Isaac Cruz catapulted himself into top contender status in the lightweight division after giving Gervonta Davis all he could handle in their closely contested Showtime pay-per-view fight. 

Davis won a unanimous decision with scores of 115-113 twice and 116-112 and outlanded Cruz by just a narrow margin of 133 and 121. 

Although the 23-year-old Mexican fighter Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) suffered his second career loss, he won the hearts of fans, observers, and potential foes moving forward. 

One such future adversary is Ryan Garcia, who is recovering from October surgery on his right wrist.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is inching closer to a comeback, as he’s already started posting videos of himself working out on social media. Although he was close to finalizing a contract with Joseph Diaz before the hand injury, Garcia has since made it publicly clear that Cruz is his preferred choice in a comeback fight because he wants to prove he can punish Cruz and put him away better than Davis did.

Davis said he hurt his left-hand midway through the fight. Cruz took advantage in the second half of the bout and started to clearly win rounds. 

"Ryan Garcia, JoJo Diaz, whoever. But if it comes down to them, I'm ready to take them on. Even if it's short notice, I'm ready for anybody,” Cruz told DAZN. "Ryan hasn't been a fighter that's caused any big danger in the division, he's more focused on making videos and having followers on Instagram. But if he wants to fight, let him come at me. Diaz gets my attention because I hear he wants to bully me, he says he wants to knock me out and that's why I'm there for him whenever he wants."

Cruz wants to ultimately leverage his newly found position as a top contender into becoming crownholder. 

"The world championship is something I have worked for almost 15 years. I dream and yearn for it. I want it to be big and I have no preference for the title. I faced a top-level fighter and he didn't give us that much trouble, thanks to my hunger and my preparation we came out the way we did so I'm focused on continuing to blaze the trail,” said Cruz.

"I have a great working team and we haven't stopped ... I want to fulfill my son Amadeo's dream in 2022, I want to give him the world championship and give Mexico a new champion."

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or on