By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez was good, maybe even great but few, if any, believed he would be able to get the job done against Miguel Berchelt. The two fought in the main event slot at “The Bubble” in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada just a few weeks ago.
On the line was Berchelt’s WBC super featherweight world title. For the most part, Valdez was viewed as a worthy challenger but one who simply didn’t have the firepower to compete with the hard hitting Berchelt.
However, after outboxing, hurting and later finishing off his man in the tenth, most were left shell shocked. Well, everyone except for Leo Santa Cruz.
“I always said Valdez had a chance, not like other people,” said Santa Cruz during an interview with Fight Hype. “I knew he had a chance to win, even by knockout.”
During the lead-up to Valdez vs Berchelt, there was one prevailing thought surrounding the event. That was, everyone should flip on their television sets to watch this one as it was going to be a back and forth war. But while their showdown wasn’t a boring one by any stretch, it certainly wasn’t the violent contest many were expecting.
For Santa Cruz though, he appreciated the approach that Valdez took in order to pick up the victory.
“He didn’t stay there and trade punches with him. He was just boxing him and landing the bigger shots.”
Although Valdez is still enjoying his newly won world title, several notable names in the division are now eyeing a showdown with him. Amongst them is Santa Cruz.
Despite his credentials as multiple division world champion, many will point to his sixth-round knockout loss at the hands of Gervonta Davis in October of 2020 as the main reason why he doesn’t deserve an immediate title shot.
With that said, Santa Cruz believes his recent setback is of little importance. If given the chance, the California native knows that his all-Mexican showdown against Valdez would be a classic.
“I’m up for a fight between me and him. I know people are going to say I’m coming off a loss and they knocked me out but it doesn’t matter. That’s what we’re here for. Were here to fight. I know a fight between me and Valdez would be really great and entertaining for the fans. Styles make fights and I know me and him have the perfect style to make a great fight.”
The ease in which Valdez handled Berchelt just a few weeks ago still resonates with Santa Cruz. Like most, he was expecting a much more competitive fight. Still, with all due respect to Berchelt, Santa Cruz is under the belief that he didn’t have the tools needed to get the job done. With himself, on the other hand, he believes at the very least, the entertainment value will be through the roof.
“I know Berchelt is a great fighter and everything but Oscar Valdez made it look easy. With me, I think I would make it more entertaining.”
By: Hans Themistode
Things were going according to plan, just until they weren’t.
For former multiple division champion Leo Santa Cruz, he seemingly had Gervonta Davis exactly where he wanted him. That is, until a left uppercut changed everything.
In late October, the Mexican product found himself in a back and forth brawl with the hard-hitting Davis at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. On the night, Santa Cruz successfully outworked his man from the very beginning. For every punch Davis threw in his direction, Santa Cruz would throw two in return. According to CompuBox, Santa Cruz threw 390 total punches while connecting on 97 of them, while Davis on the other hand, threw 227 while connecting on 84.
In the case of Santa Cruz, throwing punches in bunches was a big part of his plan. In the midst of successfully completing said game plan however, he left himself wide open for a Davis uppercut that ended the night. Despite the outcome, Santa Cruz is under the impression that if he were able to take Davis shot better or avoid it entirely, things would have been much different.
“The fight was good but I got caught,” said Santa Cruz to Fight Hype during a recent interview. “I don’t take anything away from Tank Davis but I think if the fight would have gone 12 rounds I think I could have won.”
At the moment of stoppage, Davis led on all three judges scorecards by a single point with a score of 48-47. Immediately following his defeat, the possible future hall of famer heavily considered retirement.
Several months later though, having given both his body and mind time to recover, Santa Cruz isn’t eyeing retirement just yet. In terms of opponents, he doesn’t have one penciled in. With that being said, despite the violent manner in which his body dropped to the canvas following a left uppercut from Davis, Santa Cruz would love to run things back.
“I’m going to ask for the rematch. Hopefully, they give it to me, if not then we’re going to go ahead and look for another fight.”
By: Hans Themistode
With two division world titlist Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) making his Pay-Per-View headlining debut this past weekend, the numbers for his showing are reportedly in.
