LAS VEGAS – By the time he finished fighting Isaac Cruz on June 19, Francisco Vargas’ face was a bloody mess.

Such grotesque consequences aren’t unusual when Vargas fights, but the bullish, shorter Cruz’s continual use of his head was partially the cause of the scar tissue around Vargas’ eyes opening up yet again. Vargas had smaller cuts above both eyes before another accidental clash of heads caused a gruesome gash over Vargas’ right eye with just over 30 seconds to go in their 10-round lightweight bout at Toyota Center in Houston.

Vargas and his handlers walked away from the ring that night with the feeling that Cruz is a dirty fighter, someone that intentionally uses his head and elbows to gain advantages. Gervonta Davis definitely has taken notice of Cruz’s tactics and issued a warning to his opponent Sunday night during an open workout recently at promoter Floyd Mayweather’s gym.

“I mean, anything he do dirty in there, trust me, it’ll turn into a dirty fight,” Davis said in reference to their main event at Staples Center in Los Angeles. “I’ll do the same thing, so I just hope he’s prepared for everything that he dish out.”

Baltimore’s Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) will defend the WBA’s secondary lightweight title versus Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs), who beat Vargas (27-3-2, 19 KOs) by unanimous decision to remain in contention for a title shot.

Mexico City’s Cruz is the WBA’s eighth-ranked contender for Davis’ title. He replaced top-ranked Rolando Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) as Davis’ opponent late in October because a woman with whom Romero was once acquainted accused him of sexually assaulting her at some point in the fall of 2019.

Detectives for the Henderson (Nevada) Police Department are investigating her allegation, but Romero hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Davis, meanwhile, is preparing for a different style, yet a comparable challenge to the threat Romero would’ve posed in this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.

“I’m really not a banger,” Davis said. “I mean, him coming forward just – it can be a lot easier, but it can also be hard, too, you know, because of him coming forward. You know, he use his head a lot, too, so I’ll definitely be watching out for, you know, that. You know, so I’ll make sure I tell the ref, you know, he come in with his head a lot, so I don’t wanna have no cuts and stuff like that.”

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