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  Tank Blows Up Garcia In Seventh

By William Trillo
Photos: German Villasenor


Inside of a packed T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, the most highly anticipated fight of 2023, bitter rivals Gervonta Davis (30-0, 28 KO’s) and Ryan Garcia (23-1, 20 KO’s) finally stepped into to the ring for a shot at Super Lightweight bragging rights. The electricity was in the air as the buzz of some 20,842 fully charged fans filled the stadium. It was a night some will never forget and a night others won’t want to remember.

Round one started out as most fights do, a genuine feeling out round for both men. With his longer reach Ryan Garcia was touching Tank Davis more often, and for that note, you would have to score that first round for Garcia.

In round two Garcia really opened up and went pedal to the medal on Tank. As soon as the bell rang Garcia was all over Davis as he let the punches fly. But, throwing caution to the wind against Tank Davis is more often than naught the wrong move. In moments Garcia would find out his tactical blunder would open him up. A strong left hand from Davis landed on Garcia’s chin, and just like that, Garcia was on the seat of his pants for the second time in his career. The look on Garcia’s face said it all, he had his hands full and he knew it.

Not liking the taste of the canvas Garcia was obviously fighting scared in round three. Whatever aggression he displayed in round two was gone. Pulling his head back while throwing punches and jittery feet put a smirk on Tank’s face, he knew he was getting under Garcia’s skin.

Picking his shots carefully Davis was in control of round four. Garcia may have been throwing more shots, but because he was punching scared, there was little or snap in his hands at all.

It was more of the same in round five. It became very apparent at this point Garcia was going to stay out of harms way. Davis was methodical and kept up his slow but steady pace.

Garcia’s corner must have lit a fire under Ryan in between rounds because in round six he came out like gangbusters, much the same as he did in round two. A couple of long Garcia right hands capped off a round that looked like maybe he was going to make the second half of the fight a war.

As round seven opened up you could see the fighters were going to pick up the pace. The two slugged it out on the inside for a while and after a wild missing punch by Garcia, Davis countered underneath with a hook to the liver. Garcia took a few steps back looking to set his feet, but then suddenly took a knee. Any seasoned boxing afficionado will tell you those delayed reaction body shots never end well. The ref immediately got in front of Ryan and started counting. One, two, three, and so on to TEN! Ryan Garcia was counted out and Tank Davis had his hand raised in victory at the 1:44 mark of round seven.

After weeks and months of speculation about who is the best, it was Tank Davis who rose to the top proving that he is one bad little dude. It’s doubtful anyone, including Ryan himself can make any excuses. After getting dropped in round two with one punch and then stopped in round seven with another, Garcia was put in his place, and that is standing behind Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

For the record at the time of the stoppage judges scorecards read 58-56, 59-56 and 59-55, all in favor of Davis. My unofficial scoring had Tank up 58-55.

Speaking about the fight Tank said, “Me predicting the 7th round KO was me just trying to get in his head. I really don’t know until I actually get in there with my opponent, but once I got in there with him I felt like skill-wise, it all matched. The first knockdown was just him not knowing his placement and I knew that I was the smaller guy, and my coach was telling me in camp that he’s going to come up with his head up, so just shoot over the top.

“I didn’t think that body shot would end it, but I saw his facial expression and that’s what made me take it to him. It was a good shot, for sure. I thought he was going to get up but I like to play mind games, so when he was looking at me, I was looking at him trying to tell him, ‘Get up!’. And he just shook his head, no.

On the loss Garcia said, “I couldn’t breathe. I was going to get back up, but I just couldn’t get up. I think I should have pressured him a little harder near the ropes. I was giving him a little bit too much respect and I think that was my downfall. I think I gave him a little too much respect in the ring.”

Putting David Morrell (9-0, 8 KO’s) and Yamaguchi Falcao (24-2-1, 10 KO’s) in the same ring on the same night should never happen. Yet, with Morrell’s WBA World Super Middleweight strap on the line someone was willing to take that risk and shove Falcao out there. The first time Morrell touched Falcao’s chin his legs turned into rubber. How Falcao remained standing as long as he did is anyone’s guess. That being said, the fight only went on for 2 minutes and 22 seconds. At that point Falcao was flopping like a fish on the canvas and the ref was waving this one off.

Take nothing away from Morrell who should go on to have a fine career, but Falcao has never been a world class talent…NEVER. His promoter knew that but put him in the line of fire like that anyways. When people ask what’s wrong with boxing, go ahead and point to this fight as a prime example.

