Rising star Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) will get one of the toughest tests of his career Saturday when he takes on Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) in a pay-per-view bout at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Davis is an undefeated southpaw who has won all but one of his 23 fights by stoppage. Still just 25, he's looking to establish himself as a bankable fighter who can dismantle top-level competition. Santa Cruz is a four-division world champion known for his stamina, chin and willingness to throw punches from the first round to the last. He's an underdog in this bout but should force Davis to work hard if he can avoid an early knockout.
The weight limit for the fight is 130 pounds. It's being promoted as a clash for the WBA lightweight and the WBA super featherweight world titles. A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend.
Here's how to watch from home.
Davis vs. Santa Cruz Fight Info
When: Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Alamodome in San Antonio
TV: Showtime pay-per-view ($74.99)
Live stream: Showtime.com or Showtime App pay-per-view ($74.99)
Odds (via Draftkings Sportsbook): Davis -770 (bet $770 to win $100), Santa Cruz +450 (bet $100 to win $450)
When we last saw Davis in December, he was busy pummeling a nails-tough Yuriorkis Gamboa to win the vacant WBA lightweight title in his first bout at 135 pounds. Davis scored three knockdowns in the bout and got a 12th-round stoppage, but those stats are a bit less impressive when you consider the 38-year-old Gamboa suffered an Achilles tear early on in the fight. Davis was never really in danger, but even he was a bit disappointed with his performance.
Despite the mixed showing, Tank is staying the course and taking on another tough veteran in Santa Cruz, who should provide an even greater technical challenge than Gamboa. Santa Cruz is 32 and coming off a decision win over Miguel Flores in November in his first fight at 130 pounds.
The Mexican native dominated at featherweight for years before moving up, losing just one fight to Carl Frampton, a result he immediately avenged. Santa Cruz is known for throwing punches in bunches and his seemingly bottomless reserve of energy, but he also feels that moving up to 130 pounds will help his power as well.
"For this training camp, I've weighed 148, 149," he said, per BoxingScene.com's Jake Donovan. "This is the biggest I've ever been. My body is growing, and I'm feeling much stronger at this new weight."
Santa Cruz will need to give Davis a reason to back off and not go right for the kill shot. He's taller and has a longer reach, so he can fight on the outside for long stretches if necessary, but the jab is going to have to be solid in order to deter Davis.
This match could be an opportunity for Davis to show some new wrinkles in his game. A protege of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the hard-hitting Baltimore native recently revealed he's looking to show he can not only dish out punishment but avoid it as well as he moves along in his career.
"As I step up there will be more defence, as defence wins championships, going out there and doing what I have to do," he told The Independent's Jack Rathborn. "It depends on the fighter too. Against a stronger opponent, I'd have to use more defensive skills."
Defense will come in handy if Santa Cruz tries to apply pressure and string together combinations. Davis' prodigious power is the main reason he's a strong favorite in this bout, but it could be his other abilities that get him a win against an opponent adept at going the distance.
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