The commendable performance that invigorated Isaac Cruz’s career still makes him think about what he could’ve done better.

The Mexican lightweight contender is proud of how he pushed Gervonta Davis the night of December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. He just wishes he had been even more aggressive against Davis, who was forced to fight off of his back foot more than usual during their highly competitive, 12-round, 135-pound championship clash.

Cruz ended Davis’ 16-fight knockout streak and became just the second opponent of Davis’ career to take him the distance. No opponent prior to Cruz had gone 12 rounds with the Baltimore native.

The prevailing feeling among boxing fans and those involved in the industry is that Cruz gave Davis the toughest fight of his pro career. Cruz suspects the scores would’ve been different from 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 for Davis had he pushed the pace more than he did during their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.

“I wish I had pressured more against Gervonta Davis,” Cruz said through a translator during a recent virtual press conference to promote his upcoming fight with Yuriorkis Gamboa. “If I had knocked him down, I think it would have been a different story and it would have been me with my hand raised.”

That regret notwithstanding, Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) appreciates how his close loss to Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) has bolstered his profile. It made him the “A” side of a Showtime Pay-Per-View co-feature against Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) on the Errol Spence Jr.-Yordenis Ugas undercard April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“Everything that happened in the Davis fight has made me better,” Cruz said. “My profile is definitely raised, but it has not gone to my head. I’m only focused on giving the fans the show that they crave, and I know that I’m capable of giving them that.”

The 23-year-old Cruz recognizes that a victory over Gamboa could eventually help land him another lightweight title shot. The Mexico City native intends to apply what he learned when he shared the ring with Davis while battling Gamboa, whom Davis stopped in the 12th round of their December 2019 bout at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

“I learned a valuable lesson from the Davis fight,” Cruz said. “I learned that I need to be focused inside the fight at every moment. I’m going to show people that I’m the Mexican fighter that can rule the 135-pound division.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.