Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

By Boxing News - 10/31/2020 - Comments

By Jeff Aronow: Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions reveals that he’s not the least concerned about the heat that his company has received from fans that are unimpressed with tonight’s fight between Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and Leo Santa Cruz on Showtime pay-per-view.

Ellerbe says the only boxing fans that are criticizing the Davis-Santa Cruz fight are “haters” from the “Twitter” world, and they represent what the casual fans want to watch.

Davis looked really small and weight drained at Friday’s weigh-in, and Ellerbe better hopes that he looks better than this tonight.

With a price tag of $75 for tonight’s Tank Davis vs. Santa Cruz card on Showtime pay-per-view, let’s hope that Ellerbe is right for his and Mayweather Promotions’ sake.

If the Davis-Santa Cruz Showtime event bombs with the number of PPV buys it generates, it’ll be interesting to see what Ellerbe has to say about what went wrong.

It’s likely that Ellerbe already has a convenient excuse prepared with the pandemic going on and fans not having extra spending money as they did during years past.

That’s a lot of money for these times with the pandemic going on, boxing fans out of work, and unable to pay for extravagant things like high-priced cards involving millionaires like Tank Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) and Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs).

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

Davis will be challenging Santa Cruz for his WBA Super World super featherweight title tonight in front of a live crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Texas.

Ellerbe surprised at Santa Cruz’s size

“I was telling Tank was around weight three weeks ago,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe to Fighthype. “He’s been hanging around 135 or a couple of weeks, and he’s still solid.

“He’ll have no problems at all. The haters say that was an old picture,” Ellerbe said about a photo of Davis from a couple of weeks ago in which he weighed 134 lbs. “That’s Twitter boxing. I get it.

“Tank put himself in that position for those discussions. We’ve done moved on past that. He’s made the necessary sacrifices that he needs to do what he’s got to do. Tank is in great shape. He did it the right way.

“And he had a chef, and he lost the weight like he’s supposed to, and we have a big a** fight. He was extremely disciplined, and he jumped on the scale and did what he was supposed to do. It didn’t surprise me.

“It’s not a big deal because I’ve been saying it all along. That’s for the Twitter boxing, but it’s okay. He’s got a tough fight with Leo Santa Cruz. Leo was big, though. He looked big. Listen, he’s been in big fights before.

“I hadn’t seen him in a while, but he just looked big. So I imagine he’s going to be a lot bigger [by fight time], which is good,” said Ellerbe about Santa Cruz.

Leo didn’t look any bigger than normal for his fights. What made Santa Cruz look huge was how emaciated-looking Tank Davis was at the weigh-in, as he looked dehydrated to the extreme.

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz didn’t need to cut as much weight to make the 130-lb limit than Tank Davis. Promoter Eddie Hearn stated that he thinks Grvonta will put on 20 pounds by tonight’s fight by the time he’s finished rehydrating.

Leonard upset about flak from fans

“People always want to find reasons to discredit when you’ve got something outstanding going on, but that’s just the haters,” said Ellerbe about the criticism Mayweather Promotions has received over the Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight.

“We’ll continue to push forward and do what we need to do and keep our young fighters in big fights. It’s both of their biggest fights of their career, and both are going to put on a tremendous performance.

“Tank is in tremendous shape, and you’re going to see the best version of Tank that you’ve never seen before. I promise you that. Leo will try and do everything he needs to do to get the ‘W.’

“Whatever it takes, he’s going to lay it on the line. I expect nothing less from him. He’s a tremendous fighter with a big heart, and he lays it on the line every time he steps inside the ring.

“Anything that we’re doing, people are always looking for ways to discredit, and it’s okay,” a defensive-sounding Ellerbe said about some boxing fans being creditable about the way Mayweather Promotions matches Tank.

“Nobody is not going to tell me that Leo Santa Cruz isn’t a great fighter. I don’t give a damn what weight he came from,” said Leonard.

Ellerbe calling the fans “haters” because they’re not praising the choice of opponent for Tank Davis is a case of him shooting the messenger. The fans want to see Davis fight better competition than Santa Cruz and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Mayweather Promotions is too calculated in cherry-picking opponents for Davis to fight, and it shows that they’re worried about him losing.

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

Vasily Lomachenko has been calling out Tank Davis for years now with no luck, and Mayweather Promotions has steered away from that fight. With Teofimo Lopez having beaten Lomachenko, it’s too late for Davis to fight the two-time Olympic gold medalist Loma and receive credit.

A 23-year-old Teofimo showed more bravado in taking the fight with Lomachenko than Tank did, and that’s why he’s the new star in the boxing world.

Mayweather Promotions missed the bus in making the Lomachenko vs. Davis fight. They’re continuing to miss out on big fights with Santa Cruz being picked instead of a more talented opponent.

