On Saturday night, Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime Boxing will make a return to pay-per-view with a card headlined by a highly-anticipated title fight between Gervonta “Tank” Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) and Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs).
Davis, who currently holds a secondary version of the WBA 135-pound title, and Santa Cruz, who currently holds the WBA 130-pound title, will both be defending their titles although the fight will be contested at 130 pounds.
The event, which will be broadcast live on Showtime PPV, will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and a limited number of fans will be in attendance, a factor that has been missing from live events since the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year.
The 25-year-old Davis, promoted by the legendary Floyd Mayweather‘s Mayweather Promotions, is one of boxing’s brightest young stars. Known for his explosive power and speed, Tank has made a name for himself by knocking out 22 of his 23 opponents to date. In addition, 16 of his fights have ended in three rounds or less.
But while he possesses clear fight-ending power and often looks for the kill, Davis isn’t overly aggressive to the point where he throws punches with reckless abandon in search of the knockout. Instead, he’s proven to be able to remain patient, wait for openings to land big shots, and counterpunch as well.
It’s also important to note that Davis isn’t solely a knockout artist, as he’s shown boxing skills in the past as well. He has solid footwork, is a smart fighter, and mixes up his punches well, attacking both the head and the body with a variety of jabs, straights and hooks.
Perhaps one knock against Tank, however, is that he didn’t look all that great in his last fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa in December 2019. He scored multiple knockdowns and ended up scoring a TKO victory in the 12th and final round, but Gamboa fought most of the bout on an injured Achilles tendon. And while Gamboa was Davis’ toughest test to date at the time, it’s likely that Santa Cruz will present an even stiffer task.
Known as “El Terremoto,” the 32-year old Santa Cruz is a four-division champion and a battle-tested veteran with a record of 37-1-1. A winner of five-straight fights, he is far more experienced than Davis, especially against high-level competition, as he owns wins over fighters like Abner Mares and Carl Frampton.
Trained by his father Jose Santa Cruz, the Mexican-born fighter is rangy, but prefers to fight in close quarters. And while Tank is known more for his power, Santa Cruz is known more for his volume, as he uses an aggressive approach to get in close where he can implement his hand speed to rattle off a tremendous amount of punches.
By moving forward with constant pressure and implementing a high pace, Santa Cruz has been able to overwhelm opponents at times, although he isn’t the type of finisher that Davis is, as only 19 of his 37 victories have come by way of T/KO.
In this fight, however, it will be interesting to see what type of game plan Santa Cruz brings to the table. If he fights as he typically does–moving forward, fighting in close and throwing punches in large volume–for example, he may leave himself open to be countered, which would obviously be a risk against a counterpuncher with power like Davis.
Davis, meanwhile, always has the threat of his power that gives him a chance to win any fight. It’s imperative, however, that he comes out stronger than he did against Gamboa. He needs to use his skills and size to his advantage. He’d also likely be wise to avoid the phone booth type of fight that Santa Cruz typically looks for and instead look to move in and out in order to find openings to land big shots.
From the outside looking in, it would appear as if Tank’s size, speed, power and skill would provide him with a good chance of securing a victory, but of course, a tough, durable and gritty veteran like Santa Cruz who always comes to fight can’t be counted out.
In the end, a win would do wonders for either man.
If Davis comes out on top, he’ll continue his ascension towards the top of boxing and if Santa Cruz wins, he’ll add a marquee name to his resume and set himself up with a few more big fights to cap off an impressive career.