by Brian Mahoney
NEW YORK – Gervonta Davies seemed all but annoyed by Rolando Romero’s point that his weight pushed him off the stage lightly.
He hit Romero hard on Saturday.
Davis regained his knockout power and retained his lightweight title on Saturday night, stopping Romero in the sixth round.
Davis landed near a crushed left hand corner and Romero fell forward into the ropes. He struggled and got up but completely stumbled and referee David Fields ended the fight.
“The crazy thing is that I didn’t even throw it hard enough. He just ran into it,” Davis said.
Davis (27–0, 25 KO) only had to go the distance in his last win for the second time in his career, and Romero said the three-division champion was weak.
If there was Davis, it was not for long. He appeared to hurt his left hand on a punch in the fifth round, but there was nothing wrong with that in the next.
Shortly after exiting the ring, several fans attempting to leave Barclays Center ran back to the arena floor, some jumping into the ring in panic at an unknown commotion near the exit. Security kept some fans in one area until it was addressed.
Romero lost the first 15 pro fights, but didn’t speak up after going through all that in the weeks before the fight. In fact, he wants another.
“I won all six rounds,” Romero said. “I won every moment of that fight, I exposed it and we need to drive that (fight) back.”
It was an electrifying end to the comeback of big-time boxing in Brooklyn, where Davis won his first title in 2017. He made an arena-record 18,970 for this fight, the first major card at Barclays Center before the pandemic began. Many years ago Madonna and many sports stars were involved.
Davis and Romero were due to fight in December, but the challenger was dropped from the card while the sexual assault claim against him was investigated. After knocking out every opponent since 2015, Davis defeated replacement Isaac Cruz by unanimous decision.
The fight was rescheduled after no charges were filed against Romero and there was a lot of trash talking challenger in the buildup. Davis laughed at most things until Friday learned a bit about how to push Romero and handle his opponent.
“I knew I could get into his head from the time we were weighing in,” Davis said.
Romero repeatedly claimed that he would knock Davis out in round one, but the only meaningful punch in the first three minutes was landed during the fight in the stands. He scored well with a few shots in the second, but then lost his chance to follow up when he pushed Davis to the canvas as he clutched.
The fight was even through round four and Davis appeared on the way to his most impressive round in fifth when the Baltimore native suddenly smiled after injuring his arm. Whatever the problem was, it didn’t last very long.
“I didn’t throw it so hard and he’s the one who ran into it when he was talking about it was going to be me,” Davis said.
With both fighters promoted by the Mayweather promotion, Romero claimed that they should have separated on several occasions, but Davis backed down. He finally got his chance less than 10 years after starting his boxing career, switching from judo at the age of 17.
He was a contender for the No. 1 rank but clearly still far from Davis’ level.
“Tank Davis is on another level,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “He showed you why he’s one of the best fighters in the world.”
After Davis walked into the ring hearing a lot of booze from the pro crowd, Romero bounced off the ropes and turned around on the defensive. Davis then entered and danced in Romero’s corner and stared at him, as if ready to fight right away.
Once it started, he needed a few rounds to warm up before finding out and then eliminating Romero.
In a co-feature, longtime 154-pound champion, Erislandi Lara, who has risen to 160 and won a title, stopped Gary O’Sullivan by 23 seconds in the eighth round. Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) landed a hard left and appeared ready to eliminate O’Sullivan in the final seconds of seventh before the bell rang. O’Sullivan was allowed to start in eighth place, but Cuba sent him back to another hard left and referee Benji Esteves ended the fight.