The unbeaten super featherweight champ ends a 10-month layoff by steamrolling Ruiz to retain his 130-pound title in main event of PBC on Showtime.
Carson, CA – Gervonta Davis entered the ring at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” But the thrill was gone in less than a round as Davis pounded late replacement Hugo Ruiz into submission before referee Jack Reiss waved off the fight one second shy of the bell to end the first round.
With that, Davis defended his WBA super featherweight title, racked up his 12th consecutive knockout victory and improved to 21-0, with 20 of those wins coming inside the distance. Davis also has eight first-round knockouts.
Mexico's Ruiz, himself a two-time world titlist, was a late replacement for former three-division champion Abner Mares. Mares suffered a detached retina during training and was forced to pull out 10 days before the fight.
There would be no late-substitute surprise here. Ruiz, 39-5 (33 KOs), was simply overwhelmed by "Tank's" artillery. Toward the end of the stanza, Davis calmly maneuvered him to the ropes, and then uncorked a straight left followed by a crunching right hook that convinced Ruiz it was best to take a knee. He rose with his face covered in blood from his badly bleeding nose, which may have been broken by another hard shot earlier in the round. Reiss asked him if he wanted to continue.
“Ruiz didn’t answer me,” Reiss said afterward. “I tell them clearly in the dressing room that you have to show me you want to be in this fight. When I asked him in Spanish, do you wish to continue, he kind of looked down and wouldn’t answer. He was really hurting. That nose was broken earlier and then got hit on again.”
Davis said his main goal was “to put on a great performance. I was scheduled to fight Abner Mares but he had an injury. My main goal tonight was to make a great performance, which I did.”
He said he knew he had Ruiz in trouble before he unleashed the finishing right hook.
“When I touched the jab, I saw that his arm was in front of his face, and the hook or uppercut was right there to land.”
Davis, who had only fought once in 2018, said he was ready to be more active this year as his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, President of Mayweather Promotions, proudly looked on.
“I’m very confident I will be more active,” Davis said. “I have three, probably four fights lined up this year, I’m happy with my team and we’ll go on to the next. I believe I have the best team in the sport and I believe in my team and whatever decision they come up with, let’s do it.”
Barrios KOs Zamora in Four
Unbeaten Mario Barrios showed why he is a world champion in the making, stopping Richard Zamora with a powerful flurry in the fourth round to hand the Mexican a loss in his first fight on American soil.
The fight was stopped at 2:16 of the fourth round, as Barrios improved to 23-0, with 15 KOs. Zamora fell to 19-3 (12 KOs).
The 23-year-old super lightweight from San Antonio landed a stunning 59% of his power punches (77 of 130) and 106 of 282 overall, according to ShoStats. His height and reach advantages overwhelmed Zamora, who had held his own through the first three rounds. Still, he was able to connect on only 14 of 64 power punches.
“Zamora is a hell of a warrior,” Barrios said. “I have a lot of respect for him and wish him nothing but the best for the rest of his career.”
Barrios, who is trained by highly respected Virgil Hunter, said, "We used everything we worked on in camp and it worked to perfection in the fight using my range. Like he said at the press conference, he wanted a war, I brought it to him.”
Barrios said he’s “knocking on the door for a world title right now,” but added, “At the end of the day that’s up to my managerial team. Whenever they say I’m ready, I’m going to be ready to fight for the world titles.”
Barrios, rated the WBA’s No. 1 challenger to champion Kyril Relikh, was asked which of the 140-pound champions he waited to face. “Any one of them,” he said with a smile.
Fortuna captures unanimous decision against Bogere
Former super featherweight champion Javier Fortuna took advantage of a gash over the right eye of Sharif Bogere, then knocked the Ugandan down in the sixth round en route to a unanimous decision win in a 10-round lightweight bout.
All three judges, Max DeLuca, Fernando Villareal and Zachary Young, scored it 96-93 for Fortuna.
Fortuna seemed to be energized by the cut, which came through an accidental head butt. By the end of the fight, Fortuna’s white trunks were soaked red from the blood coming from that gash over Bogere’s eye.
The knockdown in the sixth was somewhat controversial because it appeared that the fighters tripped over each other’s feet, but Fortuna, from the Dominican Republic, said it was the correct call. “Yes, I saw that his eyes were a little glassy and you saw where his legs fumbled a little bit."
He added that, "when I saw he was cut, the gameplan changed again to take advantage of the cut.”
With the victory, Fortuna improved to 34-2-1 (23 KOs), while Bogere lost for just the second time. He is now 32-2 with 20 KOs.
Asked who he wanted to fight next, Fortuna said, “What I want right now is a contract to fight Gervonta Davis forever.”
Lubin KOs Ishe Smith, handing veteran his first stoppage loss
After consulting with the ringside doctor and Smith trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, referee Jack Reiss stopped it at the end of the third round of a scheduled 10-round super welterweight battle. Smith was knocked down four times in all, suffering his third consecutive loss to fall to 29-11 (12 KOs). Lubin improved to 20-1 (15 KOs).
Lubin, 23, fought as if he had something to prove. In this, his second bout since suffering a first-round KO loss to Jermell Charlo in October 2017, Lubin turned in the finest performance of his career. The southpaw from Orlando, Florida, turned up the heat in the second, dropping Smith with a left hook. Lubin continued to punish him, flooring him again with a left uppercut and then a third time with another left.
Smith barely escaped the round but wouldn’t last much longer. Another left in the third dropped him a fourth time. He fought the rest of the frame on unsteady legs, prompting Reiss’ decision at fight’s end.
With the impressive victory, Lubin is likely to soon get another shot at a title belt. Smith, on the other hand, announced his retirement shortly after the bout, ending a storied career that spanned nearly 19 years.
Juan Heraldez remains unbeaten with stoppage of Eddie Ramirez
Heraldez remained undefeated at 16-0 (10 KOs) while Ramirez fell to 17-3 (11 KOs). All three of his losses have come in his last three fights.
Heraldez put Ramirez on the canvas twice early in the fifth round of a close fight, but Ramirez fought back to finish the stanza strong and looked to be back in the fight.
Two rounds later, Heraldez dropped Ramirez again, and referee Ray Corona stopped it at 2:30 of the round.
For a closer look at Davis vs Ruiz, check out at our fight page.