By Chris Williams: Promoter Bob Arum says he doubts the Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz fight will bring in many pay-per-view buys this Saturday on Showtime PPV. The organizers for the Davis-Santa Cruz event have it priced at $75, which is a number that could scare off many boxing fans.
The Davis-Santa Cruz fight taking place on Saturday, but there’s no buzz at all about this fight. Most of the attention is on the UK clash between heavyweights Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora. That’s not even a great fight, yet it’s still drawing more interest than Tank’s fight against WBA super featherweight champion Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs).
What could also hurt the Gervonta vs. Santa Cruz fight card is the skimpy undercard included with it. The co-feature fight between WBA Super World light-welterweight champion Mario Barrios vs. Ryan Karl is basically a mismatch.
“They are going to do no business,” said Arum to Badlefthook.com in talking about the Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz fight.
“It’s not because it’s not a good fight, but asking people to pay that during the pandemic, it’s ridiculous. The only way pay-per-view works, for forever, is when you can get a bunch of people over your house.”
I’m afraid I have to disagree with Arum on one thing. Santa Cruz vs. Davis is NOT a good fight, and it’s not worthy of being sold on PPV. There are guys that Davis could fight that would attract attention from boxing fans, but the 32-year-old Santa Cruz isn’t the guy Gervonta needs to be facing.
Santa Cruz looked horrible in 130-lb debut against Flores
If you saw how poor Santa Cruz looked in his debut against Miguel Flores last year in November, you’d know that he stands no chance against Tank Davis. Santa Cruz looked like a shot fighter struggling to beat Flores, who came into the contest having lost two out of his last three matches.
Dat Nguyen and Chris Avalos both did a better job beating Flores than Santa Cruz did, and those guys aren’t major players in boxing. By sanctioning the Santa Cruz-Flores fight for their Super World 130-lb title, the WBA tossed a softball to Santa Cruz for him to win their title.
Santa Cruz should have had to face someone a lot better than Flores to win that title. Since when does a fighter battle for a title against an opponent that has lost 2 out of their last 3 fights against fringe level opposition?
Naoya Inoue vs. Jason Moloney = Mismatch
Arum believes that the real interest this Saturday will be boxing fans wanting to see his Top Rank headlined by IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue vs. Jason Moloney on ESPN+ in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The Inoue-Moloney fight takes place on October 31st, but there’s been zero interest in the match.
I hate to say it, but no one is talking about the Inoue vs. Moloney fight at all, and for a good reason. It’s a terrible mismatch on paper. Emmanuel Rodriguez beat Moloney by a 12 round split decision two years ago in 2018, and he never avenged the loss. This is the same Rodriguez that Inoue obliterated in two rounds last year in May 2019.
Moloney is a poor opponent for Inoue, and he’s not the guy that boxing fans want to see Inoue fight. They want to watch him take on WBO 118-lb champion John Riel Casimero, who called him out recently.
Top Rank should have already scheduled the Casimero vs. Inoue fight instead of putting together the Inoue-Moloney mismatch.
If that fight were on regular ESPN, okay, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but that fight is on ESPN+, which is a subscription-based app. It’s not a free fight, and that’s going to be a turn-off for fans because they’re still going to need to pay to see it just like they would for the Tank vs. Santa Cruz mismatch.
Usyk vs. Chisora a better deal
If the fans have to choose between the different mismatches this Saturday, they’ll likely opt to watch the Chisora vs. Usyk match on DAZN. You get a decent undercard at least with that one, and there will be a little drama before Usyk wins.