Gervonta Davis Remains Unbeaten By KO Over Romero
The grudge between Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Rolando “Rolly” Romero that has festered for the past few years came to a sudden and violent conclusion in the sixth round on Saturday night.
That is when Davis, who has become such a star that he drew the likes of Madonna to ringside, nailed Romero with a clean left to the chin that ended the fight.
In scoring the highlight-reel knockout, Davis retained the WBA “regular” lightweight title for the third time in the Showtime PPV main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where a sold-out crowd of 18,970 for the building’s 40th boxing event since it opened in September 2012 set the arena record for boxing attendance and live gate.
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Romero, the mandatory challenger, spent the buildup for the fight trash talking non-stop and insisting he would knock out fellow big puncher Davis in the first round. But not only did he not do that, he did not come close to it or even appear to go for it.
But Davis was seemingly wary and fought at a deliberate pace and picked his shots, as did Romero, both knowing the other man had the thunder to do damage. So while it was not at all an action fight, there was tension throughout as the crowd waited to see who would land the first big shot.
Neither man landed many punches at all. According to CompuBox statistics, Davis landed only 25 of 84 punches (30 percent) and Romero landed just 22 of 115 (19 percent). Davis was much less active than usual, throwing only 14 punches per round compared to his pre-fight average of 36.6 per round. But, of course, he landed the only one that mattered for the knockout.
The fight was competitive until the knockout with Davis leading 49-46 and 48-47 on two scorecards and Romero up 48-47 one card at the time of the stoppage.
Referee David Fields warned Romero for shoving Davis to the mat in the second round. Davis, a southpaw, got to Romero a bit in the fifth round when he landed two solid straight left hands to the head and then followed with a body shot.
Earlier, Romero landed a few shots that got Davis’ attention.
“He was strong for sure but there were a couple shots that I was getting warmed up with and he caught me and I was like, ‘I can’t sit with him just yet,’” Davis said. “I know when to take it to my opponents and when to chill out. There was someone in the crowd and they were telling me to press forward and I was like, not yet. I got to loosen him up a little more.”
It was late in the sixth round that the fight took a stunning turn when Davis hammered Romero with a left hand to the chin that knocked him loopy.
Romero bounced face first into the ropes, slithered to the mat and came to a rest on his rear end with his back against he ropes.
Romero got to his feet by eight, but when Fields directed him to step to the side he could not properly respond. His legs were wobbly and he looked out of it, causing Fields to wave off the fight at 2 minute, 39 seconds. Romero did not complain and Davis climbed a ring post and took in the cheers from the crowd.
“The crazy thing is that I didn’t even throw it that hard,” Davis said. “He just ran into it. Something like when (Manny) Pacquiao got caught (in his famous 2012 knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez). I didn’t even throw it that hard and he’s the one who ran into it when he was talking that it was going to be me (who was going to get knocked out).”
Romero (14-1, 12 KOs), 26, of Las Vegas, who was taking a big step up in competition, out-talked Davis throughout the promotion, so it was a very satisfying victory. But Davis did not gloat about it. He took the high ground.
“I was thinking as this interview was coming up and as much as I wanted to be cocky, but I want to thank Rolly. I want to thank his team,” Davis said. “We settled it like men inside the ring. I wish him the best in the future.
“I knew (the talk) was all about selling the fight. I’m glad we didn’t fight the first time because I was so emotional. But I’m just grateful to be in this position and to be able to come out with the win.”
The “first time” Davis (27-0, 25 KOs), 27, of Baltimore, referred to was when the bout was scheduled for Dec. 5 in Los Angeles. But Romero was replaced as the opponent with Isaac Cruz on about a month’s notice after Romero was accused of sexual assault. Police eventually declined to charge Romero and Mayweather Promotions and Showtime rescheduled the fight.
Davis was fighting at Barclays Center for the third time. It is an arena that is meaningful to him as it is where he won his first world title, at junior lightweight, in 2017 by dominant seventh-round knockout of Jose Pedraza and his second title, also at 130 pounds, in 2018 by third-round knockout of Jesus Cuellar.
“We did it again in New York City, baby,” Davis said. “Thank you, New York City. I won my first belt here and it was great to come back to New York City and do it again.”
Romero left the ring without doing an interview, but he did attend the post-fight news conference, where he called for a rematch that is highly unlikely.
“He caught me with a left. I jumped in and I just jumped into a shot,” Romero said. “I’m a warrior. I want to continue to fight, so if I could have continued I would have continued.”
Then Romero turned seemingly delusional and defiant.
“I won all six rounds. I won every moment of that fight,” Romero insisted. “I exposed him and we need to run that shit back.
“If I could have got a first round knockout I would have done it. I know he’s expecting a first-round knockout, so I wasn’t able to get the first-round knockout. So, I was tactical throughout the entire fight. I want Gervonta Davis again. I was winning that fucking fight and I just got hit with a clean shot. That’s all and that’s that. I had him running like a bitch the entire fight. He got a nice shot in. That’s all that happened. He got hurt multiple times and he ran around. He was terrified of me and I doubt he’ll do the rematch.”
Davis, one of boxing’s biggest draws, does not need a rematch and there are many big names in the lightweight division. For example, Ryan Garcia was ringside and has said repeatedly he wants to fight Davis.
Davis sounded as though he has every intention of moving on from Romero.
“I don’t think people deserve a rematch if they got knocked out like that,” he said.