By: Hans Themistode
It isn’t a matter of if, but more so what round, will Gervonta Davis leave Leo Santa Cruz flat on his back, at least according to most. The two are scheduled to face off on October 24th, in a pay-per-view headliner for both the WBA lightweight and super featherweight world titles on the line.
A win has always been expected whenever Santa Cruz has stepped foot inside of the ring. But from the moment the ink dried on his contract to face Davis, the four division world champion became a heavy underdog.
The perpetual cheers that motivated him throughout his career, have now been replaced with worried faces and constant doubt of whether or not the Mexican native will be able to get it done on the night. Although he would much rather hear from his supporters, Santa Cruz is using his skeptics to fuel him and prove them wrong.
“No one gives me a shot, but I am going to shock the world,” said Santa Cruz to FightNews during a recent interview. “This is the biggest fight of my career. It is the fight I always wanted and the first pay-per-view that I headline. I am really excited. I am motivated and training hard for this fight.”
Words such as concussive, deleterious and destructive don’t quite illustrate the power that Davis has put on display during his seven year career. In short, he doesn’t get paid for overtime and enjoys clocking out early. With the exception of one early matchup, no Davis opponent has made it to the final bell.
Fighters in his division or even one weight class above won’t do the trick in terms of preparing Santa Cruz for what could be a painful night at the office. So instead, the four division world champion is seeking help from those several pounds north.
“Once we begin to spar I will need guys that fight at 140 or 147,” explained Santa Cruz. “I think Gervonta Davis is a great fighter, aggressive, and has great power. His style, he is a lefty and fast, but we are prepared. We will look out for his power, be patient and smart. I think he looks for the power shot, long as I get away from that. I have the experience. So, I think with my experience, and if I pressure him, I can break him down and frustrate him.”
Whether Santa Cruz looks to his left or to his right, the motivation to win his matchup with Davis can be found everywhere. Holding onto his WBA super featherweight title pushes him to train harder, but so does the constant murmurs from his doubters. The history books also fuels Santa Cruz as a win would make him the first Mexican born fighter to win world titles in five separate weight classes. Although the incentives are mouth watering, they are completely unnecessary. For Santa Cruz, he draws most of his inspiration from one source.
“My father gives me motivation,” explained Santa Cruz. “He contracted the virus not too long ago. He wasn’t doing well but he’s good now. I look at him and everything he has been through and it makes me work harder.”