He was more Gervonta Davis than “TANK” in the first half of the Sunday morning fight card main event at Barclays Center in the now ritzy segment of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Then, after five plus rounds, TANK arrived, in the form of a counter left on once-cocky now-kayoed Roland ‘Rolly' Romero.
Rolly gave Gervonta Davis fans in the house among the the 18,970 or so attendees, a boxing building record, reason to worry. But Tank was getting data, being wise and making sure the time was right to start to amp it up, so as to leave those watching on the Showtime/Haymon Boxing/PBC PPV with a fine finish.
The lead up to the fight—Davis (26-0 with 24 KOs entering; 11th world title appearance; from Baltimore, Maryland) is, word is, now matured, having seen the light. The 27 year old athlete isn’t interested in stepping in shit, he's been saying. He has two kids and wants to be smarter and a role mode for them. But, it was promised, he still has a severe asskicker mentality, which would show itself with his handling of “the colorful but dangerous” Rolando Rolly Romero. Romero had this fight pulled out from under him, amid sexual misconduct allegations. He denied them and reset himself to this opportunity against risen star Gervonta Davis. With 15 pro fights under his belt, he talked his way into a window of opportunity. Which closed on his head..
In the first, the 26-year-old Romero (now 14-1) looked not at all out of his depth. His face looked stern and strong and focused, and his stance was also confident. Tank surprised with his patience, if you were expecting him to try and separate Rolly from his senses from the get go.
In the second, Gervonta landed a left but Rolly maybe won some mental fighting when he threw Tank to the mat. The ref warned Romero, and you could find yourself thinking What If, maybe an undercard special would transpire.
In the third, that Romero jab just plain worked well. His feints had Tank flinching more than we’re used to. The height edge for Rolly was working…but Tank was taking in data.
Blow by blow man Barry Tompkins, an ATG in the realm of sustained excellence, and same goes for partner for the night Al Bernstein, marveled at Rolly’s work but also at Davis’ potential to score a quick unleash finisher. The two smooth and sharp pros liked the work of Rolly through three, though, clearly.
In the fourth, Gervonta Davis was not busy, and they were both lucky this wasn’t a Madison Square Garden card in the 80s, they'd have been informed that they'd need to step it up. Tank did get hustling more in the last minute, when he started ripping twos after quick ones. But you would like to see an offensive force like that be more offensive, rather than wait, I found myself thinking. (And yes, the acclaim and buzzing isn't 24-7 from all corners. Check out this Sunday special from David Phillips, who is justifiably irked with the slow steering of Tank's career.)
Here is an excerpt:
Of all the marquee names in boxing, Davis is the most protected of the bunch. To think that people accuse true champions like Spence and Canelo of ducking top-flight competition when Davis is out there walking and talking like a mallard. Even last night, against the now former interim WBA lightweight belt holder, Davis was once again in the ring with a pretender. Like Davis, Rolando “Rolly” Romero entered the ring with a spotless 14-0 record with 12 KOs to boot. But if you think Davis' resume isn't LinkedIn ready, Romero's is practically on the fast-food level.
In the fifth, Tank opened up just a bit more, he doles it out more carefully than how he’s marketed, is all.
But Rolly didn’t gas out, and he was running after Gervonta Davis with 1:25 remaining. Yeah, this wasn’t going to be an early rout, because it was the sixth, and Tank was less that vehicle and more of agile all terrain unit.
Tank was very, very patient, hard to take for some of us in this hyper cut age of media consumption… and then bang.
Romero, now -2 on the cocky-meter was up at eight, but the ref looked in his eyes and shook his head. The ending came at 2:39 of the sixth, via TKO on the ruling of David Fields.
For the record, Rolly gets docked a full point for bolting to his dressing room rather than take post loss queries from Jim Gray. And another point for lobbying for rematch at the post-fight presser:
And from me, Gervonta Davis gets a point taken from him for this ludicrously low output. Yes, 40 punches thrown through three rounds is ludicrous. C'mon, now, there's being patient and collecting data and then there's going overboard with it: