Unbeaten Gervonta Davis handed Ryan Garcia the first defeat of his career on Saturday, stopping the Californian with a paralyzing body shot in the seventh round of their marquee fight in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Davis, who has won five world titles in three weight classes, added another highlight reel knockout to his collection as he improved to 29-0 with 27 knockouts.
Garcia was making the running in the second round when Davis drilled him with a left overhand counterpunch to send him to the canvas.
The knockout blow was blindingly fast as Davis took advantage of an advancing Garcia, landing another heavy left to Garcia’s ribcage.
After staggering back, Garcia steadied and attempted to square up before dropping to one knee — unable to rise before referee Thomas Taylor counted to 10.
“It was a good shot,” Davis said. “I thought he was going to get up. I was looking at him, trying to tell him ‘get up.’
“And he just shook his head.”
There was no title on the line, nor any battle for dominance in the 135- or 140-pound classes.
But the fight at a 136-pound catchweight, which headlined a pay-per-view card and drew an enthusiastic, celebrity-studded crowd to the T-Mobile Arena, lived up to the hype generated by the clash of unbeatens.
“I am the face of boxing,” said Davis, who had never headlined a pay-per-view card despite earning world titles at super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight.
“I just saw Rihanna perform at the Super Bowl and I was like that was going to be me one day, and here we are,” he said.
“It definitely matches the dream. But the job’s never done til I retire. So I’m going to keep my head down, stay humble and continue to work.”
Garcia, meanwhile, will have to go back to the drawing board after falling to 23-1 with 19 knockouts.
The 24-year-old’s hand speed and punching power make him a formidable opponent, and his massive social media presence has made him a mainstream celebrity, but he has yet to earn a top-flight world title.
After a testy build-up to the bout, Garcia was gracious in defeat, calling it “an honor” to be in the ring with Davis.
“He just caught me with a good shot,” Garcia said. “I just couldn’t recover. Snuck under me and caught me good.”
He said he didn’t want to elaborate, but when asked agreed he couldn’t breathe.
“I was going to get back up, but I just couldn’t get up,” he said.
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