Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz: Everything on the Line

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Legacies are on the line Saturday night as undefeated three-time world champion Gervonta "Tank" Davis takes on four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz in an epic headliner on SHOWTIME PPV.

It'll be a Halloween night thriller when two of boxing's elite fighters square off in a monster battle with two world titles on the line.

This Saturday, October 31, live on SHOWTIME PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, three-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) faces four-division world champ "El Terremoto," Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) in a high-stakes two-title main event. 

On the line are Santa Cruz's WBA world super featherweight belt and Davis' WBA world lightweight strap in this unique winner-takes-two-divisional-titles contest. This Premier Boxing Champions card will be the first major boxing event with fans in attendance in the U.S. following the COVID-19 sports shutdown in March.

On the undercard, undefeated San Antonio native and WBA super lightweight champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios defends his title against Ryan “Cowboy” Karl and former junior welterweight world titlist Regis “Rougarou” Prograis takes on unbeaten battler Juan Heraldez in a 10-round bout. In the pay-per-view opener, Diego "2Fuego" Magdaleno battles Isaac Cruz for the IBF interim lightweight title.

The Story 

From the humblest of beginnings, fighting through the foster care system as a child in his hometown of Baltimore, Gervonta Davis now has his eyes on superstardom. The 25-year-old "Tank" has all the skill and ability to get there but is looking for that breakthrough win to place him among sport's true elite. Adding a name like Santa Cruz's to his resume will push the Mayweather Promotions star to that next level.

Also from a humble background as the child of hard-laboring Mexican immigrants, Leo Santa Cruz rose to the top of the fight game, becoming a four-division world champ, through sheer hard work and blue collar grit. His will to overcome adversity is well-known and was fortified in recent months when beloved cancer-survivor father and trainer, Jose, battled through life-threatening bouts with sepsis and COVID-19. A win on Saturday puts Santa Cruz alongside Saul "Canelo" Alvarez as one of only two Mexican-born fighters to hold world titles in five different weight classes. 

The Stakes

At stake are the WBA world super featherweight and WBA world lightweight championships. The winner also takes one step closer to reaching his full potential as a breakthrough star.

The Matchup

The 25-year-old Davis has been called a mini-Mike Tyson and has drawn comparisons to other legendary names in an effort to define him as a fighter. It's hard, however, to hammer down what, exactly, is his style.

He's a southpaw banger with one-punch KO power in both hands. He's a quick, athletically gifted boxer, as well, who can execute some nuance around his power game. More and more, he's also maturing as a strategist in the ring, setting traps and working smart angles.  

His jarring two-fisted power, though, is what garners all the headlines. Whether it's a missile-like straight left hand, a wickedly sharp jab, or hooks-- upstairs and downstairs-- from both fists, "Tank" can put out the lights. To make matters worse for opposition, he's also extremely accurate, averaging about a 50% connection rate with his power punches.

On defense, Davis uses his quick reflexes and all-around speed to stay out of trouble. His prodigious offensive abilities also help to make opponents tentative about their own punch output.

This could be one of those fights that you’ll always remember. Undefeated Three-Time World Champion - Gervonta "Tank" Davis

Santa Cruz is a volume puncher by nature and, although he has solid power in both hands, is more likely to overwhelm opponents with punch output than blast them away with a single shot. Unlike most battle-minded volume punchers, though, he's not a one-dimensional fist-flinging drone. 

The 32-year-old is an underrated boxer and has added a plethora of old school tricks of the trade over the course of a 14-year pro career. He's adept at controlling the pace and space of a bout, maneuvering opposition into optimal placement. The ultimate objective for the Michoacan, Mexico-born, California-raised fighter is to have the battle contested at arm's length where he feels most comfortable and is most effective.

Defensively, Santa Cruz employs a high-guard peek-a-boo defense to pick off incoming shots. Just as important to his defense, though, is his ability to keep opposition at a comfortable, workable distance.

The Words

Gervonta Davis

"At the end of the day, the fans are going to win. We’re two elite fighters matching up. This could be one of those fights that you’ll always remember. Leo is going to bring the best out of me. I’m prepared for anything. We know he’s coming to fight.

"The winner of this should be up there in the pound-for-pound rankings. The winner takes it all on October 31."

Leo Santa Cruz

"It’s the toughest fight of my career. We’re facing a tough fighter with great skills. I know he’s going to come with everything he has and be at his best.

"I’m determined to go beat ‘Tank’ so I can say that I beat one of the best fighters in the world...This is a big opportunity for me to become a superstar...I believe the winner of this fight is pound-for-pound top 10."

The Breakdown

This fight is being sold, at least from the Davis side, as Gervonta's breakthrough to next-level stardom. That puts a lot of pressure on a young fighter, regardless of his extreme talent level 

Because of his ability, Davis has been physically dominant in most of his wins. But this Santa Cruz challenge is one that will probably take more than overwhelming physicality. The additional presence of Floyd Mayweather in camp gives a clue about the potential complexity of this high-stakes bout. 

Davis will try to overwhelm Santa Cruz early on. With his firepower and the fact that Santa Cruz is the naturally smaller fighter, there's definitely a possibility that an explosive early ending may take place.

But Santa Cruz is experienced, wily, and has shown himself to be durable. He'll also have a workable game plan, which will probably involve getting past the dangerous early rounds to take Davis into the proverbial deep waters. 

Again, physicality, alone, won't be enough in this one, for either fighter. 

Davis' explosive power needs to be tempered with guile, patience, and pacing. Santa Cruz's grinding, relentless offense will have to feature charge-stunting defense and confidence-crushing power to discourage Davis. 

Both elite-level champs will be facing the fight of their lives this Saturday and there'll be absolutely no room for error. Next-level stardom awaits the winner, but the road getting there will be truly treacherous. 

For a closer look at Davis vs Santa Cruz, check out our fight night page. 

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