According to sources close to the situation, Davis Pay-Per-View numbers checked in at roughly 200,000-225,000. By all accounts, those figures have excited several members behind the scenes.
For the 25 year old Davis, he made the most of his first solo event with a viral one punch knockout over former three division champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Through the first five rounds, both men came out firing. Davis landed his patent thudding shots to the body, while Santa Cruz on the other hand, was a headhunter. Just when things were beginning to heat up, Davis ended the night early with a left uppercut that turned off his opponent’s lights before his head hit the canvas.
In addition to his first Pay-Per-View, Davis vs Santa Cruz became the first boxing event to host a crowd since the beginning of the pandemic. A reported 9,024 fans crammed into a socially distanced Alamodome in San Antonio Texas.
Following his knockout win, promoter of Davis in future hall of famer Floyd Mayweather, wanted his young star to enjoy his moment. But he did express an interest in facing newly crowned undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez as soon as next year.
By: Hans Themistode
The cheers were deafening the moment Gervonta Davis landed his murderous left uppercut against Leo Santa Cruz this past weekend. The Baltimore native stood on the ropes as he screamed to the San Antonio crowd who came to support their Showtime Pay-Per-View event.
Those celebrations however, were immediately truncated the moment Davis and everyone in the arena noticed that Santa Cruz was lying motionless on the canvas. A few minutes after standing in silence, Santa Cruz rose to his feet and flashed a smile as if to say he was alright.
Following the loss, the former three division world titlist was rushed to the hospital as a precautionary measure. He may have come up short in what he believes was the biggest contest of his career but with all his test results coming back clean, the Mexican native can’t help but feel thankful.
“Thank God we are fine,” said Santa Cruz to ESPN Deportes. “We are healthy, we did not come out with the victory, but we thank all the fans for their support, there good vibes, with all our hearts. He caught me, we went down, but thank God we are here.”
Before Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) found himself on the unwanted end of a Gervonta Davis uppercut, the Mexican product was performing well. At the time of the stoppage, which occurred in the sixth round, Davis had a slim lead of 47-46 on the judge’s scorecards. In addition to their razor close fight, Santa Cruz was the aggressor at various stages. He backed up the larger Davis and teed off on several occasions.
Those shots however, were ineffective. Pair his lack of power with his false sense of belief in his chin as he was able to withstand a few big shots from Davis early on, and it ultimately resulted in his downfall.
“He wasn’t feeling my punch. He threw the uppercut on me and I was blocking it well, I didn’t feel the punch and that’s why I stayed there [in the pocket], but he threw that particular uppercut with all his force, he threw it and he hit me good. He hit me with a good punch, I don’t take anything from him, he’s a great fighter and he caught me.”
The shot which Davis landed made fans cringe in pain once it was shown on instant replay. It was the sort of shot that would seem to be unforgettable. But in the case of Santa Cruz, his reaction is the exact opposite.
“I don’t remember when he hit me, I just fell, I didn’t feel anything. It was my mistake… three right hands at the same time because he was studying it and he said he was going to counter me. I threw it and he countered me and caught me.”
It was a painful lesson for the 32 year old, but one that hasn’t come very often during the course of his career. With 14 years as a professional boxer, Santa Cruz has shown to have an iron chin. Still, with his first stoppage loss, the three division titlist isn’t sure what’s his next move.
Whether he makes another title run or simply decides to hang it out, Santa Cruz wants those who are closest to him to help him make his decision.
“The truth is I want to spend time with the family, spend time with them, rest, and the truth is I am going to talk with my team, with my father, to see what plans they have or what they want me to do, to see if I continue boxing or we retire. Let’s see what happens, let’s talk to my dad and see if we come back. Let’s see, as my mind clears, let’s see what comes next.”
By: Hans Themistode
With each deleterious right or left hand that ended the night for a Gervonta Davis opponent, an immediate mountain of praise soon accompanied it. Yet, following his latest win against long faded multiple division titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa, that aforementioned mountain of praise turned into whispers of doubt.
