Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis made Ryan Garcia bend the knee with a vicious liver shot in the seventh round of their non-title catchweight fight this past weekend. The result settled one of boxing’s fiercest rivalries in a decisive manner. ‘Tank’ remains undefeated with yet another crushing knockout.
In this technical breakdown we will analyze all the tools that Davis used to crush his opponent and prove to the world of boxing that he is a rare combination of a fighter that has raw power, ring generalship, Fight IQ, and great technique.
That being said, let’s start analyzing.
Part one: Southpaw vs Orthodox fighting 101
Before we begin our analysis we need to make sure that fans know some essential details on boxing opponents in an opposite stance. In order to do so please watch the following video:
As shown in the instructional video above, fighting opponents in an opposite stance is all about controlling front foot positioning, moving towards the opponent’s blind side and checking their front hand.
Let’s get specific now by providing some examples from of this weekend’s fight:
In the photo above, Gervonta Davis‘ body and head are aligned with Ryan Garcia’s centerline. Garcia’s body positioning on the other hand is off. Davis can launch attacks effectively without getting out of balance whereas Garcia has to twist his body at an awkward angle in order to reach his opponent with the back hand.
This was exactly the problem with Garcia’s defense in this fight: he was unable to control foot positioning and kept retreating in a straight line. This enabled Davis to push forward by placing his front foot on the left of Garcia’s front leg as can be seen below.
When fighters allow opponents to get to their ‘blind side’ it’s very difficult for them to defend incoming attacks in an effective manner.
To make matters even worse, Ryan Garcia was unable to control foot positioning against his southpaw opponent while creating his own offense. Garcia kept rushing forward with his front foot out of place.
A clear example of this problem can be seen during the first knockdown that dropped Garcia.
Ryan Garcia places his foot in front of Gervonta Davis’ right foot, thus compromising his own attack. Tank doesn’t even have to move his own foot to the side, he just rolls under. It’s Garcia who put himself way out of position with sloppy footwork.
Let’s analyze the whole sequence:
The photos above show the difference in stances between the two opponents. Gervonta Davis does what he needs to do, being the shorter opponent: he keeps establishing distance and correctly positioning by extending his front hand and touching Ryan Garcia’s guard (photo #2). Then Garcia steps in with his left foot in front of Davis’ front foot and throws a left hook. Davis rolls under the hook and delivers an amazing left that drops Garcia. Here is another angle of this beautiful punch.
Part 2: Gervonta Davis’ defensive tactics
Example #1: A little bit of wrestling
Early in the fight, Ryan Garcia was a bit overconfident about his size and power and tried to overwhelm Gervonta Davis.
In the example pictured above, Ryan Garcia has Tank on the ropes and unleashes a series of attacks. Gervonta Davis is able to duck under, push his opponent, and get waist control with both hands. This enables Davis to stay out of trouble. I must admit that Tank had me worried a couple of times with Garcia’s pressuring, but this tactic worked and Garcia started keeping his distance as the bout wore on.
Technique #2: Left hand, escape to the right, back waist control
In the sequence above, Tank is dominating Garcia’s centerline using the aforementioned proper foot positioning and lands a lead left hand (photo #3). In order to avoid getting countered, Davis drops levels and moves towards the back AKA the “blind side”. In photo #6 Gervonta extends his right hand and grabs the right side of Garcia’s back. This is used as a “safe-exit-finder” and enables Tank to stay on the safe side. This “trick” was also used by Conor McGregor in his boxing fight against Floyd Mayweather.
Part 3: “Feint, feint, go high, go low”
Calvin Ford, Davis’ trainer gave him specific instructions between rounds: “Feint, feint, go high, go low”. Davis was able to successfully do so throughout the fight.
Investing in body punches
There is a saying in boxing when it comes to body punches: “You have to make the investment early and collect the profits in the later rounds.” Davis did just that and was able to collect for the knockout blow that ended it all. Tank kept landing on Garcia’s body with jabs and left hands and Garcia started hurting. The signs became pretty obvious when Garcia started crouching and turning his back to avoid punches.
Davis used the following combos in order to get the job done: Touch guard, change levels, jab to the body
We have to notice in the example above, that Tank makes the same mistake analyzed earlier in positioning his front foot. Davis places his right foot on the inside. Fortunately for him, Garcia just retreats—thus losing the chance of countering with a right uppercut and/or a left hook.
Feint/touch guard, drop level, left hand to the body
The southpaw left hand to the body is a harder punch to land than the jab to the body, especially when landing on the solar plexus. It has to be used with caution though, as it can leave boxers open to counters.
Putting them all together
In the clip below, by the end of round five Garcia started showing signs of damage to the body:
In photo #3, Davis feints a left hand and Garcia pulls back. This enables Tank to go for a right hook to the body. Davis touches his opponents guard and Garcia throws a left hook. Davis rolls under (photo #7). Notice Davis’ foot positioning as he stays on the outside. Garcia turns his back and gets hit with a left hook and a right hook to the body.
Part four: The body punch heard around the world
This great boxing sequence shows a common case where two fighters land at the same time and one gets dropped. Landing is not the same as winning in boxing.
In the photos above Garcia throws a left hook and Davis ducks under. I use the terms “duck under” or “change level” instead of “roll under” because Tank doesn’t come back up right away. He stays down and disrupts his opponent’s rhythm.
As Tank comes back up both fighters launch back hand attacks from their opposite stances. Garcia throws a right hook and Davis a left liver punch. Davis lands a bit earlier, but both found the mark with their intended strikes.
Liver punches take a bit to register. This was the case here, with Garcia retreating, only to have to bend the knee in agony.
Here is a YouTube short clip featuring the final punch:
Davis did a great job and showed high ring IQ. He is probably one of the best counterpunchers of the game and has great power. He has a great future in front of him.
As for Garcia, its time to go back to the drawing board and learn from his mistakes in this fight. See you next time with another breakdown.
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