LAS VEGAS – The original runner-up for the opportunity to challenge Gervonta Davis on December 5 has now secured that chance.
Showtime, Premier Boxing Champions and Mayweather Promotions announced Tuesday that Isaac Cruz has replaced Rolando Romero as Davis’ opponent for his upcoming Showtime Pay-Per-View fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Romero officially was removed from their WBA world lightweight championship match Monday due to an ongoing investigation into an alleged sexual assault that a North Las Vegas woman has told police in Henderson, Nevada, occurred in the fall of 2019 (https://www.boxingscene.com/rolly-romero-removed-from-tank-davis-ppv-fight-sexual-assault-allegation--161677).
Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) is the WBA’s number two contender in the lightweight division. Romero (14-0, 12 KOs) is ranked number one by the WBA and his rivalry with Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) generated more interest in a pay-per-view fight Davis was widely expected to win.
The 23-year-old Cruz also is a big underdog against Davis, a left-handed knockout artist from Baltimore. Mexico City’s Cruz has been built up, however, into an eventual opponent for Davis, a left-handed knockout artist who has competed in the junior lightweight, junior welterweight and lightweight divisions over the past year.
Cruz was the second choice of Mayweather Promotions to become Davis’ next opponent. They settled on Romero, who also is promoted by Mayweather’s company, in part because Romero’s over-the-top promotional approach would better help sell the event.
Romero, 26, mocked Davis and talked trash throughout their press conference October 21 outside of Staples Center. A week-and-a-half later, organizers of the event officially removed Romero from it.
Once Romero’s legal predicament became clearer, the 26-year-old Davis’ handlers turned to Cruz, an aggressive, rugged contender nicknamed “Pitbull.” At 5-feet-4, Cruz stands about four inches shorter than Romero and an inch-and-a-half shorter than Davis.
BoxingScene.com and several other outlets reported over the weekend that Cruz was the frontrunner to replace Romero. ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger first reported that Cruz had officially agreed to a deal to face Davis on short notice.
Cruz has won 11 straight fights since he settled for a six-round draw with Mexico’s Jose Calyecac (then 5-2) in September 2017. Cruz’s lone loss came by eight-round unanimous decision to countryman Luis Miguel Montano (then 8-5) in February 2016.
In his most recent action, Cruz clearly won a 10-round unanimous decision over fellow Mexican Francisco Vargas. Cruz out-pointed Vargas (27-3-2, 19 KOs), a former WBC super featherweight champion, by scores of 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92 on June 19 at Toyota Center in Houston.
Showtime has aired Cruz’s past four fights on “Showtime Championship Boxing,” Showtime Pay-Per-View or “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.