After the frightening KO Morrell said, “Much respect to Yamaguchi. I’m glad he’s okay. He’s a good guy and a good boxer. David Benavidez is next. Where is he? I want to fight Benavidez, man. He’s next, 100 percent. I don’t want any other guys at 168 pounds. Just Benavidez. I respect Benavidez and his team, but inside the ring, I don’t respect nothing.”

In a Super Middleweight rematch, Bektemir Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KO’s) and Gabriel Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KO’s) in a match that was more about revenge for Bektemir, who in the last fight was knocked out in spectacular fashion. In this fight, it looked more like a fighter who could no longer pull the trigger, Rosado, facing a guy who was afraid to pull the trigger, Bektemir.

Rosado was stunned twice, once in round five and once in round nine, he never was close to going down. But, unable to really let his hands go, Rosado was not in this fight from the start. To say this fight was dull would be putting it mildly. With the crowd booing from the third round and on, this fight is proof that sometimes it’s best not to make the rematch at all. Officially final scores all in favor of Bektemir read 99-91 across the board.

On his revenge Bektemir said, “This was the fight that I wanted. This is the fight that I felt like I made a mistake in the first one, and I had this opportunity for revenge on such a big card. It’s a pleasure for me. In the first fight against Rosado, I underestimated my opponent. This time, we put the work in during camp. We went through everything. This time, the goal was to showcase my skills, box and punish him as much as possible too.”

Speaking on the loss a contrite Rosado remarked, “I tried, but I was a step behind. Father Time, eighteen years as a pro, but I was game. I walked to him, I boxed him, I tried everything, but I was a step too slow. He's fresh, he's young and I'm happy for him. I knocked him out bad in the first fight and he made adjustments. I don't make any excuses. I was ready. Now it's time to wrap it up and give my knowledge to younger fighters with management and training. I want to share my experience with them, and maybe do some more commentating.”

With the WBC Latino Middleweight title weighing in the balance Elijah Garcia (15-0, 13 KO’s) started out slow but gained his composure and took a close unanimous decision over Kevin Salgado Zambrano (15-2-1, 10 KO’s). Truthfully, the fight was far from thrilling but once he zeroed in, Garcia showed why he is an undefeated fighter on the rise.

On his victory Garcia said, “I was standing a little too still trying to fight on the inside. Salgado is a tough opponent. He was real tough, real strong and I just had to move and box a little bit. Other than that, it was a good, hard 10 rounds. I give my opponent 100 percent props. It feels great to get this win on a big stage. I feel like I'm getting better with each fight. I know I have a long way to go, but I like where I'm at. I'm hoping to get right back in the ring soon."

Fiodor Czerkaszyn (22-0, 14 KO’s) and Elias Espadas (22-6, 15 KO’s) slugged it out in this rugged Middleweight bout. The battle that was set for ten rounds came to an abrupt end in round nine as a barrage of punches by Czerkasyn staggered Espadas and forced the ref to bring this one to its conclusion at the 2:07 point of round nine.

Vito Mielnicki Jr (15-1, 10 KO’s) had too much power for Jose Sanchez Charles (20-4-1, 12 KO’s) in this fight for the WBA Continental Americas Super Welterweight Title. Mielnicki put Charles down twice in round 3 and then with crushing dominance, Vito sent Charles down in round four with a sharp right hand. The ref immediately waved this one off bringing the fight to a sudden end at the 33 second mark of round four.

Lightweight Floyd Schofield (14-0, 11 KO’s) dominated Jesus Valentin Leon (23-2-2, 19 KO’s) in this battle for the WBA International title. Schofield dropped Leon in round one and then went on to finish the job in round two. This one was stopped at the 1:51 mark of the second round.

Lorenzo Simpson (13-0, 7 KO’s) and Pachino Hill (8-2-1, 6 KO’s) battled over six grueling rounds in this Middleweight slugfest. Neither man went down during the fight but it wasn’t for a lack of punches landing. In the end the judges saw Simpson as the unanimous decision victor with scores all in his favor that read 60-54 twice and 59-55.

Super Welterweight Jalil Major Hackett (6-0, 5 KO’s) cleaned the clock of Jason Phillips (3-4-2) in a one-sided bout that was stopped at the 2:20 mark of round two.

Opening the day were Bantamweights Cuttino Oliver (3-0, 2 KO) and Roberto Cantu Pena (3-3, 3 KO’s) in a scheduled four round attraction. Down twice in round one and beating across the ring in round two it was easy to see Pena had no chance at all. At the 1:07 mark the ref stopped the carnage giving Oliver the TKO victory.


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