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Gervonta Davis wants to show the world he’s a PPV star

Gervonta Davis Leo Santa Cruz

By Dan Ambrose: Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis is going to try and show the world that he’s a pay-per-view star this Saturday night against Leo Santa Cruz at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) and WBA super featherweight champion Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) are headlining an exorbitant $75 pay-per-view card on Showtime. The fight is a test case of Tank’s star power, as it’s priced so high that only an incredibly popular fighter will bring in a lot of buys.

Unfortunately, the belief is that this card is going to bomb badly and bring in very, very few buys, possibly 60,000 to 75,000 buys on Showtime. If you’re going to sell a  HIGHLY expensive fight on pay-per-view, you’ve got to put two quality fighters that the boxing fans want to see.

Davis vs. Santa Cruz is not a high-quality fight that the fans have been demanding. Santa Cruz arguably was more popular years ago compared to now. His loss to Carl Frampton and his failure to fight Gary Russell Jr has hurt Santa Cruz’s popularity.

Gervonta Davis Leo Santa Cruz

It’ll be a good lesson for Mayweather Promotions to be a little more selective when putting Davis on pay-per-view. Instead of matching him against a shopworn opponent, who little more than a belt-holder at 130, Mayweather needs to put Tank Davis in with the best.

Tank Davis focused on Santa Cruz

“I’m one of those fighters that know how to focus when I have something big in front of me,” said Davis at the final news conference on Thursday. “None of the great fighters before me have frozen up when it’s crunch time.

“I’ve always been able to focus when big things are on the line. That’s what I did for this training camp.

“I’m not really focused on anyone who isn’t Leo Santa Cruz. I can’t overlook Leo. As far as any other fighter out there, they don’t matter to me right now. I’ll prove it along the way. This is one step closer to proving the point I want to prove,” said Davis.

Gervonta Davis Leo Santa Cruz

It’s good that Davis is focused on Santa Cruz, but it would be nice if he called out the other top 130-pounders and 135-pounders. Why isn’t Tank saying he wants to fight these fighters:

  •  Shakur Stevenson
  • Miguel Berchelt
  • Teofimo Lopez
  • Vasily Lomachenko
  • Oscar Valdez
  • Devin Haney
  • Ryan Garcia
  • Rene Alvarez

Tank Davis picked the weakest of the super featherweight champions to go after in Santa Cruz, 32, who long in the tooth and coming off of a poor performance against Miguel Flores. Santa Cruz fought a guy with 2 defeats in his last 3 fights in Flores to win the vacant WBA 130-lb title in 2019.

It’s great that Davis is focused on Santa Cruz, but that doesn’t mean anything. Davis isn’t fighting an elite level super featherweight, and he’s wasting his career with the guys he’s facing. In Tank’s last fight, he fought 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa to win the vacant WBA secondary lightweight title.

Why is Tank facing old shot guys like Gamboa when he should be fighting Lomachenko, Teofimo, Haney, and Ryan Garcia?

Mayweather: Gervonta to show the world he’s a PPV star

“This is a must-watch because you’ve got one guy that can jump weight classes and be up there with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones, and so many others that have jumped different weight classes and tested their skills, and I’m talking about Leo Santa Cruz,” said Floyd Mayweather to ESPN’s First Take.

“He’s relentless and a tough competitor. And then we have another kid from Baltimore, like a baby Mike Tyson, but wants to show the world he’s a pay-per-view star in Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis.

“This is a must-see because both guys are relentless. One guy is a hell of a puncher, a heavy hitter, and another guy will never quit with a will to win. When you got two guys like this with both with a killer attitude, it’s going to be a great fight.

“We’re never going to take anything away from my fighter [Tank Davis]. My fighter didn’t have to go to the Olympics, and as of right now, my fighter is fighting on pay-per-view for a reason.

“Tank has gone out there every time and pleased the world and proved that he deserves to be on that big stage. We’re not going to discredit my fighter [Tank]. He’s hungry, he’d dedicated, and when the time presents itself, it doesn’t matter who it is.

“Tank is going to go out and do what he has to do. Leo Santa Cruz is also testing the waters to be great, and to test the waters to be great; you have to do the same things that Floyd Mayweather did.

“I slowly gradually moved up and fought the best guys out there,” said Mayweather.