Coming in his contest against the 38 year old late last year, Davis was largely expected to take care of business in his normal explosive fashion. As things kicked off on the night, the Baltimore native seemed on his way to doing just that. After buzzing his man in the first round, Davis floored him in the second. Gamboa, to his credit, managed to not only survive the knockdown, but also picked himself up off the ground in the eighth as well.
The result of his resilience led Davis to hearing the bell ring to signal the start of the 12th round for the first time in his career. The end result however, was the same as the vast majority of his contests as he found a way to close the show in the final round. But with Gamboa fighting the majority of the match with a torn achilles, coupled with Davis asking his corner “what’s wrong with my body?” during the half way mark, the two division titlist has heard nonstop criticism.
The 25 year old Davis may have been ecstatic to leave the ring with the win, but with the biggest fight of his career against Leo Santa Cruz taking place tomorrow night on Showtime Pay-Per-View, he’s anxious to close the door on any doubts of his star power.
“I’m definitely motivated but I’m more so hungry and appreciative for the position I’m in,” said Davis during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “I’m just more hungry because I feel like I left a lot on the plate for people to say in my last fight. So I just want to redeem myself and show them that I’m number one in the sport. After this fight I think people will say that yeah he’s number one.”
With his first Pay-Per-View headlining event on tap, the preparation of the two division champion has been different. No longer is he training around familiar faces in his hometown of Baltimore. Instead, a lightbulb has gone off in the 25 year old’s head. Why should he stay within his comfort zone, when he believes the best to ever do it in Floyd Mayweather, could be within arms reach on a daily basis.
“I know for sure that wasn’t me,” said Davis as he continued to explain his lackluster showing against Gamboa. “So it’s really about me Maning up and stepping up to the plate. That’s why I made the decision with my team to come to Vegas and train because I know that the best trainer and boxer is in Vegas. As far as having him in my corner and in my camp with me, it was amazing. I’m grateful to have him.”
The rocky relationship between the pair has been well documented. Davis, on multiple occasions, has verbalized his issues with his promoter. Even going as far as to say “no comment,” when asked what grade he would give Mayweather as a promoter in 2018.
Fast forward to today however, and everything seems to be water under the bridge. The pair has been seen on multiple occasions working together and seem to be on great terms outside of the gym as well. Now that the two have seemingly gotten through their rough patch, Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is happy to have him on his side.
“It’s a lot of fighters that come through Mayweather’s gym so I was definitely happy and grateful to be apart of that. Come Saturday night I’m just here to do what I do best and that’s put on a great performance and become the star that I am.”
In terms of how he plans on attacking his 32 year old, four division opponent this Saturday night, Davis didn’t seem too keen on going for the kill from the opening bell.
“I’m definitely not looking for a knockout. I know in fighting Santa Cruz, if you don’t get him out there then you might get stopped due to his punch volume so I’m definitely not looking for the knockout. But I will put on a great performance.”
By: Hans Themistode
Gervonta Davis is taking his showdown with Leo Santa Cruz more seriously than any other fight in his professional career. So much so, that he has moved his camp from the comfort of his Baltimore hometown to the steaming desert of Las Vegas, Nevada.
By all accounts, the move for Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) has proven to be a sagacious one as he has claimed that the time away from familiar faces has allowed him to focus better than ever before. Now, with only a few days left until he takes on the four division world titlist, Davis believes his preparation will lead him to victory. For Santa Cruz on the other hand, he’ll have a quick and painful night if he hasn’t equally been as diligent in his own preparation.
“He better come prepared,” said Davis in an interview with ESNEWS. “If not, he’s going to sleep.”
For Davis, the concussive power that he brings to the ring has led to an early night whether or not his opponents have come in prepared or not. Amongst the long list of opponents that have felt his power is former two division world champion Jose Pedraza. The Puerto Rican native implemented a come forward, aggressive game plan when the two fought in January of 2017. The success however, was few and far between as Davis won their contest via seventh round stoppage.
With Santa Cruz claiming that he will implore a similar game plan in an effort to “drown,” Davis in the championship rounds, the Baltimore product is hoping that he stays true to his word.
“I see he keep talking about he’s going to press me but that isn’t going to be a good way to do it. Pedraza tried to press me and you seen the outcome.”
