By Matt Richardson and Arvin Nundloll at ringside
Gervonta Davis delivered a star-making performance in the co-featured fight of the night, stopping the previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza in the seventh round to win the IBF junior lightweight championship on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY..
With Floyd Mayweather cheering him on from ringside, Davis (17-0, 16 KO’s) scored the best win of his career by using a mix of speed, angles and clean punching. Pedraza (22-1, 12 KO’s) tried to corner Davis and slow his momentum but Davis’ defense and head movement gave him fits on the inside.
Davis came out with blazing shots early on and he connected effectively with uppercuts through Pedraza’s defense that snapped the Puerto Rican’s head back. He stunned Pedraza with an uppercut in the second and Pedraza responded by going into a defensive shell. He got stunned again with a left in the third but Pedraza was able to return well in the fifth with a combination. But Davis soon roared back with a series of flush punches to Pedraza’s exposed dome that had the crowd cheering at the bells ring.
Pedraza was examined by the ringside physician heading into the seventh and final round. A badly swollen right eye hampered his vision but he was allowed to proceed with the fight anyway. The injury wound up being a moot point at the 2:20 mark when Davis drove him into the canvas with a hard right hook. Pedraza’s head snapped off the bottom rope and although he attempted to rise he was in no shape to continue and the fight was called off at the count of nine, at the 2:36 mark of the frame. Pedraza was standing but thoroughly beat up.