Often hyped up as one of boxing’s rising stars and quite possibly its most savage finisher, Gervonta “Tank” Davis lived up to his billing — and then some — on Saturday with a violent knockout in his pay-per-view headlining debut.
At just 25, Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) created a viral highlight that’s sure to gain acceptance as boxing’s best knockout of 2020 as he cornered Leo Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) in Round 6 and ended a close fight with a flush left uppercut to the chin that removed the four-division champion from his senses.
Referee Rafael Ramos waved the fight off instantly without a count as Santa Cruz laid unconscious under the ring ropes in the corner. All three judges had it 48-47 for Davis at the time of the stoppage at 2:40 of Round 6.
“First, I want to say, I’m a pay-per-view star. Second, I ain’t dodging nobody,” Davis said. “I’m going to continue to show the world that I am No. 1. I don’t have to call nobody out. I’m the top dog and everyone knows that. Just set them up and I’ll knock them down, one by one.”
A protege of retired PPV and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather who serves as the jewel of the Mayweather Promotions stable, Davis bested his mentor by landing his first PPV main event role three years before the 28-year-old Mayweather did against Arturo Gatti in 2005.
Davis, who made the second defense of his WBA secondary title at lightweight, also picked up Santa Cruz’s WBA title at junior lightweight since the fight was contested at 130 pounds.
“I can’t grade [my performance] right now but once I go back and look it over, I will be able to tell,” Davis said. “[Landing uppercuts] wasn’t a key but I tapped into what he was bringing. I know he was the taller fighter and he was crutching up and moving forward. So I threw the jab and then an uppercut to try and make him run into the shot.