Making his lightweight debut, Davis, a two-time champion at super featherweight, went into the 12th round for the first time in career, showing that he carries power late.
On Friday, Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) initially weighed in at 136¼ before coming back to weigh 134.8 pounds 90 minutes later. There was some speculation that the weight cut would zap Davis’s energy reservoir. He had a lull in the middle rounds, though still managed to land 120 of 321 total punches (37%) to Gamboa’s 78/617 (13%).
“Coming into this fight, I knew Gamboa was a tough opponent, even though everybody was writing him off,” Davis said. “I was catching him and I was hurting him, even though he was alert. I believe my performance was a C-plus.
“The (weight cut) wasn’t really a problem. I blame myself. I’m improving. I feel comfortable at both weights (130 and 135). I’m the top dog.”
Davis was sharp early on. With 1:45 left in the second, he dropped Gamboa with a short left cross. Gamboa rose but limped for the rest of the frame. Afterward, it was revealed that he had tore an achilles and would require surgery.
In lasting until the twelfth, Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) not only showed bravery, but also had his moments during the fight.
“I’m a warrior, I kept going,” the former unified world featherweight champion said afterward. “But as soon as I felt it, I knew it was ruptured. I can’t put pressure on it.”
Gamboa’s corner taped up his right ankle between the fourth and fifth rounds.
It didn’t matter.
In the fifth, Davis exerted more punishment on Gamboa, landing a left hook off of Gamboa’s chin, then a left uppercut. The fight nearly ended in the eighth, when, late in the stanza, Davis floored Gamboa again with another left. The Cuban stumbled to his feet and was saved by a bell that rang moments later.
Gamboa showed great character in hanging in against Davis. But the tone of the fight had grown monotonous. Davis was winning almost every second of every round.
Finally, in the twelfth, Davis connected with a beautiful left uppercut square on Gamboa’s chin. He crashed to the canvas a third time. Referee Jack Reiss had seen enough, immediately waving the fight off. Official time was 1:17.
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