In a unique Sunday night spot, Gervonta “Tank” Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) took on Isaac “The Pitbull” Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs)) in a 12 round, 135 pound Showtime Pay-Per-View showdown at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA for Davis’ WBA Regular title.
Davis, a growing attraction in the business of boxing, once again drew a sellout crowd of 15,850 and delivered a solid, if not spectacular, performance against a Cruz–who certainly fought to win.
Entering the bout, the undefeated Davis was on the heels of his spectacular knockout victory in a 140 pound bout against Mario Barrios. Before that, he delivered an all-time great knockout over Leo Santa Cruz at 130 pounds. The bout against Cruz acted as Davis’ first bout at 135 since 2019.
On the other hand, Cruz made his way to the fight on a tear of his own. Following a highlight-real first-round knockout over Diego Magdaleno on the Davis-Santa Cruz undercard, he competed twice in 2021 to earn a chance at a big fight.
Rolando Romero was set to face off with Davis, but with allegations of sexual assault, he was removed from the fight and replaced by Cruz. Although less notorious and much quieter, Cruz was arguably more deserving of the fight against Davis. He looked to prove that he belonged with the elite, while Davis was intent on adding another skull to his mantle.
On Sunday night, although Davis was victorious in the ring, Cruz did just that.
In the first quarter of the fight, Cruz looked implored to prove to Davis and to the boxing public that he was not afraid of the knockout artist and would in fact push the pace in the fight. His game plan was clear; work the body and push the pace to tire Davis and mitigate his power.
Meanwhile, Davis fought predominantly on his back foot, clearly looking to time Cruz with his patented left uppercut and check hooks.
In the fifth round, Davis began to score with more regularity. Namely, it was his straight left hand landing to great effect. Even so, the underdog Cruz remained toe to toe with Tank.
In the sixth, Davis again utilized effective footwork to maintain distance and box from the outside, counter punching Cruz’ aggression. Halfway through the fight, Cruz had certainly proven he belonged in a fight that could have easily been tied at the midway point.
As the seventh round came to a close, however, Davis picked up the pace offensively, with nearly each of his power blows landing cleanly on Cruz.
As the eighth round ended, Cruz landed his best shot of the night with a thudding uppercut. Emboldened by the round’s end, Cruz came out firing as the next round opened, landing a pair of strong shots. In the second half of the round, it was Davis again using his footwork to create distance and angles to score with a diverse attack on Cruz.
In the tenth round, Davis appeared to have injured his left hand, only throwing it once in the 11th, wincing and cursing after landing it. Even so, In the final round of a close fight, Davis boxed beautifully, only utilizing his jab, a check hook, and his footwork and defense to win a pivotal round without using his left hand once.
At the end of the day, Davis won a close Unanimous Decision over a young Issac Cruz whose stock is certain to rise following his impressive performance against one of boxing’s biggest stars. In the loss, Cruz also won the respect of his opponent.
“Even though he didn’t get the win, a star was born tonight,” said Gervonta Davis of Cruz in his post-fight interview.