Gervonta Davis initially indicated that he considers Isaac Cruz a tougher opponent than Rolando Romero.
The unbeaten Baltimore native quickly corrected himself, though. The more he thought about it, Davis couldn’t say with certainty that Romero’s replacement is better than the undefeated fighter he was supposed to face December 5 in Los Angeles.
“I think that it’s definitely a tougher fight, I wanna say,” Davis first stated during a virtual press conference to promote their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event, before changing his mind. “Nah, I can’t. I’m not for sure. I can’t say. I can’t say cuz I never been in the ring with ‘Rolly’ and, you know, I never been in the ring with Isaac Cruz yet. So, I can’t say. I think probably after I face both of ‘em, then I can answer that question. But I’m not sure yet.”
Romero has an awkward style and is considered a puncher, but Davis was heavily favored to beat him in what was scheduled as a 12-round fight for Davis’ WBA world lightweight title. Cruz is a big underdog as well, but he is an aggressive, rugged contender who has won 11 straight fights and has not been knocked out in six years as a pro.
Cruz replaced Romero on approximately five weeks’ notice, once a woman told police in Henderson, Nevada, that Romero sexually assaulted her at some point in the fall of 2019. Romero has not been charged with a crime, but the incident is under investigation.
Mayweather Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions removed Romero from his fight against Davis due to the seriousness of the allegation that was made late in October.
Though Davis does not yet know what separates Cruz from Romero inside the ring, the promotion of their fight has taken a distinctly different tone than the brief, boorish buildup toward Davis-Romero. Romero vulgarly insulted Davis throughout a cringe-worthy press conference October 21 in Los Angeles and made his disdain for Davis widely known.
The understated Cruz, who does not speak English, has taken a more professional approach to the promotion of by far the biggest fight of his career.
“You gotta adapt to, you know, whatever come your way,” Davis said. “You know, just the way I adapted to Rolly, I can adapt to, you know, Cruz. You know, at first I was like, you know, I wasn’t even gonna, you know, do interviews or come to the press conference with Rolly. And I adapted to that. You know, I knew what he was comin’ with. I knew what was his game plan, to throw me off my tracks. You know, and now I’m just chilln’.
“You know, I’m just adapting to the new opponent. Now I gotta figure what’s going on with like how he’s moving, like how he’s thinking, you know, when he come into the fight come December the 5th. You know, so it’s all a big part about me just, you know, adapting to what’s in front of me.”
The 12-round bout between Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) and Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) will be the main event of Showtime’s four-fight pay-per-view telecast from Staples Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.