By: Hans Themistode
Before Teofimo Lopez stepped into the ring against George Kambosos Jr. last weekend at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, there was an undeniable aura surrounding him.
The 24-year-old New Yorker saw his stock rise to unprecedented heights following an unlikely victory over Vasyl Lomachenko one year prior. Though Lopez was tabbed as one of boxing’s youngest and brightest stars, Kambosos Jr. stood both unimpressed and undeterred.
As a pro-Lopez crowd continued to cheer him on, they were left speechless as Lopez was dropped in the opening round before ultimately suffering the first loss of his career.
Just a few days from now, Isaac Cruz will have his own opportunity to upset the applecart. The 23-year-old lightweight contender will face by far the biggest challenge of his career when he takes on WBA “Regular” titlist Gervonta Davis at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on December 5th.
Despite reeling off 17 straight victories, Cruz is considered a sizable underdog. Regardless of the preconceived notions surrounding his chances against Davis this Sunday night, Cruz simply points to last weekend’s results as a reminder.
“You know what Kambosos showed people? That there are no superheroes on this earth,” said Cruz during an interview with SecondsOut. “Everybody is human, everybody has a weakness. I’m going to find Gervonta’s weakness and then we’re going to see what happens Sunday night.”
Originally, Cruz was taken aback when he was first informed that he would be moved up from the undercard to the main event. Previously, highly ranked lightweight contender Rolando Romero was set to take on Davis. However, with the outspoken and flamboyant power puncher removed from the card due to several ongoing legal issues, Cruz was gifted the opportunity.
For Davis, changing his preparations to deal with a much shorter fighter as opposed to the taller Romero, was something he revealed was a flawless transition.
Most recently, the hard-hitting Baltimore product was last seen in the ring six months prior at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, against Mario Barrios.
While Barrios proved to be one of his more difficult opponents, Davis eventually floored his man before finishing him off in the 11th. Considering the violent nature in which Davis normally ends his fights, Cruz reveals that he’s taken his preparation to another level.
While Kambosos Jr. did provide Cruz with a bit of added motivation, the Mexican native admits that his true drive comes from an entirely different source.
“What Kambosos showed us is that champions can be beaten. But my inspiration isn’t him. It’s my wife and it’s my kid.”
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