Gervonta Davis just needed some time. As usual.
The 135-pound contender received a spirited challenge from Hector Luis Garcia … for a while. Then he started landing his concussive power shots. And then it was over.
Davis stopped the 130-pound contender after eight rounds Saturday night at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., to set up a super fight with Ryan Garcia, possibly in April.
The official time of the stoppage was 13 seconds into Round 9 but Garcia, badly hurt and unable to see clearly, refused to get off his stool after he took a beating in Round 8.
The judges had Davis winning by a wide margin after eight rounds, 79-73, 79-73 and 78-74. However, the fight was more competitive than that.
Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) took a few rounds to feel one another out and then delivered some entertaining back-and-forth exchanges, with Davis unable to separate completely from a well-schooled, tough opponent who just beaten Chris Colbert and Roger Gutierrez.
“Tank” did have an edge, though: The judges evidently were impressed by the cleaner, harder punches landed by Davis, which ultimately took the fight out of their hands.
Davis began to land punishing blows at a rate that was adding up to trouble for Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs) in the last few rounds, capped by a devastating Round 8.
The beginning of the end was an overhand left to the side of the head that wobbled Garcia in the final seconds of the frame, which apparently didn’t allow Davis enough time to finish the job.
However, the damage was done. Garcia sat on his stool after the round, yelling, “I can’t see! I can’t see!” And he decided it wouldn’t be wise to get up, which gave Davis a technical knockout and another spectacular victory.
“I was a little surprised,” said Davis, referring to Garcia’s decision to remain on his stool. “But when I caught him, I knew he was hurt, hurt bad. He’s a fighter, he didn’t want to show it, you know what I mean? He was hurt, though.”
It was an ideal ending to a difficult camp for Davis, who was arrested and jailed on Dec. 27 after the mother of his daughter told police he struck her in the face.
The woman recanted, later saying the fighter never harmed her. That took him off the hook and allowed the fight to take place.
Davis also is due in court on Feb. 16 on hit-and-run charges stemming from a 2021 incident in his native Baltimore, which could land him in prison if he’s convicted.
Of course, he was able to put his troubles aside for at least a moment after another satisfying victory in front of what amounted to a packed home crowd at Captial One Arena, which isn’t far from Baltimore. When he did a back flip off the top rope to celebrate his victory, legal woes were the last thing on his mind
And, if he avoids jail, he can look forward to the biggest — and most lucrative — fight of his career against fellow social media star Ryan Garcia, who is naturally bigger and punches much harder than Hector Garcia but undoubtedly would be a considerable underdog against Davis.
Davis has said the only one who can beat him is himself. That seems to be true every time he steps into the ring.
The 28-year-old was asked in a somber moment how he plans to avoid self destruction. He gave the right answer.
“I have to bring my people in close and listen to my close ones, listen to [manager] Al Haymon and just stay focused,” he said. “There’s a lot of bumps in the road but as long as we stay focused together … that’s how I’ll [have] longevity in the sport.”