Santa Cruz will try everything to win

“You got to give this guy respect and credit for even calling out the biggest and baddest dude [Tank Davis] in the division [lightweight],” Ellerbe said about Santa Cruz wanting to fight Gervonta.

“That speaks volumes within itself. Do you think Tank is going to give away his game plan? All you know is that Tank is a tremendous puncher. That’s all you know. It’s going to be a great fight, and it will be a highly competitive fight.

“Tank is a pay-per-view fighter right now,” Ellerbe said when told that Showtime president Stephen Espinoza said that a good PPV fight for Tank after the Santa Cruz fight would be against the popular Ryan Garcia.

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“For anyone that Tank fights, it’s what it is, but I’m not thinking about the next step. He has a tough challenge in front of him, and Leo Santa Cruz is vying to become a five-division world champion and put him in a select company.

“Five other people [Oscar De La Hoya, Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Manny Pacquiao] in the history of this sport. Let’s think about that for a minute. That’s some great company to be mentioned with.

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

“He [Santa Cruz] knows what’s at stake, and he’s going to try and do everything he can to try and find a way to win this fight. And you got to remember, Leo Santa Cruz is the one that called Tank out,” Ellerbe added.

There are two plans that Santa Cruz, 32, has mentioned using against Davis tonight, and those as follows:

  • Brawl from the start – Plan A
  • Box from the outside – Plan B

Santa Cruz says if his initial plan of brawling with Davis doesn’t work due to him being too powerful, he’ll revert to Plan-B and box him from the outside. There’s no mystery about what Santa Cruz will be attempting to do tonight.

Leo Santa Cruz is daring to be great

“This guy [Santa Cruz] has already made millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. No, that’s just Twitter boxing suggesting those kinds of things,” said Ellerbe when asked if this is a ‘cash-out’ for Santa Cruz.

“He’s daring to be great, and he wants to challenge himself against the baddest guy [Gervonta] in the division [135] when you’ve been operating at the elite level for so many years.

“Our company has promoted 20 pay-per-view fights, and Floyd has been in 16 of them. I know what the marketplace looks like, and I know the difference between a casual fan and the difference between a diehard boxing fan.

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

“Okay, I want to see the biggest and the best fights out there too, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to put our guys in the biggest fights humanely possible for the most amount of money, okay?

“I’m not the least concerned about what the writers think and some of the fans because they’re going to criticize you anyway. When your focus is a promoter is that, for the fans, you want to put them in the biggest fights possible.

“The fans mean, worldwide fans. This doesn’t mean Twitter fans. So to be in big fights, you’ve got to be fighting big-time competition. I don’t have to call names out, but we’re going to put our fighters in the biggest fights humanely possible for the most amount of money.

“That’s what we’re going to do. What everyone else is doing, talking about, ‘Who is going to pay for this and who is going to do all that?’” said Ellerbe.

The payday that Santa Cruz will be getting for tonight’s match against Tank Davis makes it easy for him to “dare to be great.” Santa Cruz will come out ahead even if he loses the fight because it’s a big payday he’ll collect, and he can’t make the same kind of money beating the little known guys.

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has mostly been fighting lesser names since his rematch with Carl Frampton. He must get a nice payday tonight against Gervonta, even if he comes out as the loser.

Ellerbe predicts excitement from Davis vs. Santa Cruz

We don’t have those problems over here,” Ellerbe said. “Have you heard about one [Mayweather Promotions] fighter complaining about making money? Everybody has been making a ton of money, and they’re all in big fights.

“That’s what our job is, and we’re going to continue to do those types of things. Part of being on top is you are going to be criticized. I understand that. I’ve been working with TBE for 25 years now.

“We’ve had criticism over the years about several different things. It comes with the territory. You have to have thick skin and understand what this is all about.

“Operating at the highest level, it’s part of the process, and it comes with that, and we’re going to continue to give the fans the biggest fights possible. I know we have a tremendous event.

Image: Leonard Ellerbe analyzes Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz

“It’s a tremendous buzz, two excellent fighters that I know. This ain’t going to be like that fight [Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez] a couple of weeks ago. A chess match.

“This isn’t going to be sitting there with one guy; it’s not going to be that kind of fight. You’re going to have two highly skilled fighters giving the fans excitement,” said Ellerbe.

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Tonight’s Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight will be exciting for as long as it lasts, and who knows? Maybe Davis will be drained and won’t have the energy to fight hard in the second half of the fight.

If Santa Cruz wins, it’ll be huge for the sport of boxing. If Davis comes out on top, it’ll be business as usual, and there won’t be as much enthusiasm because he’s supposed to win.