Will experience win the day for LSC? Or will power take the W for Davis? ..
Before the dust has even had a chance to settle from the historic lightweight unification bout a few weeks ago, we will be back at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas this weekend to once again shake up the future of the star-studded division.
This Halloween Saturday, you can tune into Showtime on pay per view for a different kind of monster mash.
On one side, we have Floyd Mayweathers most promising protégé, the hard-hitting prospect, Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
Standing across from him, will be one of the most underrated four division champions in the game today, hailing from Huetamo, Mexico, the formidable warrior, Leodegario Santa Cruz.
There is much more than just the WBA 130- and 135-pound title belts on the line this weekend. This bout that has the potential to make a lasting impression on the entire lightweight division.
In one corner, we have the crafty veteran, who has been established among hardcore boxing fans as one of the hardest working and most exciting fighters in the sport today.
Opposite of the Mexican born Santa Cruz, stands the WBA “regular” 135-pound champion, the American born prospect Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
The American Nightmare
At only 25 years old, Gervonta Davis has already carved his lane in the sport of Boxing. After compiling a 206-15 amateur record and becoming a National Golden Gloves champion, the Baltimore, Maryland raised pugilist had his professional debut on February 22nd, 2013.
After a perfect 9-0 start, Tank met the legendary pay per view king, Floyd Mayweather, during a training camp for the former three weight champion Adrien Broner in 2015. Later in the same year, Davis signed with Mayweather Promotions.
Under the tutelage of the former PPV superstar, Tank's career began to skyrocket. In the beginning of 2017, at only 22 years old, he was given his first shot at a world title against José Pedraza, in which he dispatched of the previously undefeated IBF super featherweight champion brutally. Davis needed only seven rounds to hammer the former belt holder into submission, after a night spent showcasing a terrifying mixture of speed, reflexes and a type of power the likes of which is a rarity in the lower weight classes.
Since his inception as a world title holder, Tank has continued on a hellacious knockout streak, winning six more titles inside of the distance, and collecting the WBA super feather and WBA (regular) lightweight belts alongside the 130-pound IBF title that was violently taken from Pedraza. His last outing was against a once great, but now overmatched, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa.
In what some spectators saw as a shaky performance, Gervonta sat patiently awaiting an opening for his rocket launcher left hand, which he eventually found and increasingly loaded on throughout the night, culminating in brutal lunging shot that ended the former double division champions night in devastating fashion.
Tank has shown us that he possesses a kind of athletic ability that is so often coveted in the world of combat sports. His pure speed and reaction time are often overlooked, due to the most eye-popping aspect of his game, which is his ability to end an opponent's night with one terrifying, consciousness relieving punch.
Gervonta Davis has that blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of power that fight fans love and potential adversary's fear.
We have yet to see someone present Tank with much of a challenge. The only time he has been to a decision was in the beginning of his career, when he was fighting in six round bouts.
Few men have made it close, but not one has been able to survive a swim at championship depths against the Maryland native. Despite a respectably dominant career, Tank has yet to make that step from transitioning from an extremely hopeful prospect, into an elite PPV star. On October 31st, he will face what should be his toughest test to date.
El Terremoto (The Earthquake)
At 32 years old, The Michoacán born pugilist Leo Santa Cruz has established himself as a force to be reckoned with. Although his name is not mentioned much in casual boxing conversation, 'LSC' been known among the inner sanctums of hardcore boxing fans for almost a decade.
In 39 professional fights, Cruz has recorded 19 stoppages, captured multiple ABC belts across four divisions and only dropped a single decision. This lone loss was the result of a hotly contested fight of the year candidate against former IBF super bantam and WBA featherweight champion Carl Frampton.
Leo was able to bounce back nine months later, taking a more composed and technical approach compared to the proverbial bar fight that was their first meeting. The second time around was still wild compared to your average boxing match, but LSC abandoned the brawler mentality for a more disciplined style, where he used his length and work ethic to hand the Irishmen his first loss. While I take nothing away from Frampton's performance on the night. It is worth noting that Santa Cruz was battling on two front's, with his father, the ever-influential Jose Santa Cruz undergoing chemotherapy for spinal cancer throughout his son's entire training camp.
The main thing that distinguishes LSC from most is his ferocious work rate. Leo sets a ridiculous pace that few men can keep up all night. CompuBox numbers put him at #2 overall in terms of output, averaging a suffocating 85 punches thrown per round.
LSC does not accentuate on one specific ability. He does not excel athletically like many other fighters who have reached this level. He doesn't have the awe-`1inspiring speed of a Pacquiao, nor the jaw dropping power of a Naoya Inoue, but what he lacks in physical talent he makes up for with resiliency and a ridiculously high motor. It is not uncommon for LSC to throw over a thousand punches in one night.
The ability to maintain a furious tempo over the course of twelve rounds combined with the archetypal fortitude of a Mexican champion makes Leo Santa Cruz a tough night for anybody willing to dance with him.
Floyd Mayweather mentioned before that nobody really knows how good Tank can box, because nobody has been good enough to make him box. Leo Santa Cruz is the perfect guy to put this statement to the test.
The lightweight division is on the verge of becoming a modern version of the Four Kings era. Teofimo Lopez dethroning Vasyl Lomachenko began a race to claim stake in the supremacy of a division that has more prospective superstars than ever. This is where we're going to see if Gervonta Davis will be a part of this race.
As a huge favorite in Vegas betting odds, Tank cannot allow himself look past Santa Cruz. If he is unable to hurt him and take his respect early, he will be facing a relentless pressure that will wear down on him physically. If Cruz can employ that patented tempo without getting clipped, he could bury Tank on CompuBox and get a decision.
On the other hand, a big problem with throwing a hundred punches a round, is that there are a hundred openings for your opponent to land one. Against a fearsome knockout artist like Tank Davis, that could be ninety-nine too many.