ATLANTA – Gervonta Davis took a more measured approach to beating Mario Barrios because he respected the fact that he fought a bigger, strong opponent in his 140-pound debut.
The undefeated Davis opened up more during the later rounds of their entertaining title bout, but only after his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, informed him that he was down on the unofficial scorecard of Showtime’s Steve Farhood. Baltimore’s Davis dropped the courageous, durable Barrios twice in the eighth round and once in the 11th round before referee Thomas Taylor stopped their scheduled 12-round main event at State Farm Arena.
“I definitely was nervous the whole night because I didn’t know if I catch him, would I hurt him?,” Davis said during a post-fight press conference. “Or if he catch me, would he hurt me? You know, he had on eight ounces [gloves] and I was going up two weight classes, so my mind was, you know, my coach and them was, even Floyd was telling me to press him. But I’m like, ‘I don’t know. Like, I don’t wanna get caught.’ You know, so I laid back the whole fight. But then I think it was like the eighth or ninth, Floyd came to me and was like, ‘You down. You know, you down on the scorecards.’ Unofficial, yes, you said that. Yes, he said I was down on the unofficial scorecards. ‘So, pick it up and show me you great.’ ”
Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) told BoxingScene.com following his first defeat that he didn’t think he hurt Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) at any point in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. The former WBA world super lightweight champion landed some clean punches on the shorter, stronger Davis, enough to be even on two of the scorecards through six rounds (57-57, 57-57, 56-58).
Davis had a comfortable lead on all three scorecards entering the 11th round (97-91, 96-92, 96-92), but he was wary of Barrios’ power right up until he finished off the resilient San Antonio native. The three-division champion explained afterward why he remained cautious versus an opponent who owned a five-inch height advantage and out-weighed him in the ring.
“It was basically me just trying to figure him out and see what he do good,” Davis said. “You know, that’s what I was doing. I was basically trying to figure him out. You know, I didn’t wanna overdo it and wind up getting caught because I didn’t know what he was bringing to the table. So basically, I didn’t get him out of there because of myself early. You know, so that’s basically what it was. If I knew he was soft, I would’ve been got him out of there.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.