The eighth round of the lightweight fight between Gervonta Davis and Hector Luis Garcia was an eventful one.
Referee Earl Brown stopped the action with 2:08 remaining because rapper Meek Mill got into a ringside scuffle with the Russell family of boxers.
Fights among fans in the stands are common, but with Davis and Garcia briefly turning their heads toward the fracas, Brown decided to stop the action with the tussle being just a few feet away.
After an extremely lengthy stoppage, action resumed, but it would ultimately be the final round of the fight for Garcia, who after absorbing a fight-high 29 punches from Davis in the round, he retired in his corner before the ninth round started.
Garcia – who is still a WBA titleholder at 130 pounds – opened up in detail about the incident and the effect it had on his performance.
“If I won that fight against Gervonta Davis, it would have elevated me. What hurt the most is I got stuck at the moment. I had rhythm in the fight until the referee stopped the fight. I felt I had gained composure, but after that everything was loose,” Garcia said in an interview with Marcos Villegas on Fight Hub TV.
“It wasn’t right, but it was what the ref calls. You have to respect, but it wasn’t right. Once I got to the hotel, I recognized that I should have continued. I kept questioning myself, ‘Why did I stop?’ I should have just kept on going.
“Some say it was planned. I heard that it was planned by Team Davis at the moment.”
Although Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs) was down on the scorecards 73-79, 73-79, and 74-78 and was outlanded 73 to 50 in the fight, he still feels that should have won the fight.
“I felt like I was winning the fight round by round,” he said. “I was winning, and I was prepared. I felt like I was getting more explosive as the rounds kept on going.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.