. The shots I was throwing were missing, but eventually, I caught up with him.”
Davis was not intimidated by the far taller Barrios, but he treated his with respect. In the first four rounds, he landed just 11 punches. Barrios stayed out of range and wasn’t much busier. The scorecards were even at the midway point of the fight.
Then the chess match turned into a proper street fight as Davis started turning up the heat. Davis trusted in his punching strength and became the bully in the fight, seeing nothing he couldn’t handle. He crowded Barrios and didn’t allow him to use his reach advantage. It’s precisely the right way to take on a taller fighter – but only if you have the offense to back it up. Tank does, and he deployed all his favorite weapons.
Barrios wanted to make it a more difficult fight for Tank, but his attempt to keep Davis on the outside crumbled by the eighth round. He had to work too hard trying to keep him at range to return the kind of fire he needed to defuse Davis.
Picking up the pace
Davis landed half his punches in the 8th, 10th, and 11th rounds, and with Barrios starting to take too much punishment, the referee stepped in at 2:13 of the 11th round. Barrios later said he wanted to continue. “I told everybody that I was going to show the Azteca Warrior that I am. I want to give everything I have every time I step in a ring, and I hope everybody enjoyed the fights tonight.”
“I knew he was hurt,” said Davis. “I just had to catch him at the right time. Floyd [Mayweather] came to me and was honest and said I was down (on the cards). I knew I was down. So he said, ‘show me that you’re great.’ And you know how we do it in the doghouse, baby.”
Barrios was disappointed but gave his opponent respect for the win. “I’ve never been a hater. Congrats to Tank. He came here and did his thing. It was nothing short of an exciting fight, and that’s exactly what both of us predicted. He was the better man tonight, but I’ll definitely be back,” said Barrios, thanking fans in Atlanta for his warm reception this week.
“Tank’s explosive. He caught me slipping, and it’s boxing. At the end of the day, one punch can change the fight. That’s exactly what I felt happened,” said Barrios.
Mayweather praised Davis’s performance. “He has the potential to be one of the greats ever. When I first met Tank when he was 14 or 15 years old, I told him I’d make him a world champion. And you’ll be one of the best someday. I’m proud of him.”
“I can’t compare myself to all the greats just yet,” said Davis. “You know this man [Floyd] set the tone. I’m just following in his footsteps.”
Davis now needs to take on one of his peers at 135 pounds, and the most likely foes is Devin Haney. Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s dance card is full, and Ryan Garcia’s status is unknown.
Erickson Lubin roars back over Jeison Rosario
Erickson “Hammer” Lubin of Florida (24-1, 17 KOs) delivered the performance he needed to turn back the doubters. He defeated former unified champion Jeison Rosario of the Dominican Republic (26-3-1, 14 KOs) with a sensational offensive display, ending with a wicked body shot knockout in the sixth round, the second of two in the round.
Lubin credits his trainer’s game plan. “I would just go back to my corner after each round, and Coach [Kevin] Cunningham and my team would just say, ‘Stick to the jab. Stay consistent with your jab.’ I’m way faster than him, and I knew he had good power, and he was trying to counter me.
“Coach Cunningham is a Hall of Fame trainer. He just told me to not get too crazy when I get him hurt. We just wanted to systematically beat him down, and that’s what we did.”
Lubin said he wanted to distract Rosario with the jab, then go to the body. “I knew even if he got up after the knockdown that the fight was over. I know I’m a great finisher, and I knew I was going to get him out of there as soon as I saw him drop.”
The many people who advised Lubin to take a tune-up fighter after sitting out during the pandemic can be glad Lubin ignored them. Lubin now becomes the WBC Super Welterweight mandatory challenger to champion Jermell Charlo.
Lubin has fully redeemed himself from his 2017 first-round knockout loss to Charlo. He’d love to get another shot. Lubin is only 25 years old with plenty of championship opportunities ahead of him in a competitive division.
A disappointed Rosario congratulated his opponent. “Right now, I feel so bad. There is no lesson to be learned yet. Everything is so raw still. I lost again, and it’s so frustrating. I was convinced I was going to win. The fight started to turn in the second round. I was just trying to keep up and listen to my corner.
“Lubin is a great fighter. He deserved to win. I hope he enjoys his victory.”
Although Lubin outlanded Rosario 80 punches to 59 in the six rounds, Rosario wasn’t going to yield until he had no choice. This makes Lubin’s performance even more meaningful. Fighting lackluster opponents gets the win, but it doesn’t earn respect like Lubin’s victory did Saturday.
Carlos Adames scores impressive knockout victory
Super welterweight contender Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic (20-1, 16 KOs) scored an impressive one-punch knockout win over Alexis Salazar of Guadalajara (23-4, 9 KOs) in round three. Adames fooled Salazar with a delayed punch and clocked him with a check left hook.
“I was working with the jab to the body at first, so that was working, and then I came with the left hook. I did my job and followed my strategy from A to Z and was able to succeed the way I wanted to. The key moment of the fight was when I managed to disrupt his focus. Once I was able to do that, then it was easy pickings for me,” said Adames
“If it was up to me, I’d fight tomorrow. I wouldn’t be able to tell you who, exactly. But whoever wants to come my way is welcome to step into the ring with me.” It was a sensational shot, and Adames becomes a player again in a busy division.
Akhmedov wins in eight rounds
Batyr Akhmedov opened the card with a good performance against former world champion Argenis Mendez in their WBA super lightweight title eliminator. Akhmedov won by eighth-round TKO.
Akhmedov said the fight went as planned. “We were expecting a tough fight like that. We knew he would be uncomfortable to fight and tricky. He was headbutting and elbowing me. It was good experience for me.” Akhmedov said going some rounds was beneficial, and he was glad to be back in the ring.
“Mendez is a tough guy who fights top fighters. We knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. When I hurt him, my corner was telling me to slow down and take my time before going for the knockout, said Akhmedov.
Mendez said after the fight he injured or broke his knuckles in the second round, and from the fourth round on, “it was useless.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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