Gervonta Davis Pleads Guilty in Hit-and-Run Case

Boxing star Gervonta “Tank” Davis pleaded guilty on Thursday to four misdemeanors stemming from a hit-and-run crash that happened in November of 2020. The accident left four people injured, including a pregnant woman. The 28-year-old Baltimore native was originally charged with 14 counts related to the collision; each carried a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Court records show that four of these counts were for failing to return or remain at the scene of an accident that resulted in bodily injury.[1]

Davis is accused of driving a Lamborghini that ran a red light at a downtown intersection and struck another vehicle. A surveillance video obtained by a local CBS News affiliate shows the Lamborghini Uris going through a fence after ricocheting off the other vehicle. Moments later, its occupants get out and flee the scene in a Camaro that pulled over to pick them up.

The hit-and-run took place just days after Davis successfully defended his WBA Lightweight Championship against Leo Santa Cruz. Davis attended his victory and birthday celebration at a Baltimore nightclub from around midnight until 1:30 a.m. The wreck ensued less than 30 minutes after Davis left the Medusa Restaurant and Lounge. At around 2 a.m., Davis veered from his police escort caravan and eventually hit the passenger side of a 2004 Toyota Solara.

Jyair Smith is the pregnant victim who reportedly sustained a major knee injury that will likely affect her for the rest of her life. Smith protested Davis’s plea deal and stated that he ignored her cries for help while she was trapped inside the smoking car. The prosecution said that Davis even made eye contact with Smith but decided to gather his things and leave the scene. Smith is slated to speak before Davis’s sentencing on May 5.

Davis was scheduled to stand trial but waived that right on Thursday. He did not speak after leaving the courtroom, and his lawyer declined to make a comment. Gervonta pleaded guilty to four traffic offenses: leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failing to notify of property damage, driving with a revoked license, and running a red light. However, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Althea M. Handy told Davis that he’s entering the guilty plea “with no agreement of what [the] penalty will be at sentencing.”[2]

The case seemed like it was nearing a conclusion at the end of last year, but a judge declined to approve a plea deal that would have allowed Davis to avoid jail time and instead spend 60 days under house arrest.

This isn’t the only legal issue Davis has faced in recent years. Davis is set to be arraigned on February 23 in Fort Lauderdale, FL in connection to a domestic violence charge of battery causing bodily harm. He pleaded not guilty to the December 2022 incident after allegedly hitting the mother of his 1-year-old daughter with a “closed-hand type slap.” On the 911 call, the victim claimed that Davis had threatened to kill her. The woman suffered a small abrasion on the inside of her upper lip but asked the court to dismiss the charges in an affidavit filed on January 24.

The fighter was also arrested for an aggravated assault of his childhood friend in 2017, but those charges were ultimately dropped. In 2018, Davis was arrested in Washington, D.C. after a dispute over a bar tab escalated into a street fight. Another arrest in 2020 was due to an incident of alleged domestic violence against a former girlfriend at a celebrity basketball game on the University of Miami’s campus. That case was discharged as well.[3]

Ryan Garcia (above) and Gervonta Davis have both signed contracts for an April fight in Las Vegas – Image from Bleacher Report

Davis has a perfect 28-0 record with 26 knockouts. He is ESPN’s number 3 lightweight boxer in the world. His latest victory in January over Hector Luis Garcia secured him a huge fight against Ryan Garcia in April. Both fighters have signed contracts to square off in Las Vegas in what will be an enormous commercial event for boxing. The deal has been in the works since last November and will be finalized once broadcasters Showtime and DAZN reach an agreement.

Davis will earn the majority share of revenue from the first fight. He is the betting favorite to win the bout and will enjoy the exclusive right to exercise the contract’s rematch clause in the event that he loses the contest. Davis’s sentencing is set for May 5, which means that any potential punishment for the hit-and-run will not interfere with his ability to compete in April.[4]

Ryan Garcia is a rising star. The 24-year-old boasts a perfect 23-0 record with 19 knockouts and decided to bypass a fight in January to head directly into training for the highly anticipated showdown with Davis.

This is a big fight for boxing. Davis and Garcia combine for over 13 million Instagram followers. Two of the most exciting young stars in the sport, known for their speed and knockout artistry, will draw the interest of celebrities sitting ringside and will sell millions of dollars’ worth of Pay-Per-View. But who, if anyone, is holding Davis responsible for his behavior?

Neither the World Boxing Federation nor the Nevada Athletic Commission have rules governing the discipline of boxers who commit domestic violence or sexual assault. It seems highly unlikely that anyone inside the sport will hold Davis accountable for his actions. After all, this isn’t his first offense. Boxing tolerates a lot. Many great fighters, including Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, and Adrien Broner, were forgiven and embraced by the sport after several controversies.[5]  

Money is the obvious answer to why Davis’ actions repeatedly go unpunished by the sport. When he fights, he routinely brings in seven-figures in ticket sales, six-figures in Pay-Per-View purchases, and he puts plenty of cash in the pockets of promoters, managers, and the networks that air the events. Other major U.S. sports leagues have progressed and become stricter when it comes to penalizing athletes for off-field issues, especially if the conduct involves violence against women. Boxing should strive to do the same.






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Gervonta Davis –

Ryan Garcia –

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