Whether Davis stops his man in the same fashion in which he has done most of his opponents, or if he strolls his way to a unanimous decision, the 25 year old is already looking ahead.
Roughly five weeks after his contest with Santa Cruz, Davis will have front row tickets to watch fellow 135 pounders in Ryan Garcia and Luke Campbell face off for the WBC interim title. Although he couldn’t pick a winner, Davis did make it clear that following his victory, he doesn’t plan on taking a break as he eyes the winner.
“After this fight I’m going to get right back in the gym cause I want to fight the winner between Ryan and Campbell.”
By: Hans Themistode
Leo Santa Cruz saw what everybody else saw whenever Gervonta Davis stepped foot inside of a boxing ring. A speedy fighter with enough power to knock down a building let alone an opponent.
Training camp for the Mexican product has entailed sparring much bigger opponents in order to prepare himself for the huge shots that will be coming in his direction come October 31st, from Davis.
For the most part, the grueling portion of his preparation is done and over with. Now, both he and his team are putting together the game plan needed to take down the undefeated knockout artist. It isn’t an easy task, but Santa Cruz believes he knows exactly what to do.
“I need to take away his speed and power,” said Santa Cruz to Fight Hub. “I know he’s a powerful guy. We got to be smart and not brawl with him to get hit with those big shots. We have to fight smart and fight the perfect fight.”
A perfect night at the office can be ruined with one shot. And in the case of Davis, he has more than enough power to do so. Getting hit by a fighter nicknamed Tank wouldn’t be an ideal situation. With that being said, the Mexican native is under the belief that if his chin can hold up, then he’ll turn up the heat on Davis.
“If we see that we can take his punches then I’m going to go all out. I’m going to be on top of him and break him down. Working the body and going everywhere. I won’t let him breathe or think. I know he’s not going to like that.”
A fight that features Davis normally doesn’t reach the final bell, but it’s usually the Baltimore native that’s doing the damage.
Santa Cruz may have several knockouts under his belt, but he isn’t exactly known as a big puncher. Stopping Davis dead in his tracks with one shot isn’t something that is likely to happen, but if he can string together a few hard shots, the multiple division champion is confident that he’ll have Davis screaming no mas.
“I think I can stop him by volume punching. If I get him tired then he’s not going to have any other choice but to quit.”
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.”
By: Hans Themistode
For the first time in what feels like forever for boxing fans, tickets to a live event will be made available tomorrow morning.
For months now, COVID-19 has prevented all venues in the United States from allowing fans to witness their favorite boxers up close and personal. Yet, that is all coming to an end. At least, for one night.
At roughly 10 a.m. C.T. tickets for the highly anticipated Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz showdown which will take place on October 31st, at the Alamodome in Texas, will be made available to the public. Purchasing tickets to the event will be slightly different than what fans are accustomed to.
For starters, tickets will be purchasable through “pods,” of two and four per customer to maintain social distancing guidelines. Secondly, all fans will be screened upon entry and required to wear masks. Although an exact number was not provided in terms of available seating, the Alamodome carries a capacity of 64,000 pre COVID-19. A full house isn’t expected but several thousand seats will be made available.
“The Alamodome is excited to host the Davis vs. Santa Cruz SHOWTIME PPV event and to bring these athletes to San Antonio,” said Steve Zito, General Manager, Alamodome. “Not only is this a great platform for these athletes and their fans, but the event will also spotlight San Antonio through nationally televised matches and generate economic impact for our community during these challenging times.”
Originally, there was a belief that Davis and Santa Cruz could host their battle at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The venue has become somewhat of a de-facto home for Premier Boxing Champions as a number of their events have been held there, including a historic doubleheader Pay-Per-View card which was headlined by twin champions Jermell and Jermall Charlo.
Another possible site for Davis-Santa Cruz was an outdoor soccer stadium in Carson, California. Yet, when news broke of fans being given the green light to enter the Alamodome, the focus shifted to the Texas area.
While the thought of having thousands of fans in attendance captured most headlines, both Davis and Santa Cruz have kept their head down and continued to grind away during their respective training camps.
Due to COVID-19 ravishing through most of the boxing schedule, neither fighter has made a return to the ring this year. In back to back months late last year, the pair would go on to win their contests in impressive fashion.
