By Matt Lieberman: Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) got off to a slow start in the first half of the contest but then came roaring back to stop previously unbeaten WBA ‘regular’ light welterweight champion Mario Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) in the 11th round on Saturday night at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
The victory for the 26-year-old Davis makes him a three-division world champion, which is pretty impressive for a young fighter.
Davis struggled through the first seven rounds, being held to a standstill by the much taller 5’11” Barrios. With that said, Tank came on strong in the eighth round to drop the WBA champion Barrios twice with thundering shots to the head.
Barrios pulled things together somewhat in the ninth and tenth, but Davis put his foot back down on the accelerator in the eleventh round to get another knockdown. This time the referee Thomas Taylor chose to halt the fight. The time of the stoppage was at 2:13 of round 11.
You got to give Barrios huge respect for the performance he put in tonight, getting the better of Davis through the first half of the contest.
Barrios showed a lot of heart and an excellent chin in taking the tremendous punches from Gervonta in the second half of the contest. A lesser fighter than Barrios would have been taken out early, but he showed an iron chin for a while there.
With the victory, Tank plans on moving back down to 130 and 135, depending on what fights are available to him.
Many boxing fans would like Tank to stay at 140 long enough to challenge undisputed champion Josh Taylor for his four belts. Still, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe ruled out Gervonta staying in the division.
He made it clear that there’s nothing to get for Davis fighting Taylor because he’s not a household name in the United States. Ellerbe is right. Taylor isn’t well known with the casual boxing fans in America.
Tank would be better off moving back down in weight and taking on Vasily Lomachenko, who earlier beat Masayoshi Nakatani on ESPN.
Other results on the card:
- Erickson ‘Hammer’ Lubin (24-1, 16 KOs) took care of business with a sixth round knockout victory over former IBF/WBA junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario (20-4-1, 14 KO’s) in a WBC 154-lb title eliminator. Lubin, 24, knocked Rosario down two times in the sixth round. The referee halted the contest after the second knockdown. The time of the stoppage was at 1:42.
- Junior middleweight Carlos Adames (20-1, 16 KOs) stopped Alexis Salazar (23-4, 9 KOs) in the third round. Adames knocked Salazar down with a nice let to the head in the third. Although Salazar made it back to his feet, the contest was halted anyway due to the referee feeling he was too hurt to continue. The time of the stoppage was at 2:59 of the third
- Light welterweight Batyr Akhmedov (9-1, 8 KOs) picked up his second consecutive victory in stopping former IBF super featherweight world champion Argenis Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KOs) in the eighth round in a WBA 140-l title eliminator. Akhmedov battered the 34-year-old Mendez the entire contest. At the end of the round, Mendez opted not to continue due to a right-hand injury.