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Andrews: Did Yuriorkis Gamboa’s heart overshadow Gervonta Davis’ dominant win?

The good news was that Gervonta Davis (23-0-0, 22 KOs) stopped Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-3-0, 18 KOs) late in the 12th round to win the WBA lightweight belt Saturday night in Atlanta.

The bad news? Instead of providing answers, the victory produced more questions.

Davis, 25, was moving up to 135 pounds to face the 38-year-old Gamboa, an Olympic gold medalist and former unified featherweight champion but viewed as past his prime. Davis was expected to finish Gamboa early, but Gamboa had other ideas.


Gervonta missed weight at the weigh-ins, coming in 1.2 pounds cover the 135 pound limit. He made weight after two extra hours on the second attempt, at 134.8 pounds. But again, conditioning questions were raised.

Yes, “Tank” dominated the bout, scoring three knockdowns in the second, eighth, and twelfth rounds, but also battled fatigue. But Gamboa fought from the second round with a ruptured right achilles tendon until 1:17 of the final frame.

How did Gamboa survive for so long with a killer? Why did Davis let him survive?

“I’m blessed and thankful for sharing the ring with Gamboa and things like that,” Davis said in the post-fight press conference. “I’m happy with my performance. I’m only 25 years old so I’m learning. 2020 will be a big year for me.

“I had him hurt throughout the fight but he showed that he was a tough opponent,” Davis explained. “It was shots that I was hurting him with that he was wobbling, but somehow he was still moving his head, that’s how I knew I wasn’t in the ring with a regular guy. I was in there with someone with top experience.”

There are no moral victories in boxing, but the gritty performance of Gamboa earned respect from fans and colleagues alike.

“I’m a warrior and I kept going, but as soon as I felt it I knew it was ruptured,” Gamboa said via interpreter in post fight interview. “I couldn’t put pressure on it. I wanted to keep going. I told my corner it was a problem, but I wanted to keep going because I’m a warrior.”

The fight wasn’t the only entertaining bout of the evening. Canadian Jean Pascal defended his light heavyweight belt with a close split-decision win over former champion Badou Jack. Many thought Jack won the bout however with his 12th round knockdown of Pascal, but the judges scored it 112-114, 114-112, and 114-112 in favour of Pascal.

Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions stated in the post-fight interviews that Davis’ next fight will be on pay-per-view. Speculation is that it will be against junior lightweight champion Leo Santa Cruz rather than unified lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko.

The critics will continue to hang around Davis until he can answer them definitively in the ring against top prime competition.

No question about that.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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