Boxing’s stacked fall card continues on October 31, 2020, with another championship bout pitting Gervonta “Tank” Davis (23-0, 22 KO’s) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KO’s). This, however, is not your typical championship fight.
At stake will be both Tank’s WBA “Regular” lightweight championship and Santa Cruz’s WBA super-featherweight title. Despite Davis being the 135lb. champion, the bout is actually being contested at the Featherweight limit of 130lbs. Davis is a former WBA and IBF super-featherweight champion himself, before moving up to the lightweight division in December of 2019.
The fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa was the first time in Davis’s career that he had gone 12 rounds. He did get the stoppage in the 12th round, but his win was heavily critiqued based on the fact that Gamboa badly twisted his ankle in the 2nd round and his mobility was compromised.
Santa Cruz has been competing in the super-featherweight since 2013. His lone loss came to Carl Frampton in July 2016. That loss was avenged 6 months later in January of 2017.
It is also worth noting this is the first boxing event to allow fans since the Covid-19 pandemic. Texas is allowing 50% capacity for stadium events. The Alamodome has a capacity of 32,000 listed for boxing events.
Analyzing Both Fighters
Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz is an intriguing one in terms of the matchup and the circumstances surrounding it. First of all, the face that the titles being contested are in different weight classes is something that I have not seen before as a longtime fan of the sport. The weight issue is the bigger one to me. Davis outgrew the 130lb. weight class, and in his last bout, it took him multiple attempts to make the 135lb. weight limit.
Moving up to a higher weight class, and then coming back down can be dangerous for fighters. I am genuinely intrigued to see if A.) Tank will make the weight and B.) to see if dropping back down will affect his ability to perform.
Leo Santa Cruz turned pro at age 18, so the edge in experience clearly belongs to him. Also, standing at 5’7, he is much taller than your average fighter at this weight class. He also possesses a longer reach than Davis.
Santa Cruz’s reach measures at 69 inches to that of Davis which is 67.5. Davis’s “Tank” nickname is one that is well earned. He is a short, compact, power-punching machine. He currently owns a KO percentage of 95%, and has knocked out his last 14 opponents in a row.
Gervonta Davis Vs Leo Santa Cruz | Fright Night in San Antonio
One phrase rings in my head as I ponder this matchup: Size Matters. Leo Santa Cruz began his career at 118lbs. as opposed to Davis who began his career as a super-featherweight at 126lbs. Santa Cruz on the night of the fight (unless there is a re-hydration clause) will most likely be fighting Davis, who will weigh as much as a welterweight (147lbs.).
Keeping with the weight issue, I seriously doubt Davis can make 130lbs. comfortably. He previously missed the 130lb. limit when he fought Francisco Fonseca, and even going up in weight still missed weight in his 1st fight at 135lbs. His preparation will be key this fight, because weight struggles will severely cripple him on fight night.
Santa Cruz is an all action, volume punching, pressure fighter. He is known for throwing “punches in bunches” as they say. He can often overwhelm opponents until they wilt. His signature victory in the Carl Frampton rematch showed that he has the poise to avoid a firefight and picks his spots when need be.
He will need to take that same approach on the 31st. He is the naturally smaller fighter, so going out guns blazing against a bigger and hard hitting opponent will be ill advised.
Tank on the other hand has to counterpunch in those moments, and try to impose his size and power on Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz should look to box, rack up points, avoid firefights and try to take the fight into the later rounds where Davis has not been frequently. Ultimately, I don’t think it will be enough. I think Tank will simply be too big and too strong. I don’t think Santa Cruz has the power to keep Davis off of him, and Santa Cruz isn’t Floyd Mayweather or Pernell Whitaker in terms of defense. He is there to be hit, and Tank is going to hit him a lot.
My Prediction: Davis by KO in 8
Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz will be televised on Showtime PPV on Saturday October 31, 2020 beginning at 9:00PM EST/ 6:00PM PST.