Leo Santa Cruz cannot wait to disprove skeptics October 31.
The four-division champion realizes he’ll encounter the toughest opponent of his 14-year, 40-fight pro career when he squares off against Gervonta Davis. The powerful southpaw from Baltimore has knocked out 96 percent of his opponents and handicappers have installed him as a 4-1 favorite versus Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz recognizes imperfections in Davis, however, that have convinced him that he’ll pull off an upset in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at Alamodome in San Antonio.
“October 31st is going to be the biggest fight of my career,” Santa Cruz said in a press release Friday to announce the date and site switch of his fight versus Davis. “I’m going to fight a very tough opponent, maybe the toughest opponent of my career. Two titles are going to be on the line, and this will be my first time headlining a pay-per-view. So, I’m doing everything that I can to put on a good show. Davis is known for his power. But I think with my experience and ring IQ, I can break him down. He’s probably going to be very aggressive in the early rounds. But if I do what I’m supposed to do, and execute our game plan, I will win.”
The 32-year-old Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) will try to overcome Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) with volume punching, but Davis is one the sport’s most punishing punchers. The former IBF/WBA 130-pound champ has won 14 straight bouts by knockout or technical knockout.
Santa Cruz has won only one of his past six bouts by knockout. He also has fought at the 130-pound limit just once, whereas Davis has competed in the junior lightweight and lightweight divisions for most of his seven years as a professional.
Their 12-round main event will be contested at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds, even though Davis’ WBA world 135-pound crown also will be at stake. Davis and his handlers have assured doubters that he won’t have another weight problem when he steps on the Texas Combative Sports Program’s scale October 30.
“I’m looking forward to showing the world how hard I’ve been working in camp,” Davis said in the press release. “We are just a few weeks away, and I’m already in great shape. Headlining on pay-per-view has always been a dream of mine since I started boxing. I can’t wait to put on a spectacular performance.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.