After a difficult eight months that saw him squander his first world title and face questions about his focus, Baltimore-born Gervonta Davis reclaimed boxing gold with a sensational third-round stoppage of Jesús Cuellar on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Davis, 23, won the WBA super featherweight title with a dominant performance against the game but outgunned Cuellar, who hit the canvas three times before referee Benjy Esteves stopped the fight.
"I got focused and now I'm champion again," Davis told Showtime interviewer Jim Gray after the fight. "There's always bumps in the road on the way to being successful."
It was perhaps fitting that Davis (20-0, 19 knockouts) put his career back on track in the same arena where he captured his first world title in January 2017. Davis defended that International Boxing Federation title once before he lost it by failing to make the 130-pound weight limit for his Aug. 26 fight against Francisco Fonseca.
Davis knocked out Fonseca, but didn't look sharp, and the disappointing performance prompted him to leave Baltimore for Florida and work with a new trainer, tough-minded Kevin Cunningham, in preparation for Cuellar.
The change seemed to work as he easily made weight Friday and came out sharp in the fight, establishing immediate advantages in hand speed and power. The naturally smaller Cuellar tried to press Davis with his jab, but he could not deal with Davis' jolting counter punches.
Davis dropped Cuellar (28-3) with a straight left to the body midway through the second round. The Argentinian got up, but Davis again overwhelmed him with combinations and body punches in the third round.
Davis told Gray he'd next like to fight the winner of the 130-pound title fight between Tevin Farmer and Billy Dib.