There’s a good chance that Tank Davis is going to show that he’s NOT a pay-per-view attract on Saturday when his fight against Santa Cruz fails to bring in a lot o PPV buys on Showtime. Any promoter can stick their fighters on pay-per-view if they want to, but that doesn’t mean the boxing fans will purchase their cards.

If Mayweather wants to build Tank into a PPV star, he’s got to start matching him against talented opposition. It’s not going to cut it throwing Tank in there with faded guys like Gamboa and Santa Cruz and expect fans to purchase those fights on PPV.

Mayweather’s philosophy regarding Tank Davis is, ‘If we build it, they will come.’ It’s doubtful that the U.S boxing fans will be eager to spend $75 to watch Davis beat up on a faded Santa Cruz and then watch a bunch of mismatches on the undercard with these fights:

  • Regis Prograis vs. Juan Heraldez
  • Mario Barros vs. Ryan Karl
  • Diego Magdaleno vs. Isaac Cruz Gonzalez
  • Michel Rivera vs. Ladarius Miller

Those aren’t pay-per-view worthy fighters or match-ups, and, sadly, this is the best that Mayweather Promotions could come up with for the $75 card on Showtime.

Davis is very marketable

Gervonta Davis Leo Santa Cruz

“Now we’re basing a fighter off of one fight,” said Mayweather about Teofimo Lopez beating Vasyl Lomachenko. “I thought Lomachenko was solid, but it was you guys that talked and said that he’s better than Muhammad Ali, he’s better than Floyd Mayweather. The professionals and the amateurs are two different things.

“He got a boyish look, he’s very marketable, but when the bell rings, he’s a killer, and that’s what people want to see,” Floyd said about Gervonta. “That’s the same thing when I was fighting at junior lightweight. The boyish look, but when I get in there, I’m real sharp. Tank is remarkable.

“I’m going to keep pushing him. Tank did the same thing that Terence Crawford did to Gamboa. Terence Crawford is a much bigger fighter than Gervonta. So he did the same thing he did.

“We can’t put Tank at the top of the pound-for-pound. He has to be somewhere in the pound-for-pound. And Canelo did something amazing when he was able to go to light-heavyweight [and beat 36-year-old Sergey Kovalev to grab the WBO title] to become a light heavyweight champion,” said Floyd.

Davis has a following in certain parts of the United States like Maryland, but he’s not popular nationwide. The reason for that is because he’s not been fighting good enough opposition.

Mayweather should have made the fight between Tank Davis and Lomachenko three years ago instead of spoon-feeding him soft opposition. Letting Teofimo Lopez be the one that beat Lomachenko makes Mayweather and Tank look really bad.

Teofimo dared to be great. You can’t say that Tank is daring to be great by fighting Gamboa and Santa Cruz. That’s cherry-picking at its finest.

Mayweather thinks Santa Cruz should be praised more

“I didn’t see him going up that heavy, and he did that,” Mayweather continued. “But as of right now, I have to put Terence Crawford as #1. Loma jumped up four weight classes, and Leo Santa Cruz jumped up four weight classes.

Gervonta Davis Leo Santa Cruz

“But I guess Loma is the real deal, but Santa Cruz isn’t the real deal. Just because Leo Santa Cruz doesn’t have a huge following in America, it still doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a huge Mexican background with Mexicans that are following him,” said Mayweather.

The reason Santa Cruz isn’t complimented the way Lomachenko has by fans is that he’s more of a brawler, and he gets hit a lot. Lomachenko, when he was at his best, was a technician, and he showed moves that we never saw from Santa Cruz.

The other thing that Santa Cruz has going against him is his less than stellar opposition that he’s faced during his 14-year pro career. He’s not fought the best, and he’s seemingly avoided talented guys like Gary Russell Jr, Josh Warrington, Shakur Stevenson, Oscar Valdez, and Miguel Berchelt. Yeah, Santa Cruz has a nice record, ut the fighters he beat were nothing special.

Santas Cruz’s best wins:

  • Abner Mares
  • Carl Frampton
  • Kiko Martinez

That’s a weak bunch of fighters, and it shows that Santa Cruz is more of a media creation than the real deal. Sadly, Mayweather has chosen to match Tank Davis against Santa Cruz rather than matching him against better fighters like Shakur Stevenson, Berchelt, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Lomachenko, and Ryan Garcia.


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