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Gervonta "Tank" Davis Forged the TSS 2020 Knockout of the Year

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  • Gervonta "Tank" Davis Forged the TSS 2020 Knockout of the Year

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    By Jeffrey Freeman

    Uppercuts are exciting. Uppercuts end fights.

    That’s probably what Buster Douglas had in mind when he launched his errant money punch at Evander Holyfield 30 years ago in 1990. Here in 2020, it was a pair of left-handed, one-punch uppercut KOs that stood out as the best of a boxing year hard-knocked by virus restrictions.

    In August, Alexander Povetkin delivered a mallet of an uppercut to stiffen Dillian Whyte in the 5th round of a heavyweight elimination bout staged in promoter Eddie Hearn’s Essex backyard at his fan-less Matchroom Fight Camp. The DAZN telecast (tucked away on an “app” many sports fans remain unaware of) had a sterile aesthetic to its lockdown themed production values.

    As Whyte lay stricken by the Russian’s sudden outburst, Povetkin was discouraged from raising his hands to celebrate by KN95-masked referee Mark Lyson. Whyte got eliminated alright but it wasn’t even the first time he’d been knocked out straight away by an uppercut.

    Anthony Joshua sparked him out with one in 2015.

    20/20 HINDSIGHT

    Then in October at the fan-friendly Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, 26-year-old rising star Gervonta “Tank” Davis put experienced world champion Leo Santa Cruz, 32, to sleep with a left uppercut from hell during the 6th round of a highly competitive Showtime PPV Main Event.

    Before a proper crowd of more than nine thousand paying fans (9,024 to be exact) what transpired was a great fight, a breakout performance—and the 2020 Knockout of the Year.

    Blitzed into his own corner in the fateful 6th round, Santa Cruz lashed out with three straight right hands, all of which were intended to deter the aggression of the American “Tank” bearing down on him. As the last of Santa Cruz’s Hail Mary’s sailed harmlessly off the educated guard of Davis, a beautifully timed counter left uppercut was on its way to the point of Santa Cruz’s chin.

    The Mexican “Terremoto” collapsed backwards, his head slapping the “Proper Twelve” branded turnbuckle on its way to the ring apron while Davis celebrated like a crazed new Aaron Pryor; jubilantly scaling the A-side turnbuckle. Social media went as ballistic as the crowd, creating memes of a smiling LSC at rest in the corner, appearing to use the turnbuckle as a comfy pillow.

    Thus, the editors of The Sweet Science had a tough choice to make in assigning Knockout of the Year honors for 2020.

    After we knocked it down and around, I’m pleased to report that Gervonta “Tank” Davis KO 6 Leo Santa Cruz has been rightly named the TSS Knockout of the Year. “We just went hand to hand,” Davis explained.

    “I didn’t shy away from the uppercut.”

    With 15 consecutive knockouts and a record of 24-0 with 23 KO’s, “Tank” is becoming something of a knockout artist. The usually durable Santa Cruz, now 37-2-1, was run over by his one-punch power after going 260 rounds as a pro without having been knocked off his feet. Davis detonated the same punch, but as a lead, to discombobulate Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2019.

    The sky’s the limit for this in-demand lightweight. Potential matchups against the best young talent in boxing include Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez and Shakur Stevenson.

    Boxing Writer Jeffrey Freeman grew up in the City of Champions, Brockton, Massachusetts from 1973 to 1987, during the Marvelous career of Marvin Hagler. JFree then lived in Lowell, Mass during the best years of Irish Micky Ward’s illustrious career. A new member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a Bernie Award Winner in the Category of Feature Under 1500 Words, Freeman covers boxing for The Sweet Science in New England.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    No argument here.


    • #3
      I didn’t list him because he’s not exactly young anymore but Vasyl Lomachenko would also be an ideal opponent for Davis. Vasyl needs a comeback win of consequence and Davis needs another quality name on his growing resume. After the letdown against Lopez, I’d favor Tank Davis over 2-loss Loma.

      Be a grueling little scrap I’d bet.