Image Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Gervonta “Tank” Davis made the grade in his highly anticipated showdown against Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz last night.
With a crushing left uppercut, Davis proved that he is who Floyd Mayweather, Jr. said he is, the best lightweight/super featherweight on the planet.
In delivering the surefire Knockout of the Year candidate over the four-division world champion, Davis retained his WBA Lightweight title and picked up the WBA Super Featherweight title on his first PPV at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“Leo is a tough warrior and a strong Mexican fighter,” said Davis during the post-fight interview. “He came ready for me. I was just the better fighter tonight.”
Now both the super featherweight and lightweight divisions have been put on notice.
With title holders like Miguel Berchelt, and Jo Jo Diaz at super featherweight and Devin Haney, Rolando Romero and the now legendary Teofimo Lopez at lightweight the divisions to watch are now smaller than welterweight.
“I want to maintain both belts. Whatever decision me and my team comes up with, we’ll go with it. I’m not ducking or dodging anybody. I’m a pay-per-view star. Everybody knows I’m number one and I showed it tonight.”
The fight also made history ahead of a pivotal Election Day Tuesday.
It was the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since COVID-19 forced Premier Boxing Champions to a halt in March. There was an announced crowd of 9,024 that practiced social distancing as a template for future events.
Davis vs. Santa Cruz was also a rare clash in boxing history in which world titles in two weight classes were at stake.
Hidtorically, the 1988 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Donny Lalonde fight for the light heavyweight and super middleweight titles, and the 2014 Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana rematch for the super welterweight and welterweight championships shared that feat.
Santa Cruz attempted to take Davis into deep water during the heated exchanges. However, footwork and angles mixed with power punching by Davis led to the eventual brutal outcome in the 6th round.
“The uppercut wasn’t the key coming into the fight, but I adapted to what he was bringing,” said Davis. “I knew he was taller and crouching down and moving forward. Once he moved forward, I tried to jab and make him run into the shot.
“He was right there for it. He punches, but he doesn’t try to get out of the way. There was nowhere for him to go on that knockout because I got him into the corner.”
Davis landed 55 percent of his power punches to 29 percent for Santa Cruz. Ironically, El Terremoto was having his best round of the fight in the sixth round prior to the deafening punch. Davis lured the 32-year-old Santa Cruz into a firefight as 34 of Davis’ 84 landed punches were body shots.
“We didn’t get the win, but I’m okay,” said Santa Cruz, who was taken to a nearby hospital for observation.
With the win, Davis put the fight game on notice that he has arrived and Mayweather Promotions bet on the Baltimore native has truly paid off.