Written by Tré Berry III | 06/27/2021
The 16,570 people that filled up the State Farm Arena to full capacity, was treated to a thrilling match at the backend of the fight, after a slow, tactical start. Current WBA Super-Featherweight World Titlist 🇺🇸Gervonta “Tank” Davis (25-0-0, 24KO) had to overcome a big points deficit early due to a defiant, skilled showing from then-unbeaten #7 ranked Ring-Magazine Junior-Welterweight challenger 🇺🇸Mario Barrios (26-1-0, 17KO). As Davis continued to turn the heat up, Barrios had an answer, until Davis exploits went past Barrios limits. Never being put down to the mat in his professional career, Tank put him on the canvas 3 times, before securing the TKO victory in the 11th to further expand his star power.
NOTABLE MOMENTS FROM BOTH OF THEIR RING ENTRANCES OF BARRIOS AND DAVIS
Mario Barrios ring entrance was epic, with the Aztec themed wardrobe, the warriors walking out to the rhythmic heartbeat of the drum, and had hopes of beating Tank like a drum, as he came into this contest with full confidence in his abilities, and for good reason. As he raised his hands before he got in the ring, the crowd wasn’t too receptive, and was evident that it was at least a 70/30 pro-Davis crowd.
Gervonta came out with rapper Lil Baby rapping next to him, with stablemate, and friend 🇺🇸Adrien Broner among the entourage. The Baltimore kid felt like he was at home…in Atlanta, which is perhaps telling of his star power at this point in this career as a PPV headliner star. When he stepped inside of the ring, the lights got brighter…and it was now time to perform up to expected standard.
THE FULL MAIN-EVENT BREAKDOWN
Barrios, who is a natural active jabber, used it often in the opening moments, and was forcing Tank to move backwards, which his major weakness is in fighting while backing up…however here it was more of him circling out to take a long look at the rangy Barrios, what he’s able to do as a positive, surveying his weaknesses, and getting used to the range and distances, before fully committing to a method of attack.
Barrios stayed defensively sound keeping his backhand attached to his chin to pick up the megalithic power that Tank possesses in his left hand. El Azteca’s patience, and probes with the jabs were clearly bothering Tank in round 2, as he was continuing to download information. Barrios landed a sharp left hook to the body, and later in the round, he scraped Davis with a good 1-2 combination on the chin.
Davis began to hold his ground more in the 3rd round, and darted in periodically, winging the roundhouse left hand. Barrios however did make him pay for it a couple of times as Davis stayed in range too long, and got a nice combination off on him when Davis back was by the turnbuckle. By this point, the real fight started to break out.
Tank in round 4 was having heavy issues when Barrios decided to paw with the lead hand, and either stuck a real jab behind it, or hid the right hand behind it, that he fired down the pike, and landed routinely on Tank’s jaw. Round 5 Barrios started to get a little braver, further standing his ground, and letting his hands go, and it was at that moment that Tank decided to finally turn the heat up, landing some nasty looping right hands to the body, and ripping uppercuts to the chin with menacing intentions. The left hand over the top opened a cut over Barrios right eye.
Not only did the momentum of the fight shift from this point, but the tactics of both boxers did as well, as Tank began to bull his way forward, bothering Barrios enough to move him off his pivot, going backwards, while Davis started to activate the straight left hand, and wing away with a heavy body attack in spurts. Round 7 Davis continued the work that he started, looking to wear down the much bigger opponent. It wasn’t like Barrios retreated back in a shell, he was still working, but his productivity was noticeably decreasing.
Davis in round 8 ripped a nasty right hook that landed right on the button, and Barrios dropped straight down to the canvas in an explosive moment. Barrios, hurt managed to get up, but Davis stormed after him, and landed a nuclear left hand 10 seconds later, sending El Azteca spiraling down to the canvas for a second time. Barrios managed to pick himself up off the canvas, and got out of the round, escaping the danger of the moment.