For the hard hitting Baltimore native, both his power and stamina was put to the test as the long faded Yuriorkis Gamboa pushed Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) like never before. The two division world titlist would go on to bite down on his mouthpiece and push the pace during the second half however, and score a stoppage win in the final round.
Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) meanwhile, picked up the fourth world title of his career in a fairly routine win against Miguel Flores one month prior.
By: Hans Themistode
The wait for Gervonta Davis Pay-Per-View headlining clash against Leo Santa Cruz may be killing fans, but it appears they’ll have to wait a bit longer.
The much hyped up contest, which was due to take place on October 24th, will now take place one week later on Halloween at the Alamodome in Arlington, Texas. While fans are moaning over the decision to delay the bout, many will be thrilled to find out that an unspecified amount of fans will be allowed to attend.
News of the delay came shortly after Major League Baseball green lighted a max capacity crowd of 11,500 fans into the same arena for the National League Championship Series and the subsequent World Series.
The admission of fans inside of arena’s isn’t the only reason why the bout was pushed back.
Although Davis vs Santa Cruz is one of the more anticipated matchups left on the calendar, it faced major competition from a familiar rival. UFC President Dana White is slated to have one of his biggest events of the year when undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on interim titlist Justin Gaethje.
Handing the UFC the date all together may eliminate one threat, but Davis vs Santa Cruz will still receive plenty in the form of other boxing events taking place on that night.
Over on the other side of the world, heavyweight contenders Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora face off. Their event, however, shouldn’t clash with Davis vs Santa Cruz as the heavyweight giants should enter the ring around 5 pm eastern time, roughly six hours before Davis and Santa Cruz.
Over on ESPN though, pound for pound star Naoya Inoue takes on number one contender Jason Moloney. A quality contest on paper, but a matchup that shouldn’t deter buyers from tuning in to watch Davis vs Santa Cruz.
By: Sean Crose
He’s now 32 years old. He’s been a professional athlete for just under 14 years. He’s held major titles in numerous weight divisions and has avenged his only professional loss. There is little doubt that Leo Santa Cruz possesses a classic success story. Now, however, as a new generation of dominant boxers emerges, Santa Cruz is being viewed as a member of the sport’s old guard. That’s an odd thing for a man still far removed from 40. Still, as this exciting and soft-spoken figure heads towards the October 24th date of his next fight, it’s his opponent, the brash, 25 year old Gervonta Davis who the media has it’s eyes on.
There’s some good reason for this, of course. Davis is lightning fast and hits with power outing thunder. He’s also the younger man by seven years and has yet to lose a fight. On top of that, Davis’ legal troubles and Twitter exploits have made him the stuff of click bait. He is arguably surfing a large sized wave headed for star status. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, is boxing’s quiet man. Wins over the likes of Carl Frampton and Abner Mares have made him respected and popular rather than loved or hated. He takes things as they come, Santa Cruz. In interviews, this extremely polite man appears almost passive. Santa Cruz is, in a sense, the popular opposite of Davis…although it has to be added here that Davis himself possesses a gracious, sportsmanlike side that gets brushed away in all the hoopla.
Perhaps more than anything else, the Davis-Santa Cruz fight is being presented – by the media and boxing public if not the promotion – as a classic passing of the torch fight. Will it be, though? He may be over thirty, but fighters today fare better as they age than in previous decades. Also worth considering is the fact Santa Cruz hasn’t taken a whole lot of damage in this 39 fight career. Lastly, there’s the matter of experience. Santa Cruz has wins over Abner Mares and Carl Frampton. That’s a talent level Davis arguably hasn’t faced yet, save for Yuriorkis Gamboa, who was already creeping towards forty when Davis bested him last December.
Should Davis prevail over Santa Cruz in this young lion versus old master bout, few will perhaps be surprised. People will inevitably ask, however, where Santa Cruz will go from there. He’ll ask it himself, no doubt. You won’t see him shooting his mouth off, though, about being robbed, or about how he’s ready to come back and take on the world. That’s just not his style. No, if he loses next month, Santa Cruz will quietly move on.
