Gervonta Davis wants to stay at 130, Andrew Tabiti ‘not championship level’ – says Steve Cunningham
In the co-main event of Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Conor McGregor, undefeated rising star Gervonta “Tank” Davis defeated unbeaten challenger Francisco Fonseca via a controversial eighth-round knockout 39 seconds into the round.
The 22-year-old Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) landed a series of clean blows before an apparent shot to the back of the head sent Fonseca down. Referee Russell Mora gave the 10-count allowing Davis to earn his 18th stoppage win in 19 professional fights. The fight was originally scheduled to be Davis’ second defense of his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship, but Davis failed to make weight on Friday, coming two pounds over the 130-pound limit that Fonseca (19-1-1, 13 KOs) weighed-in at.
“I threw the shot as he put his head down,” said Davis. “I was definitely going to stop him eventually. He was in trouble before the last shot.”
Davis continued, “I’m going to stay at 130 pounds and try to get my title back. I still want to unify the junior lightweight division.”
Fonseca said he was sent to the canvas with an illegal blow.
“Everybody saw that when I was going down, he hit me twice behind,” Fonseca said. “It’s a blow that’s not legal. It was here in Las Vegas, so he had the crowd going for him, and I just want a rematch. He never hurt me with that exchange. Even though he came in at 160 pounds today, he doesn’t hit as hard as they say he hits.”
The PPV telecast began with unbeaten Andrew Tabiti and former world champion Steve Cunningham meeting in a 10-round cruiserweight battle. Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs) controlled the action against the 41-year-old Cunningham (29-9-1, 13 KOs) on his way to a unanimous decision scored 97-93 twice and 100-90.
With Floyd Mayweather Sr. working in his corner, the 27-year-old Tabiti set the tempo early and set the pace for the entire fight. “I was just jabbing him and making sure I stayed smart,” Tabiti said. “He’s a veteran so I had to stay composed. I wanted to show that I could box. This was a step up for me and I felt comfortable in there.”
A Chicago native who lives and trains in Las Vegas, Tabiti landed 31 percent of his jabs (70 of 229) and 49 percent of his power punches compared to just 27 percent for Cunningham. With the win, Tabiti retains the NABF cruiserweight title and won the USBA cruiserweight championship.
“He had a decent jab but he wasn’t busy enough,” Tabiti added. “I just didn’t want to make mistakes. If you start too fast against a veteran you’re liable to get caught by him.”
Cunningham wasn’t impressed with Tabiti. “I don’t think Andrew Tabiti is a championship level fighter,” he said. “I thought I won the fight. I didn’t think I saw anything special from him.”