As boxing continues to return to some sense of normalcy, Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz are set to face off in the first major boxing fight in the United States to allow paying fans in attendance on a large scale. Fight Game Media is here to give you the Davis vs. Santa Cruz preview.
Davis, the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather Jr., is looking to score the biggest win of his young career. In his first pay-per-view main event, he’ll face Santa Cruz, a four-division champion. However, this fight has a very unique stipulation. Both Davis’ WBA “World” lightweight title and Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” super featherweight title will be on the line, something that has only happened perhaps a handful of times in recent boxing memory.
How we got here: Ever since Davis won his first world title with a dominant stoppage win over Jose Pedraza in January 2017, Davis was tabbed to be boxing’s next superstar. It’s hard to deny that he’s been getting a huge push from promoter and mentor Floyd Mayweather and from Showtime. Davis has headlined major shows in the United Kingdom, Baltimore, Atlanta and even fought in the co-feature bout of the Mayweather vs. McGregor pay-per-view.
However, none of Davis’ wins since beating Pedraza can truly be called a legacy-defining victory. Davis possesses tremendous power for someone relatively young as a pro and as mentioned, has been heavily pushed by Mayweather. Davis’ time at super featherweight seemingly ended with a win over Ricardo Nunez in 2019. Fast forward a few months and Davis scores a win over Yuriorkis Gamboa to win a secondary lightweight title. However, fellow lightweight stars Vasiliy Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney were all busy with their own careers at the time. It almost seemed like Davis might had have to wait a little while longer before getting a big fight.
Meanwhile, Santa Cruz was looking to make history in winning titles in four different weight classes, doing so this past November when he won the WBA super featherweight title. Around that time as well, Santa Cruz started talking about two opponents he wanted to face: Gary Russell Jr. and Davis. While Russell is still going through his “one title fight a year” run that began all the way back in 2015, Davis seemed somewhat improbable at first because of the latter moving up in weight.
Things started to pick up steam earlier this year when talks between the two fighters started. Everything was all but official to make the fight happen until the pandemic put a hold on those plans. Now, Santa Cruz could pull off a massive statement by beating Davis and winning a belt in his fifth weight class. What will make things even more impressive for Santa Cruz if he wins is that he would technically become a triple beltholder. Santa Cruz is still the WBA “Super” featherweight champion and would leave with more titles with a win. What a sight it would be to see a fighter in today’s boxing hold belts in three different weight classes at the same time.
The Fight Game Media panel gave their thoughts on the Davis vs. Santa Cruz with predictions from Robert Silva and Carlos Toro.
Carlos Toro: When this fight was first announced and that the contracted weight was 130 pounds, I was a little surprised. I didn’t think we would see Gervonta Davis at super featherweight again, but here we are. Honestly, that 130-pound stipulation made me doubt my pick for a quick second. Davis has missed weight at 130 pounds in the past and even needed multiple attempts to make 130 in other fights. I do think that Davis will make weight as a super featherweight, but his history at the scales is something that should be factored in. Will Davis look good while still at 130 pounds or will he look drained and like he just went through a grueling weight cut?
As for the fight itself, I think we’ll see Leo Santa Cruz try to avoid Davis’ power at first. Santa Cruz is a big volume puncher and I expect to use that to break down Davis late. Santa Cruz will win some rounds just based on his aggression and volume punching given that some judge reward that more than others when scoring a round. Ultimately, Davis’ power will come through and keep Santa Cruz at bay in the later rounds. Plus, I would expect Davis to come heavier than Santa Cruz come fight night.
Prediction: Davis by decision
Robert Silva: Leo Santa Cruz has had an incredible career with great wins over Carl Frampton, Abner Mares, and Cristian Mijares. He’s a strong Hall of Fame contender and is rarely outworked in the ring. That being said, unless Gervonta Davis continues his impersonation of Adrien Broner as a lazy boxer in the ring, Leo is not winning Saturday night in his attempt to defeat Davis for another bogus WBA title.
Davis angered me when he physically accosted his girlfriend on video last winter. He’s a real piece of work that, like Gary Russell, has become complacent with his God given natural ability. His performance in his last fight against Gamboa was pathetic as he struggled to knock out a one legged fighter. Talent wise, Davis and Santa Cruz are miles apart. The question is, does Davis have the desire to be great? Even though he will win Saturday night, the question will still remain. Does Davis want to be great? I have Davis by a convincing 12-round decision as Santa Cruz will prove to be too tough to knock out.
Prediction: Davis by decision
Here is the full lineup for the Davis v. Santa Cruz card:
Main Card (9 p.m. ET/ Showtime PPV):
* Gervonta Davis v. Leo Santa Cruz
* Mario Barrios vs. Ryan Karl
* Regis Prograis vs. Juan Heraldez
* Isaac Cruz vs. Diego Magdaleno
* Michel Rivera vs. Ladarius Miller
* Jerry Pérez vs. Joshua Zuniga
* Kent Cruz vs. José Marrufo
* Julián Rodarte vs. José Morales
* Anthony Cuba vs. Leon Cavalli