By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
In boxing, as in many other sports, there’s often a fine line between icon and punchline. Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs), who at 22 was boxing’s youngest champion before being stripped of his IBF junior lightweight title this week for coming in two pounds over the 130 lb. limit, defeated his opponent, Francisco Fonseca (19-1-1, 13 KOs), but did so in a performance so flat and disappointing, the comparisons to Adrien Broner are almost impossible to avoid.
Davis, widely considered the best young fighter currently in the Mayweather Promotions stable, fought mostly with his hands down, attacking from various angles, but unlike the masters of that type of style like Roy Jones and Prince Naseem Hamed, Davis rarely landed cleanly and was countered often by the traditional left jab, right hand attack of Fonseca. Davis tried a Roy Jones impression in round four, mugging with his hands behind his back, but unlike the all-time great, who knocked out contenders when employing those tricks, Davis took a pair of combinations to the face to the cheers of the fans in attendance.
In round eight, Davis finally hurt Fonseca with a left hand, followed later by a body punch, but inadvertently clubbed an off-balance Fonseca behind the head, dropping him to all fours. Fonseca was either unwilling or unable to get up, and referee Russell Mora, who apparently did not see the illegal blow, called off the fight with Fonseca still on his knees at :39 of the eighth round.