Davis stops Hector Luis Garcia, sets up showdown with Ryan Garcia
After slow start, 'Tank' wins by dominating ninth-round TKO
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WASHINGTON — One Garcia down, one to go for Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
Davis retained the WBA “regular” lightweight title when Hector Luis Garcia remained on his stool at the start of the ninth round due to vision problems with his right eye in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions Showtime PPV card on Saturday night before a sold-out, pro-Davis crowd of 19,731 at Capital One Arena.
With the victory, Davis set up a fight with fellow star Ryan Garcia, which is penciled in to headline a Showtime PPV on April 15 in Las Vegas in one of boxing’s most eagerly anticipated matches.
Davis retained his secondary 135-pound title for the fourth time but will meet Ryan Garcia in a nontitle fight at 136 pounds.
Davis did not have many problems getting past Hector Luis Garcia, the WBA junior lightweight titleholder, who moved up one weight class to challenge Davis in a fight he began calling for after winning his belt in August.
He got the fight he wanted but Davis dominated, despite a very slow start.
Ultimately, however, it was Davis’ powerful punches that did damage in the eight round and left Garcia out of it on his stool.
“(I was) a little surprised (he didn’t come out for the ninth round), but I knew he was hurt bad,” Davis said. “But he’s a fighter and he didn’t want to show it. I knew he was hurt though.”
Davis had done the fight-ending damage late in the eighth round when he caught fellow southpaw Garcia with a right uppercut and a left to the head that sent him into the ropes. It was the left that caused the Garcia the problems.
The bell rang to begin the ninth round, but Garcia stayed on the stool as trainer Bob Santos informed referee Earl Brown that Garcia could no longer continue due to issues with the vision in his right eye, and Brown stopped it at 13 seconds.
“When I got the shot to my head in the final round, that’s when I couldn’t see from my eye,” said Garcia, who scored two upsets in 2022 to put him in fighter of the year consideration, including winning his 130-pound world title from Roger Gutierrez. “I didn’t know where I was when he hit me with that shot. My vision is back but my head still hurts. I couldn’t see from my right eye. It was going well up until that point. I was picking my shots.”
The fight began with neither man doing anything to even try to establish themselves in the first round in which nothing happened other than the two staring, feinting and throwing a few half-hearted jabs. And it was more of the same for a large portion of the fight.
They combined to land four punches in the first round, according to CompuBox statistics. Davis said his slow start — which is not unusual for him — was by design.
“I wasn’t throwing a lot of shots (in the beginning) because I was trying to beat him mentally,” Davis said. “I was trying to trick him with my hands and my eyes and things like that because he’s a tough fighter. I had to bait him.
“His southpaw style bothered me a little bit because I don’t fight a lot of southpaws but it’s OK. It’s a part of the game.”
Finally, the action picked up some in the fourth round with Davis beginning to let his hands go and connecting with straight lefts and right hooks. Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs), 31, 2016 Olympian from the Dominican Republic, fired back in a burst of good action.
There was sporadic action over the next few rounds. Davis landed some solid combinations, but not many, and Garcia tried to counter him and landed a few shots but just one at a time.
Garcia seemed to get off to a good start in the eighth round and then when a fight at ringside broke out in the crowd a minute into the round. Brown called time out, sending each man to a corner as they watched what was unfolding before in the crowd before their fight resumed after a delay of a minute or two.
When the action go going again, Garcia connected cleanly to Davis’ face but late in the round Davis landed the hard left to Garcia’s fight that finished him.
Davis (28-0, 26 KOs), 28, led 79-73 on two scorecards and 78-74 on the third at the time of the stoppage.
According to CompuBox statistics, Davis landed 99 of 239 punches (41 percent) and Garcia connected with 55 of 345 (16 percent). He landed a total of nine shots in the first three rounds and then 90 more, including 69 power shots, over the next five rounds.
It wasn’t Davis’ finest performance, which he admitted.
“I have stuff to work on. Everything,” he said. “I’m a fighter and I’m not retired so I’m always willing to learn.”
Davis did not fight like he was at all distracted by the legal issues that engulfed him two weeks before the fight. That is when he was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Parkland, Florida, near his Miami training camp, and spent the night in jail after the mother of one of his daughters accused him of hitting her and made a frantic 911 call.
Davis posted $1,000 bail following a hearing the next day and soon after the woman recanted her story. The case remains open but Davis has pleaded not guilty and the woman has told the court she will not testify, so the case is likely to be dropped, as was a previous domestic violence case Davis faced for an incident with the mother his other daughter.
Davis’ deal with Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs), 24, of Los Angels, still needs to be put to paper and signed but one bump in the road could be that Davis faces yet legal issue. He is scheduled to stand trial beginning Feb. 16 in his hometown of Baltimore, where he faces 14 charges related to an alleged hit-and-run accident in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2020 that injured four people. If convicted, Davis faces a maximum of 50 months in prison.
Davis and his team have acted as though they have no concerns about the trial and he looked ahead to facing his second Garcia in a row.
“God willing, I’m ready for the fight,” Davis said. “It’s scheduled for April. I’m here. He’s been training. He’s been talking. And let’s see who’s really about that. On my end I’m ready. I’ll be in the gym Monday. Well, not Monday. I’ll probably take a week off but I’ll be back for sure soon.”
Photos: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
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The younger American Garcia should be far more of a challenge to Tank.
I still think Davis wins Stuart Garica is too cocky mouthing off what he is going to do,and remember Campbell knocked him down in 2020 and he is not a big puncher which Davis is