LAS VEGAS – Giovanni Cabrera considers this the perfectly appropriate stage to prove he can beat a top-level lightweight.

Chicago’s Cabrera conceded that he’ll take a step up in competition when meets Mexican contender Isaac Cruz on the Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford undercard Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. It is a challenge Cabrera cannot wait to prove he is prepared to exploit against an opponent who tested undefeated knockout artist Gervonta Davis three fights ago.

“I did not hesitate to accept the fight,” Cabrera told Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores following his “grand arrival” Tuesday afternoon at MGM Grand. “I feel like I’m paying homage to the old school era of boxing, where the best fight the best. That’s what this whole card is about. And I don’t need to prepare any differently. I just need to make him as uncomfortable as he possibly can be and just take away all of his power.”

The aggressive, rugged Cruz (24-2-1, 17 KOs) is considered the harder puncher entering their 12-round WBA elimination match, the co-feature of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).

The Mexico City native violently knocked out countryman Eduardo Ramirez (27-3-3, 12 KOs, 1 NC) in the second round of his last fight, a scheduled 12-rounder on the Andy Ruiz-Luis Ortiz undercard last September 4 at Arena in Los Angeles. In Cruz’s prior appearance, he stopped 2004 Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-5, 18 KOs) in the fifth round on the Spence-Yordenis Ugas undercard in April 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Conversely, Cabrera (21-0, 7 KOs) has gone the distance in each of his last six fights. The skillful southpaw out-classed Gabriel Flores Jr. in his last fight, a 10-round contest Cabrera won by unanimous decision.

The 29-year-old Cabrera will end more than a one-year layoff when he encounters Cruz in his first fight since he defeated Flores (22-2, 8 KOs) last July 23 at Grand Casino Hinckley in Hinckley, Minnesota. Returning to the ring on such a high-profile card has made this long wait worthwhile, though.

“I feel amazing,” Cabrera said. “I feel like I’ve arrived just on time to make some noise, to leave my mark in the sport. I think it’s no coincidence that I’ve arrived [on] one of the most important cards. I fought my way here. I beat more undefeated fighters (seven) than anybody in boxing, and I’m here to make a statement Saturday.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.