SAN ANTONIO – Floyd Mayweather didn’t attend the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz press conference Thursday, but he was otherwise busy promoting their fight on one of the most prominent platforms in sports.
When the focus of Mayweather’s interview with ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith inevitably turned toward a Davis-Teofimo Lopez showdown, Mayweather indicated it is two fights away if Davis defeats Santa Cruz on Saturday night at Alamodome. Smith made it clear he wants to see Davis face more dangerous opponents than Santa Cruz, but Mayweather staunchly defended Santa Cruz’s value as a pay-per-view opponent.
The retired superstar also argued that his promotional company’s franchise fighter isn’t avoiding anyone in the lightweight division, including Lopez, the fully unified 135-pound champion.
“If you guys are basically asking, Tank is not scared of anyone,” Mayweather said during an episode of “First Take,” which aired live Thursday morning. “And the reason why we are not able to make certain fights with Top Rank is because of – it just, like I said before, and I talked about this other day as far as so many belts, so many champions. But if we can sit down and come to the table, I think if Tank gets past Leo, which I truly believe he can, it may not be easy, but then we move on and we fight one more fight. Then, hopefully, a fight with Teofimo can be made.”
Smith demonstratively asked Mayweather why it’d be difficult to make a bout between Baltimore’s Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) and Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), who is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., Mayweather’s former promoter.
“Because it’s just hard to deal with Top Rank,” Mayweather explained. “It’s not easy, like you think it is. It’s not easy just to sit down and say, ‘Well, I want this to happen because you’ve got guys that are very greedy and say, ‘Well, we want this and we want this,’ when we know Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis is one of the biggest names in the sport of boxing.”
The 23-year-old Lopez established himself as the most proven lightweight in boxing by beating Lomachenko on October 17 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Lopez out-pointed Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), who was a 4-1 favorite, on all three scorecards (119-109, 117-111, 116-112) in a 12-round fight ESPN televised.
Lopez added Lomachenko’s WBA “super,” WBC “franchise” and WBO championships to his IBF belt. Davis owns the WBA’s secondary lightweight title, which he’ll defend versus Santa Cruz in Showtime Pay-Per-View’s main event ($74.99; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The 32-year-old Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs), a four-division champion from Rosemead, California, and the 25-year-old Davis also will fight for Santa Cruz’s WBA “super” 130-pound title in their 12-rounder. The contracted weight limit for the Davis-Santa Cruz clash is 130 pounds, even though Davis’ 135-pound crown is at stake.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.