Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz a priority for Showtime boss Espinoza
By Allan Fox: Showtime President Stephen Espinoza says his priority after the lockdown in July is a potentially thrilling contest between Gervonta’ Tank’ Davis and Leo Santa Cruz. With the sport looking to start back up in a big way in the summer, WBA lightweight champion Tank Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) vs. Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) would be a huge fight.
If they stage it in July, other organized sports may have already taken place by that point and shown the ay of how to set-up conditions to make the Tank Davis vs. Santa Cruz clash a reality.
Although the former four-division world champion Santa Cruz has a lot of talent, he’s not viewed by boxing fans as a compelling opponent for Tank Davis. Fans want to see Tank fight Ryan Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz, Devin Haney, and Teofimo Lopez.
Santa Cruz is someone whose career has failed to take off due to his failure to face the dangerous guys like the following:
- Vasily Lomachenko
- Gary Russell, Jr.
- Miguel Berchelt
- Shakur Stevenson
- Murodjon Akhmadaliev
- Rey Vargas
- Daniel Roman
- Jessie Magdaleno
One real negative about the Davis-Santa Cruz fight is the fact that Mayweather Promotions is slating it for pay-per-view. Even during the best of times, it would be asking a lot of fans to pay to see the 25-year-old Tank and Santa Cruz fight on PPV, but this would be the worst possible moment to peddle this match to the fans. Fans wouldn’t mind seeing Santa Cruz and Tank Davis fighting on pay-per-view if they were matched against other opposition, but not against each other.
For example, fans would likely be willing to pay to see Santa Cruz face Ryan Garcia or Lomachenko. The same goes for Tank Davis. Fans would be highly interested in seeing Tank face Ryan Garcia or Lomachenko, but NOT Santa Cruz.
“It’s going to be one of my highest priorities. Tank and Leo is, I think, a really intriguing fight,” said Espinoza to The Shadow League. “Tank has really burst on the scene and sort of generating a lot of attention and sort of established himself as one of the faces of the sport. But Leo Santa Cruz would easily be his toughest opponent to date.”
There will need to be testing of the fighters, and they’ll need to decide whether this can take place in front of fans. If not, a decision will need to be made whether to wait until later to schedule the fight.
If the gate money is a significant concern for Santa Cruz and Tank, then they made need to wait until fans are allowed back into sporting events. Whether that’s this summer or in the fall is unknown. It wouldn’t be surprising if fans aren’t allowed to attend boxing events until 2021. In that case, Santa Cruz vs. Davis may need to wait until next year before it takes place.
If the fight does take place in front of a live audience, then it makes sense to stage it in Southern California, which is where Santa Cruz is from. The fight has the best chance of selling out if it’s staged in the Los Angeles area. It’ll also depend on whether fans are employed. If a lot of the businesses are still shut down by the summer, then it’ll be bad news in terms of ticket sales.
A lot of people are still out of work due to the pandemic, and we don’t know if that’s going to change by the summer.
“If we can wait a few months and maybe have a crowd that’s there to enjoy the fight in person, then all the better,” said Espinoza. “If there’s not a future that is foreseeable, let’s say, this calendar year in which we can have a crowd at that fight, then there’s no reason to wait, and we should get it done very quickly.”
Waiting makes sense for the Tank-Santa Cruz fight, but those two are going to need to fight someone behind closed doors if they want to stay busy. They should keep busy facing a fringe contender so they can stay sharp and get a payday. Even if it’s not a big payday due to the lack of a gate, it’s better than nothing.
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