Just like he will if he wins.
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.”
By: Hans Themistode
At just 25 years of age, WBA lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis has a lot to be proud of. He’s held world titles in two separate weight classes, has sold out multiple arenas and on October 24th, the Baltimore native will make his pay-per-view headlining debut against Leo Santa Cruz.
Yet, even with opponent after opponent needing immediate medical attention following a matchup with him, Davis believes he hasn’t even come close to going into his full bag of tricks.
With secondary fighters littered across his resume, Davis has barely needed to break a sweat. There was never a need to bring his very best to the table in any of his 23 pro fights. But come October 24th, the two division world champion fully expects to switch into second gear.
“Leo Santa Cruz is tough,” said Davis to Mike Coppinger on The Pug and Copp Boxing Show podcast. “He’s going to bring the best out of me. He’s not someone that is going to sit there and just try to survive. He’s going to actually fight, so it should be a great match.”
Great would be one of the last words used in associated with a Gervonta Davis contest. With all but one of his career fights reaching the judges scorecards, the two division champion has made it look easy inside of the ring. Some of his success can be attributed to the work he has put in while no is looking.
During the build up of all of his matchups, Davis can be found in an empty gym wearing out each and every heavy bag in the facility without fear of something coming back in return. But while the constant repetitions have yielded results, Davis finds his solo gym sessions and fight night opponents all too familiar.
“I’m just excited to be fighting someone that’s not going to be just a punching bag. I definitely have to train hard. We know that Leo is a future hall of famer, so I know that he is going to come to fight.”
His opponents lack of interest in sitting in the pocket with him was especially evident in his last ring appearance, at least according to Davis.
Former multiple division world champion Yuriokis Gamboa met Davis at 135 pounds in December of 2019. With plenty of mileage on his 38 year old odometer, coupled with a torn achilles in the second round, the Cuban born native seemed gun shy throughout much of their contest. His defensive approach didn’t win him any rounds, but it did extend Davis to the 12th round for the first time in his career. The Baltimore native still managed to end the night in the final round, but he hears the chatter surrounding his performance. For Davis, the explanation as to why he found it so difficult to get rid of his man was simple.
“Gamboa was trying to survive,” explained Davis. “You know when somebody is just trying to survive they don’t throw as much. It was hard for me to catch him with shots, but with Leo, he’s going to come ready to fight.”
By: Hans Themistode
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And for WBA super lightweight champion Gervonta Davis, he’s proven that his method of winning is picture perfect.
Facing Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) inside of the ring normally ends with a trip to the emergency room for his opponents. The Baltimore native and two division world champion is set to take on the toughest test of his career, at least on paper, in Leo Santa Cruz on October 24th on pay-per-view.
Unlike his previous opponents, Davis doesn’t seem interested in leaving him strapped to a stretcher following their contest. He’s already proven to have the sort of deleterious power that you simply can’t teach. So instead, he plans on introducing the world to the rest of his repertoire.
“I’m not trying to knock him out or things like that,” said Davis to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic. “I’m not definitely not going for the knockout, I’m going definitely trying to show the fans that I can box. So I am ready for this fight to show them that I can do both.”
For Davis, the book on his skillset has seemingly been rudimentary written by fans. See opponent, hit opponent and watch opponent fall down.
Although he can never get tired of the constant replays of his one punch knockouts, the term one trick pony comes to mind. Something that Davis vehemently wants to steer away from.
“I’m not just a banger, I’m a boxer puncher, that’s who I am. People who have been in the gym with me know that but the world doesn’t know that yet.”
Whether the fight ends with an ambulance escorting his opponent from the ring, or a lopsided decision victory on the judges scorecards, the win counts the same. A victory over Leo Santa Cruz will become a serious feather in the cap of Davis, regardless of the route to victory.
“It would be big. He’s coming to fight, that guy is coming to fight. Just beating him period would be an accomplishment.”
By: Hans Themistode
Grotesque mismatches were becoming the norm in this new COVID-19 boxing landscape. Financial issues and the lack of a live audience gave promoters the right to place uninteresting matchups on television screens across the world.
