By: Hans Themistode
Gervonta Davis has never been a huge fan of the judges, electing to keep them out of 95 percent of his matchups. But while many applaud him for his quick knockouts, Leo Santa Cruz views that as a fatal flaw.
Just a few months ago, the four division titlist credited Davis for the usual strong start to his contests, but he also claimed that after playing it safe in the first half, he intended on “drowning,” him with nonstop pressure when they face off on October 31st.
Now, with their contest just a few weeks away, Santa Cruz didn’t back up one iota from his previous statement.
“Tank Davis is strong the first five rounds,” said Santa Cruz during a recent virtual press conference. “I know that he’s strong every round but I think the most dangerous rounds will be one through six. Those are the rounds he has the most power. But if I see he gases out I will get on top of him.”
For Davis, he really couldn’t argue with Santa Cruz when questioned about his stamina. But the Baltimore native believes there’s a good reason why he seldom makes it to the latter portion of a contest.
“Most of them don’t last to the second half of the fight,” explained Davis. “One through six, probably seven.”
When mentioning the seventh round, Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) couldn’t help but crack a smile when describing what happened the last time an opponent questioned his second half ability.
“Pedraza brought the pressure and he got stopped in the seventh round.”
That knockout over the aforementioned Pedraza gifted Davis with the IBF world title. The first of his career. Since then, he’s gone on to win six straight contests, all of course, coming via knockout. His last in particular however, brought along a few question marks.
In what most believed would be a one sided beating, Davis was matched up against the long faded Yuriorkis Gamboa three days after Christmas. The Baltimore native quickly found out that there would be no presents under his boxing tree as the 38 year old Gamboa pushed him like never before.
At several points during their contest, Davis appeared to be winded. Even telling his corner “something is wrong with my body.” With that being said, the acrimonious knockout artist found his winning shot in the last and final round.
The win may have netted him a world title in another weight class, but reactions to his showing were mostly ambivalent. That performance, coupled with his issues on the scale, may have given Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) confidence going into their matchup, but Davis says talk is cheap.
“He can say whatever he wants but he’s going to have to prove it October 31st.”