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Gervonta Davis thrills huge hometown crowd

Gervonta Davis
Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Gervonta Davis crushes Ricardo Nunez, writes Sean Nam

ON a day when the President of the United States flung scabrous shots at the city of Baltimore, Maryland, calling it, via Twitter, the “worst in the USA” and “a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” one of its homegrown talents gave the locals something to cheer.

Inside a roiling Royal Farms Arena, Gervonta Davis, the native son of West Baltimore, made a successful second defence of his WBA super-featherweight title (set for 12), bludgeoning virtual unknown Ricardo Nunez of Panama with thunderous left hands until referee Harvey Dock intervened at 1-33 of the second round.

More than six years since Davis had fought in his hometown of Baltimore, and his first appearance since winning a title, the reception he received was welcoming. In a sign of Davis’ potential as a bona fide draw, a reported 14,686 showed up to support the hard-hitting southpaw.

At the opening bell, Nunez came out of his corner brimming with confidence and landed a few jabs. Davis, in turn, responded with head-snapping jabs and by consistently working Nunez’s slender body with the straight left.

As the second round began, Davis must have concluded that Nunez, despite his career 19 knockout victories (out of 24 fights), posed no discernible threat, for he began walking down Nunez, slipping and parrying his way inside in a manner reminiscent of a sparring session.

Davis’ swagger was well-founded. During a clinch, Nunez appeared half-asleep when Davis drilled him with a hard short left that turned the Panamanian’s legs into instant Jell-O. Davis pounced on his maimed foe like a Rottweiler, sending him into the ropes where he threw heat-seeking combinations before connecting on a booming overhand left that snapped back Nunez’s head and caused his body to slink into the ropes. Seeing that Nunez was rendered defenceless, referee Dock jumped in to stop the bout.

Though he has been criticised (rightly) for being fed soft touches for the past few years, Davis clearly indicated that he wanted to face the current holder of the IBF super-featherweight belt. “Tevin Farmer fought tonight,” said Davis, referring to the slick Philadelphian southpaw. “I want Tevin. That’s a fight that can be made. Let’s get it on later this year.”

Gervonta Davis
Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Don’t call it a comeback. On the TGB Promotions/Mayweather Promotions undercard, erratic Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa, a former three-division titlist, deposited a shopworn Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico to the mat twice en route to a stoppage victory in the second round of their lightweight bout (set for 10), which was contested at 134 pounds.

The first knockdown came courtesy of a wide left hook that Martinez never saw coming. Moments later, Gamboa threw a five-punch combination, missing initially with the left hook and overhand right, but landing the left to the body and head, before topping it off with a right that threw the Puerto Rican Martinez on his backside.

Referee Bill Clancy waved off the bout at 2-00 of the second as Martinez was unable to beat the count.

While Gamboa looked formidable in notching his first knockout win in nearly five years, it should be noted that the 36-year-old Martinez was making his second appearance in the ring since returning in March after a three-year layoff. Afterward, Gamboa, 37, stated his desire to fight Davis.

The ring woes continue to pile up for former WBA super-featherweight titleholder Jezzrel Corrales after a tactical (read: ugly) lightweight 10-rounder against Ladarius Miller ended in a points controversy.

With less than a minute remaining in the last, Corrales got tangled up with Miller and crashed to the canvas, prompting referee Brent Brovell to curiously deduct a point from Corrales. That made all the difference in what turned out to be a split decision win for the Las Vegas-based Miller.

Judge Dave Moretti scored it 95-94 for Miller; without the point deduction, he would have had it a draw, rendering the bout itself a split draw. Larry Hazzard Jr. scored it 96-93, also for Miller, while Lynne Carter scored it 93-96 in favor of Corrales.

The Verdict Davis needs to step up his opposition – and Tevin Farmer would be ideal.

FULL RESULTS
Gervonta Davis (129 1/2lbs), 22-0 (21), w rsf 2 Ricardo Nunez (128 3/4lbs), 21-3 (19); Yuriorkis Gamboa (132 1/2lbs), 30-2 (18), w ko 2 Roman Martinez (133 1/2lbs), 30-4-3; Ladarius Miller (135 1/2lbs), 20-1 (6), w pts 10 Jezzrel Corrales (134 1/4lbs), 23-3 (9); Malik Warren (129 1/2lbs), 1-0 (1), w rsf 2 Davonte McCowen (130lbs), 0-1-1; Malik Hawkins (140 1/4lbs), 16-0 (9), w pts 8 Jonathan Steele (139 3/4lbs), 9-5-1 (6); Dylan Price (115 1/2lbs), 9-0 (6), w pts 8 Samuel Gutierrez (116 1/2lbs), 12-24-6 (6);Kareem Martin (139 3/4lbs), 13-2-1 (4), w rsf 3 Luis Avila (139 1/4lbs), 8-19-3 (5); Jayson Velez (130 1/4lbs), 29-5-1 (21), w rsf 7 Hector Suarez (130 3/4lbs), 12-11-2 (6); Kenny Robles (138 3/4lbs), 7-1 (3), w pts 6 Shawn West (139 3/4lbs), 3-1 (2); DeMichael Harris (130 1/2lbs), 1-0 (1), w rsf 1Terrance Harris (134lbs), 0-2; Javon Campbell (120 3/4lbs), 1-0, w pts 4Isau Duenez (122 1/4lbs), 1-9-1.

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