While it was appreciated, fans were grinding their teeth as they saw predictable fight after predictable fight. Compelling and interesting matchups would have to wait until the back end of 2020 or worse, sometime in 2021.
For Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) however, they would hear none of it.
Earlier this week PBC announced their SHOWTIME schedule for the remainder of 2020, and it did not disappoint. Numerous championship matchups have now flooded boxing fans’ once desolate schedule. With so many interesting contests, we’ve decided to rank the best five from the group.
Every contest on the docket is worth watching, but here’s our choice for the best of the best of PBC’s SHOWTIME Boxing schedule.
5. Erickson Lubin vs Terrell Gausha
Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs) has been waiting to prove that he isn’t a hype job. The former ESPN prospect of the year looked to be the real deal during the early portion of his career. However, a right hand from Jermell Charlo in Lubin’s first crack at a world title in 2017, put an end to that notion. Since then, Lubin has been hard at work reshaping his image. The Florida native has picked up four straight wins with three coming via stoppage, and now finds himself in a WBC title eliminator against Terrell Gausha.
Much like Lubin, the former Olympian has done some reshaping of his own, although not as successful. After losing a one sided contest in his own bid to win a world title contest against Erislandy Lara in 2017, Gausha (21-1-1, 10 KOs) has been both inactive, fighting only once a year, and lackluster, scoring a draw against Austin Trout in his last ring appearance.
Not only are these two fairly evenly matched, but with the next title shot up for grabs, there is plenty on the line.
4. Nonito Donaire vs Nordine Oubaali
The retirement train was thought to have long left the station with Nonito Donaire onboard. Yet, it appears that the 37 year old isn’t ready to pack up and leave just yet. After suffering losses to Jessie Magdaleno and Carl Frampton, Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) received a bit of luck in reaching the finals of the World Boxing Super Series in 2019.
Meeting him there, was pound for pound star Naoya Inoue. The easy win that was predicted for Inoue was anything but that as Donaire gave him the toughest fight of his life. He may have come out on the losing end, but his performance has earned him a crack at WBC belt holder Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs).
For most of his six year career, Oubaali has made it look easy. But while Donaire will walk into this one as an underdog, he has already proven that he has plenty left in the tank.
3. Jermell Charlo vs Jeison Rosario
Of all the matchups on this list, WBC titlist Jermell Charlo and his unification matchup against WBA and IBF champion Jeison Rosario, was the most surprising.
Rosario came out of absolutely nowhere last year when he ripped away the titles from Julian Williams. Instead of sitting back on his laurels and milking his belts for easy paydays, Rosario has decided to attempt to add even more to his hardware collection.
Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) has gotten over his Tony Harrison saga and now finds himself fighting to become a unified champion. The betting public is already backing Charlo heavily, but they did the same when Rosario took on Williams, so he has no problem with the little amount of faith shown in him.
2. Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz
For as explosive and dangerous as Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) has looked during his career, fans were beginning to roll their eyes whenever a new unknown fighter stood across the ring from him. A highlight reel knockout is always waiting to happen, but resistance seldom followed.
On October 24th, however, Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) will be looking to give Davis all he can handle when they face off. The four division world champion has grown tired of constant murmurs that he has eschewed the competition.
The storyline behind this one is simple. Davis has the punching power and speed on his side, while Santa Cruz is banking on his punch output and relentless pressure.
The winner of this one will have answered a ton of questions, while the loser on the other hand, will see their stock plummet.
1. Jermall Charlo vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko
Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) has gained a reputation. He’s a big puncher, aggressive personality and an unknown commodity. Even with wins over Julian Williams and Austin Trout, Charlo continues to hear the doubters. He’s asked for big name fights against the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin, but you can hear a pin drop from either of those fighters in regards to interest.
Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) may not be the opponent that he wanted, but he is without question his toughest test yet. With two razor close decision losses to Daniel Jacobs and the aforementioned Golovkin, many believe that the Ukrainian born contender should already hold a world title. Nevertheless, he’ll pick up his third chance against Charlo on September 26th.
The intrigue surrounding this one is huge. In a contest that can be essentially decided with the flip of a coin, it ranks number one on our list of the best fights to watch on the SHOWTIME Boxing schedule.