Saturday night December 28th 2019 at the State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia Showtime broadcast a world title double header to close out its 2019 year in boxing. The main event between would be between Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Yuriorkis Gamboa for the vacant WBA regular lightweight world title co-featured by Jean Pascal taking on Badou Jack in defense of Pascal’s WBA regular light heavyweight title.
The main event between Davis and Gamboa many thought would be a gross mismatch ending in five rounds or less, perhaps Davis coming in 1.2 lbs over the 135 lb limit on his first attempt on the scales and forced to lose that extra weight before coming in officially at 134.8 lbs may have changed that scenario.
In the second round Davis dropped Gamboa with a double jab left hand combination, when Gamboa rose off the canvas he not only has issues with his shoe but walking. Over the next few rounds Gamboa seemed to have trouble securing his footing before his corner taped up the shoe but trouble with his leg continued. We would later find out Gamboa injured his right Achilles tendon on the way down to the canvas in round two, a sporadic punch output by Davis allowed Gamboa to remain in the bout and have brief moments of success even after being put down again in round eight.
A hurt but determined Gamboa took a lot of punishment in rounds nine through eleven, Davis showing huge stamina issues seemed unable to let loose a flurry that most likely would have ended the affair. In the 12th round finally Gamboa went to the canvas again and referee Jack Reiss called a halt to the action.
With the win Gervonta improved to 23-0 (22) and claimed the regular WBA lightweight title for his efforts. His missing weight on the first attempt and low punch output had fans especially on social media branding him “The Next Adrien Broner”.
In Davis post-fight interview he gave himself a C+ for performance, a performance certainly not good enough to deal with fellow champions at 135 lbs Vasyl Lomachenko, Devin Haney or Teofimo Lopez.
With the loss Gamboa now stands at 30-3 (18) and at 38 yrs of age it’s hard to try and predict what if anything is next for the former Olympic Gold Medalist. He did state in his post-fight interview once his leg is healed he would like a rematch.
The nights co-feature between WBA regular light heavyweight belt holder Jean Pascal and former two division champion Badou Jack exceeded expectations. It was the early rounds as is customary in a Jean Pascal fight where he controlled the action putting Badou Jack on the canvas in round four.
As we reached the second half of the fight Jack started to take over landing his jab frequently, the pair stood and traded shots center ring bringing fans to their feet several times. In the 12th round after an exchange Badou Jack landed a right hand that dropped Pascal against the ropes. While Pascal beat the count he was in retreat for the rounds remainder. When final scores were announced they read 114-112 twice for Pascal and 114-112 once for Jack giving Jean Pascal the win and first defense of his WBA regular title.
The final punch stats for the contest had Badou Jack landing 244 of his 632 punches thrown compared to Jean Pascal landing 155 of his 556 total punches. While a close fight despite the lopsided numbers Jack in my opinion should have walked away with the decision. With the win Jean Pascal improves to 35-6-1(20) while Badou Jack now stands at 22-3-3 (13).
What is next for both Jean Pascal and Badou Jack? The 37 yr old Pascal has certainly lost a step and was already dominated by WBA Super world champion Dmitry Bivol, Badou Jack at 36 yrs old has been in some wars the last few years we should know for certain by mid-2020.
In Undercard action
Super Bantamweight- Angelo Leo 19-0(9) def. Cesar Juarez 25-8(19) via TKO 11
Super Middleweight- Lionell Thompson 22-5(12) def. Jose Uzcategui 29-4(24) via UD 10
Super Lightweight- Malik Hawkins 18-0(11) def. Darwin Price 16-1(9) via TKO 5
Light Heavyweight- Ahmed Elbiali 20-1(17) def. Brian Vera 26-16(16) via TKO 6
Super Lightweight- Kareem Martin 14-2-1(4) def. Petros Ananyan 14-2-2(7) via MD 8
Lightweight-Jackson Marinez 19-0(7) def. Yardley Armenta Cruz 26-15(16) via TKO 2
Junior Middleweight-Elvin Gambarov 7-0(6) def. Phillip Lars 4-20-1(2) via KO 1
Super Featherweight- Malik Warren 3-0(3) def. Trayvion Butts 3-1(2)
Lightweight-Mia Ellis 1-0(1) def. Uneaka Best 0-1 via TKO 1