Gervonta Davis spoke of the realisation of a “dream” in the moments after stopping Ryan Garcia in Las Vegas.
In what could prove his defining fight he performed superbly, negating Garcia’s advantages in height and range, knocking him down in the second round, and clinically stopping him in the seventh.
Both his and Garcia’s teams had spoken during fight week of the winner becoming the “new face of boxing” – there has arguably been a void since Floyd Mayweather retired – and after for perhaps the first time achieving something close to what his former promoter Mayweather often did he said: “The reality definitely matches the dream.
“But the job is never done until I retire so I’m going to keep my head down, stay humble and continue to work.
“Everything about this was exciting. I was excited to be a part of this event. I remember coming up in the Golden Gloves and seeing Floyd fight at the MGM. It was crazy. I actually just saw Rihanna perform at the Super Bowl, and I thought that’s going to be me one day. And we’re here.
“Me predicting the seventh-round KO was me just trying to get in his head. I really don’t know until I actually get in there with my opponent, but once I got in there with him I felt like, skill-wise, it all matched.”
Saturday’s fight, at the T-Mobile Arena – where Mayweather had bowed out as a professional boxer – was agreed at a catchweight of 136lbs. Garcia, 24, had previously moved to 140lbs because of his struggles to make 135lbs, and was also disadvantaged by the rehydration clause that meant he couldn’t weigh more than 146lbs on the morning of the fight.
“The first knockdown was just him not knowing his placement and I knew that I was the smaller guy, and my coach was telling me in camp that he’s going to come up with his head up, so just shoot over the top,” said Davis, 28.
“I didn’t think that body shot would end it, but I saw his facial expression and that’s what made me take it to him. It was a good shot, for sure. I thought he was going to get up but I like to play mind games, so when he was looking at me, I was looking at him trying to tell him, ‘Get up!’. And he just shook his head, no.
“I’m definitely the face of boxing. Absolutely.”