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Terrific Tank crushes Ryan Garcia with body snatch KO
Plus, magical Morrell on his way to the top
Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis further enhanced his credentials as a pound-for-pound star and huge draw both in the arena and at the Box Office with a resounding knockout of rival Ryan Garcia. Some pointed to the 136-pound catchweight as a reason for Garcia’s inability to shake off a seventh-round body shot. While I’m not discounting the possibility, it became apparent early on that Ryan was slightly out of the depth and swimming against the tide in this one.
Tank’s performance was safe and methodical for the most part, punctuated by two explosive moments. One thing that stood out was, despite his athletic attributes, Garcia’s deficiencies were there for all to see. Every time he threw either a sporadic jab, left hook or right hand, his head shot up like a spring, inviting the compact Davis to bop it with a southpaw jab or straight left.
The finishing shot arrived off the back of a more fruitful sixth for Garcia who finally took heed of Joe Goossen’s advice to throw and land his overhand right. Feeling his way back into a contest that had been slipping away, Ryan left his torso exposed while backing up and Tank snapped in a fantastically short, sharp body shot. Garcia grimaced, slouched forward and tried to suck it up.
The pain rapidly spread through his body. Sliding down on to one knee, his face displayed a rueful complexion. Davis hurried over to the neutral corner. He knew that even if Garcia rose and beat the count, the assignment was complete.
Gervonta is fast becoming a star – Photo Credit: Sky Sports
As mentioned, Ryan displayed plenty of early aggression. Forcing his opponent into clinches, wrestling with intent. The Baltimore fight favourite lurched in more than once to grab hold and stymie the frenzied rushes. Referee Thomas Taylor took exception to this strategy and admonished Davis for his actions.
As Garcia’s enthusiasm increased, his confidence grew and the defence lapsed midway through round two. Davis thrives on such invitations and caught the Californian square with a classic counter shot. The blueprint had been set.
By the third, Gervonta was on the front foot, smiling to himself, looking comfortable as Garcia ate up feints and started throwing tight, reactive shots. Garcia’s jab was snappy but his head was sitting on the line. An open invitation to someone of Gervonta’s prowess. You could see the end coming.
Now sporting a shock white beard, Leonard Ellerbe entered the ring to congratulate his young charge. Shifty Len has been a constant throughout the rise of Tank’s career. Floyd Mayweather even returned to the fold. A lover of the limelight, ‘Money’ would never pass up the opportunity to bask in such a glowing stage. Floyd once again had the last laugh over his old rival Oscar De La Hoya who was barely noticeable at ringside.
Another guiding hand in Tank’s corner is trainer Calvin Ford. A rugged product of the streets who has found a home in the forgiving world of professional prizefighting, Ford knows how to motivate his man and keep him focused. Rejecting the need to bombard his fighter with a myriad of tactical instructions, Ford’s groundwork is done in the gym.
Such a natural talent like Tank just needs refining on fight night. Keeping him on track in between the ropes is clearly easier than quelling his antics away from the spotlight. Calvin’s subtle tweaks, observations and words of advice are all that’s needed.
As I outlined on the Boxing Asylum podcast (see below), Tank showed a combination of the reasons why I rate him so highly. He’s patient, able to slow the pace down, hits very hard, and lands with speed and accuracy. Contrary to Eddie Hearn’s recent assertion that “he’s not a deep thinker”, while the sizzling southpaw may not be reading Tolstoy or contemplating the meaning of life while at home, Davis is an extremely astute boxer.
He sets traps and possesses excellent natural instincts. On numerous occasions, Garcia threw a shot that Tank was already in position to block or avoid. The 28-year-old saw what was coming and knew exactly what his opponent was going to do. That fight rhythm and innate knowledge are invaluable assets to have.
Everything seems to have come together for Davis. Having always been a fan, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re watching a very special talent, competing at his prime. If there’s one thing we know from seeing the likes of Mayweather, Pacquiao, Oscar, Roy Jones and many others come and go, you need to enjoy the superstars while they are here.
Gervonta could fly off the rails at any point so we need to secure the big fights to find out who’s the best. Devin Haney fights Lomachenko on May 20. Teofimo Lopez is now up a 140, where Gervonta has previous form (a beatdown of the much bigger Mario Barrios). Aside from all those options, imagine how exciting a fight between Davis and Shakur Stevenson would be.
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While we must commend Ryan Garcia for taking the gamble, that doesn’t seep through to his performance on the night, which is a separate issue. Even in defeat, I believe the decision to step-up and face Tank will pay off in the long run. On this occasion his many deficiencies were laid bare.
As for Davis, his next battle might be in the courtroom. If he can manage to evade a stint in jail and resume his career then an Isaac Cruz rematch will probably be made, as the PBC seek to build on his growing popularity.
If the talented Frank Martin keeps winning then an in-house clash could be waiting down the line. Martin is currently a relative unknown and would need to enhance his profile. Provided the southpaw keeps winning then he has the potential to give Gervonta trouble with his cagey style and fast hands.
MAGICAL MORRELL HAS A HIGH CEILING
Ever since he turned pro in 2019, David Morrell has been busy bucking the trend of boring Cubans by serving to smash up anyone put in front of him. Establishing himself as an exciting headliner in Minneapolis, Morrell has picked up a version of the WBA titles. More importantly, now 9-0 (8 KOs), he never plays with his food. If an opponent is over matched he’ll remove them swiftly.
Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao was the latest case in point. Hurt almost immediately, the Brazilian Olympian was bludgeoned to the fringes like a novice as Morrell landed hurtful shots with both hands. Falcao (24-1-1 coming in) never stood a chance in the face of such a blitz.
Morrell would be a threat to Benavidez and Canelo – Photo Credit: Boxing Scene
There are a few dance partners available for Morrell in the near future, providing he keeps winning and looking impressive. David Benavidez is the obvious choice if he cannot secure a shot at Canelo. Benavidez’s most recent victim, Caleb Plant, has the skills and experience to cause no end of trouble, but Morrell has the power and precision to negate Plant's attributes.
Morrell might benefit from fighting Anthony Dirrell or Ronald Gavril next, as he searches for more rounds. Knocking either of those two out impressively would send a real statement out to his rivals.
It will be interesting to see how many Pay-Per-View buys the Tank-Ryan show brings in. Some are predicting 750-800k or even up towards a million. Davis is now a legitimate face of boxing, alongside Canelo. Not that DAZN viewers would even know.
The streaming app suffered some kind of mishap that meant an outage and multiple charges for frustrated customers. The exhausted figure of Joe Markowski may get wheeled out this coming week to explain what went wrong. (Quick note: it appears as this piece is finalised that Tank cleared a whopping 1.2 million buys. Step aside Canelo).
And finally, Alen Babic suffered his first career loss in a raucous Polish arena over the weekend. Portly puncher Lukasz Rozanski hurt him within the first 15 seconds and never let up with winging blows, putting ‘The Savage’ away in a single round. This kind of defeat was always coming for the Croatian but it was an exciting ride while it lasted.
Thanks for reading! Drop a little heart or even a comment if you get a minute. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Speak to you all next week…
About Steve: Experienced boxing writer, author of 8 books and podcaster of over 400 eps. 15+ years in the sport. Covered hundreds of shows for newspapers and Boxing News magazine. Chief script writer for Motivedia channel. For enquiries: email@example.com.