Gervonta Davis knocks out Hugu Ruiz in one
By Max Warren at ringside
Heading into the fight, the two advantages that the smaller late replacement Hugo Ruiz (39-5, 33 KOs) had were that he was more active recently than Gervonta “Tank” Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) and he had more experience fighting outdoors. These perceived advantages ended up playing no role in the fight, as the strength of Davis was too difficult to cope with.
As soon as the bell rang, Davis asserted his dominance by coming out of the gate strong and pumping an imposing jab. He threw a total of 38 jabs throughout the fight, while the former WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Hugo Ruiz only threw 19 total punches. Ruiz was on the defensive from the opening bell, and he noticed immediately that Davis was a strong puncher. After the fight, Ruiz mentioned “He felt very heavy to me, very heavy-hande. As soon as he started landing punches, I could feel them.”
Until the final moments of round 1, it seemed that Ruiz was able to handle Davis’ power and his resiliency would be enough to withstand the plethora of power punches. Davis trapped Ruiz in the corner twice, and the Mexican veteran even waved “Tank” on to continue his devastating attack. It appeared to be a sign that Ruiz was not affected by the KO artist.
On the third and final time, Davis trapped Ruiz in the corner. Ruiz’s warrior spirit was unable to withstand the constant pressure. Davis landed a crushing right hook around Ruiz’s high guard and the Mexican veteran took a knee after pausing for a few seconds. He got up after the count of 8, but respected-referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight at 2:59 of round 1.
Many fans booed and were disappointed with the stoppage at first, but Ruiz was still wobbly and did not answer Reiss when asked if he wanted to continue. Also, he did not display the kind of body language to indicate that he wanted to stay in the fight. Reiss said, “Ruiz didn’t answer me. I told him clearly in the dressing room what he needed to do. When I asked him in Spanish if he wanted to continue he didn’t answer. If he just (nodded his head) we would have kept going.”
It had been nine months since Davis last stepped into the ring, and he along with his team want to be more active moving forward. “Tank” ballooned up in weight in between his last two fights, and putting him on a busier schedule with three or four fights this year would certainly allow him to stay within weight more easily and stay sharp year-round. After the bout, Davis said “I’m very confident that I will be more active this year. I have three, probably four fights lined up this year. I’m happy with my team and ready for the next.”
Davis has only fought four total rounds since last year, and it is necessary to keep him active so his skills don’t erode. He is the youngest active U.S.-born champion at 24, and he has a bright future ahead of him. He boasts 20 knockouts in 21 pro fights, and he is a quality boxer as well as an extremely devastating puncher. Despite Davis fighting a late replacement in Hugo Ruiz, the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California still had a sellout crowd of 8,048 fans.
Post-fight, Jim Gray tried to get Davis to call any particular fighter out, but “Tank” didn’t oblige. His focus as well as his team’s is to fight several times this year and stay out of trouble. The more he fights and continues to knock opponents out, the fresher he will be in fans’ memories. He is 4-0 with 4 KOs in world title fights, and is a formidable force at 130. Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, has high expectations for Gervonta Davis. After the fight, he said “Mark my words on this. This guy is going to be the biggest star in the entire sport and it won’t even be close. It won’t even be close.” Davis is expected to have a homecoming bout in Baltimore in July, and he could even get back to action as early as May. Ruiz only landed three punches, and Davis is absolutely fresh and ready to fight very shortly. For his sake and the fans’ as well, it should prove to be a very exciting year if Davis fights on a frequent basis.