By: Hans Themistode
WBA Super Featherweight champion Gervonta Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) made his ring entrance to the song thriller by Michael Jackson. He sure gave one thrilling performance tonight in the ring as he destroyed Hugo Ruiz (39-5, 33 KOs).
The contest started with Davis stalking his much bigger opponent. Ruiz was fighting on his back foot but couldn’t get much of a rhythm. Several combinations landed for the champion as Ruiz began to bleed profusely from his nose. A clean left hook to the head forced Ruiz to take a knee. He managed to beat the count but the referee waved off the contest in the very first round. It was quite the performance from the young star. Davis wasn’t the only one on the card tonight who put on a show for the fans.
Jr Middleweight Erickson Lubin (20-1, 15 KOs) made a major statement tonight in becoming the first man to stop former champion Ishe Smith (29-11, 12 KOs) tonight. The win by Lubin did not come as a shock but the dominance he showed tonight was breathtaking.
Smith held the IBF title in 2013 and has consistently given even the upper echelon fighters a tough test. Coming into this contest Smith was looking to stop a two fight losing streak and vault himself back into title contention. Lubin on the other hand had other plans.
The contest started off tentatively but quickly picked up in the second round where Lubin showed his dominance. A straight left hand landed flush for Lubin and saw Smith crash down to the canvas. From there it became an onslaught as Lubin poured the pressure on. Another combination landed by Lubin saw Smith once again hit the canvas.
As often the case in the career of Smith he continued to pick himself up and fight valiantly. A third knockdown for Lubin seemed to spell the end for Smith but somehow he not only beat the count but continued to fight on as he barely escaped the round. Lubin came out in the third round wanting to put an end to the contest and he did just that as he once again knocked Smith down to the mat. Smith’s trainers stepped in and stopped the contest. After the end of the match the 40 year old Smith retired from the sport marking an end to his almost 20 year career.
Lubin started off his career dominating the competition and quickly won the ESPN prospect of the year award. He then took a major step up in class when he challenged then champion Jermell Charlo and was subsequently stopped in the first round. Tonight proved that he has put that devastating loss behind him.
Defeating Smith in such dominant fashion will place him back in the thick of things in the Jr Middleweight division.
Both Davis and Lubin sent stern messages to their respective divisions tonight with explosive performances. 2019 could become a big year for both of these young stars.