Showtime’s next pay-per-view headliner was not impressed with the performance turned in by his predecessor.
The back-and-forth through interviews and social media between Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and Jake Paul continued through the most recent Showtime-branded event. Baltimore’s Davis headlined a Sunday evening PPV card, edging Mexico’s Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15KOs) over twelve competitive rounds at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Judges Carla Caiz (115-113), Max De Luca (115-113) and Zachary Young (116-112) all scored in favor of Davis, in line with how most observers saw the lightweight bout play out.
On the other side are those who had Cruz—a late replacement for Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero—winning the fight or deserving at least a draw.
“I thought (Davis) lost,” Paul insisted when asked during a virtual press conference to otherwise discuss his recently-announced December 18 Showtime PPV rematch with Tyron Woodley, a late replacement for an injured Tommy Fury. “. He didn’t throw his… he hurt his (left) hand or whatever. He didn’t throw a single left and some of the judges gave those rounds to him. It doesn’t make any sense.
“He calls me a clown but he had a clown performance.”
Davis (26-0, 24KOs) visibly stopped throwing his left hand with mean intentions midway through round ten. The hard-hitting southpaw spent the final two-plus rounds fighting almost exclusively with his right hand. It was enough to win the eleventh round on one scorecard and the twelfth and final round on the cards of judges Young and DeLuca. Davis was already far enough ahead on the scorecard of judge Caiz to where even losing the final four rounds didn’t jeopardize his still unbeaten record.
For those who felt the late surge by Cruz was enough to win the fight, the decision going the other way was hardly surprising. The theory among those such as Paul are that Davis was given preferential treatment as a rising star in the sport, with the judges aware of his status fighting under the Mayweather Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banners.
“I thought he lost. I think a lot of people will say that and I agree as well,” insists Paul. “I thought they were going to give him a draw because he’s signed with Mayweather Promotions, Al Haymon and we know how dirty boxing is, how judges are being paid off. Of course, those close swing rounds would get thrown to Gervonta Davis.”
Davis-Cruz was one of six PPV events that Showtime will have presented by the end of this year. Two each will have been headlined by Davis and Paul, with the latter’s rematch versus Woodley airing live from AMALIE Arena in Tampa. It comes less than four months after their August 29 PPV headliner, in which Paul claimed an eight-round split decision at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in his childhood hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox