LOS ANGELES – Gervonta Davis called Isaac Cruz a “top 10” fighter within the lightweight division when asked to assess his upcoming opponent Thursday.
Cruz has a significantly higher opinion of Davis than that, but he obviously doesn’t view the undefeated knockout artist as unbeatable. The determined Mexican challenger expects to shake up the lightweight division even more Sunday night, when he’ll challenge Davis for his WBA world 135-pound championship at Staples Center.
“Gervonta, to me, he’s a very strong fighter,” Cruz said during a press conference at JW Marriott LA Live. “I consider him the best in the division. But he’s human and he’s not impossible to beat. My goal will be to bring him down a notch and show that I can be legit as well.”
Caesars Sportsbook lists Davis as a 12-1 favorite to beat Cruz in large part because the Baltimore native is one of the most punishing punchers in boxing. The three-division champion has knocked out 96 percent of his opponents (25-0, 24 KOs), the second-highest knockout ratio among active world champions, behind only IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterviev (15-0, 15 KOs).
Mexico City’s Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs), who replaced embattled Rolando Romero as Davis’ opponent on five weeks’ notice, has won 11 straight fights since he settled for a six-round split draw with countryman Jose Calyecac (then 5-2) in September 2017. The confident contender, who is ranked eighth by the WBA, hasn’t lost since Luis Montano (then 8-5) defeated Cruz by unanimous decision in an eight-rounder in February 2016.
Davis cautioned Cruz and anyone else optimistic about Cruz’s chances of duplicating George Kambosos Jr.’s success Saturday night against heavily favored Teofimo Lopez that Cruz will take a gargantuan step up in class.
“He’s saying I never faced someone like him, but he never faced nobody like me, either,” Davis said. “You know, it’s all different once you again, when you get hit in the face. You know what I mean? So, he can say what he want right now. It’s a buildup for the fight.”
Davis, 27, and Cruz, 23, will meet in the 12-round main event of a four-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View telecast. The show is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT and costs $74.99.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.