Round 9, Barrios regrouped well and actually managed to hurt Tank with a sharp 2-3 combination, which tamed Davis for the rest of the round. Something to note – it is interesting how invested Tank is in hearing the instruction, and voice of ATG, and Manager/mentor/friend 🇺🇸Floyd Mayweather Jr., as throughout the fight, Tank would literally turn his head all the way around whenever Floyd’s voice was audible in the arena. In the corner after the 9th round, Floyd came over to tell Tank that in many unofficial scorecards that they had Davis behind. Tank visibly didn’t like hearing that, but Floyd, like a big brother drilled home the point that he had to tell him the truth without sugarcoating it, highlighting that Davis may have been in danger of losing the fight on points.
Gervonta Davis responded to the raw, unfiltered honesty of his mentor/Promoter, and Barrios was looking to make a statement as well. Round 10 was one of the best rounds of 2021 up to this point, as both put forth blistering combinations in exchanges for scintillating action. Round 11, the feverish pitch of the action continued to ramp up, as Barrios went into his warrior bag, looking to do anything to maintain his position, while Davis knew that time was running out, and there was a bit of uncertainly circulating in the air.
Tank in the 11th frame threw some of the hardest punches that I’ve ever seen him throw, further reflecting the moment, and listening to his Head-Trainer who instructed him to go after Barrios and close the show. A great fighter is one who can listen to his corner, alter what he does to match it, and flip the switch at will. Gervonta did exactly that, and as he feinted upstairs with a right hand, it stood Barrios up, where Gervonta hammered a filthy shovel hook to the liver that forced Barrios to crumble from the raw power, down to the mat for a third time in this Pay-Per-View contest.
I am surprised that Barrios even got up from that one, but apparently his “El Azteca” nickname is apropos to his determination to always bounce back, and never give up. As that was the case, when the Referee cleared him to get back to action, Davis went predator mode, and forced the stoppage victory 10-15 seconds later, to secure the monumental victory. Davis got up on the turnbuckle to momentarily celebrate with the crowd, then in epic fashion, he did a backflip off of it onto the canvas for what you would consider to be a Photographers dream to capture in the moment when considering their profession. What a moment it was for the Baltimore-bred prizefighter.
YES WE CAN CONTINUE TO ELEVATE DAVIS’S ACHIEVEMENT, WHILE TELLING THE ACCURATE STORY FOR REAL CONTEXT
Considering that Gervonta is the WBA Super-Featherweight Titlist, it is amazing that he was able to carry his power all the way up to 140 lbs., to defeat a previously unbeaten fighter, one who had never been knocked down in his career, yet was able to put him down 3 times before stopping him. For that alone, and considering the level that Barrios proved to be at (a very good fighter), Tank should receive some attention as a fighter that harbors somewhere close to entering the proverbial “Top-15 P4P” picture, but that is all up to you.
Now to further the clarity narrative. PLEASE STOP referring to this accomplishment making him a 3-division champion. Truthfully, Tank is a 1 division titlist, who happens to have secondary WBA titles at Lightweight, and at Junior-Welterweight – the latter he just won off of Barrios. The notion is especially ridiculous when those two divisions with the secondary belts are both those that have actually crowned an Undisputed World Champion, therefore there is no room for Tank to truly be recognized as a titlist, given that both of those Champions hold the highest form of the WBA belt.
Even if you’re in the opinion that there ISN’T an Undisputed at Lightweight (we’ve gone on ad nauseum about this), then keep in mind that it is not the WBA with the dispute within that claim, which tells you all that you need to know.
Various publications, and people in Promotion who push this agenda should be ashamed of themselves, and should be called out for trying to fudge the facts in the fighters favor, when truthfully, Davis doesn’t even need that to boost his validation, as the talent alone will simply do that for him.
Simply stating that he defeated a top-10 Junior-Welterweight is good enough to hear, and it is an accurate scope of what really happened. All I say is that beware, and be mindful of when people bring up him being a 3-division Champion, because such really isn’t the case. With that being cleared up, Gervonta Davis ticks every single check box as a PPV attraction, and is becoming one of the biggest stars in boxing. He has an appeal to him that most other boxers do not have, and he is explosive with both hands, and has the skills to boot.