Santa Cruz plans on tiring Tank out and stopping him
By Jeff Aronow: Leo Santa Cruz has already got his game plan in place for him to defeat Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis on October 31st in their SHOWTIME pay-per-view clash at the Alamodome, in San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) will force the stamina-deficient Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) into a fast-paced fight, neutralize his power and knock him out with a high punch volume attack.
Leo isn’t certain that he’ll be able to handle Davis’ punching power, though, and that’s something he plans on figuring out quickly on October 31. If Santa Cruz can take Davis’ power shots, then he says he’ll stay in the pocket and beat him with his volume-punching and relentless pressure.
If Santa Cruz discovers that Tank has too much power to trade with, he’ll take action to the outside and box him and mix his attacks up.
Santa Cruz won’t let Tank breathe
“I’m going to go all out. I’m going to stay on top of him, breaking him down to the body, upstairs and everywhere,” said Leo to Fighthub on what his plans are for the Tank Davis fight.
“I”m not going to let him breathe, let him think, and frustrate him. I know he’s not going to like that, and he’s going to get tired. I think I can even stop him with volume punches. If he gets tired and fatigued, he’s not going to have any other choice but to quit. That’s why we picked him.
“We’re focused on this fight. It’s the hardest fight of my career,” said Santa Cruz to Fighthub. “For this fight, I’m training for three months. My dad wanted me to fight Grevonta Davis because he believes I can beat him.
I’ve got the skills. My dad wanted me to fight Davis, but now he’s not here. I’m going to train hard and make this fight for him.
“This is the fight of my life, and it could put me on the pound-for-pound list. With this fight, the sky’s the limit for me. He believes I can bat tank Davis, and I’m training really hard for this fight,” said Santa Cruz.
It sounds like Santa Cruz is planning on fighting Davis the way he’s fought most of his opponents during his 14-year pro career. That could be a mistake. We saw what happened to ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier when he attempted to use his brawling style against a young George Foreman in their classic fight in 1973.
Frazier wasn’t big enough or strong enough to fight that way against Foreman, and he was quickly taken out in two rounds. Santa Cruz could suffer the same fate if he fights Tank Davis in the same way.
Leo not concerned if Tank comes in heavy
“I’m a little concerned because he might not make weight, and then that might be an advantage for him,” Samta Criz continued about Gervonta. “Once we eat, he’s going to blow up in weight too.
“He [Tank] might go to 150. For me, the most I gain is seven pounds, and I’ll be 137. He’ll be going up to 150, and that may be an advantage for him. It’s alright.
I’ve been sparring with people heavier than me to get adjusted to it and feel the difference. He looks in good shape, and he’s training hard and motivated.
“People are saying he’s taking this fight really seriously, and I like that. Hopefully, he’s going to make weight. They say the last three pounds are the hardest, but who knows?
“We’re still going to fight. I’m not going to let it go because of one or two pounds,” said Santa Cruz when asked if he’ll pull out of the fight if Gervonta comes in over the 130-lb limit on October 30th at the weigh-in.
“But there is going to be a penalty if he’s one or two pounds over and for every pound he misses. We haven’t talked about it, but I know there’s going to be a penalty.
“Hopefully, that’s not his strategy,” Leo said about the potential of Tank intentionally coming in heavy to use it as an advantage.
“We’re going to try and get him to drop as much weight as he can and use the penalty,” said Santa Cruz about wanting to drain Davis.
Having a weight penalty as part of the contract will help Santa Cruz because he’ll make money if Davis comes in over the limit. Additionally, Davis will try his best not to come in over the 130-lb limit because he won’t want to surrender a sizable portion of his purse in penalties.
Neutralizing Davis’ power
“I need to take away his speed and his power,” said Leo about Tank. “I know he’s a powerful guy; he’s got 22 knockouts out of 23, so we know he can punch.
“We’ve got to be smart, not get hit, and not stand in there and brawl with him and get hit with those big shots. We’ve got to fight very smart and fight a perfect fight. If he’s strong, we’re going to move. But if we see that we can take his punches,
“A lot of people say that I’m scared to fight big names and big opponents, and that’s why we asked for this fight,” Santa Cruz said. “That’s why I asked for this fight.
“I want to prove to everybody that I’m not scared to fight the best. Who other than Tank Davis. He’s the next superstar, pay-per-view superstar.
“If I go out there and beat him, it means I’m really good, and I can become the next superstar,” said Santa Cruz about his goal of beating Tank to become a star.
Santa Cruz is going to have to stay on the move for him to neutralize Tank’s power, and it’s going to be difficult for him to do that for 12 rounds.
The main reason why boxing fans believe that Santa Cruz has shown fear when it comes to facing quality fighters is the fact that he’s waited 14 years to finally step up against a dangerous opponent in Tank Davis.
All this time, Santa Cruz has been fighting guys like Carl Frampton, Abner Mares, and Kiko Martinez. Those are decent fighters, but not in the league of the guys that Santa Cruz hasn’t fought.
Gary Russell Jr has called out Santa Cruz for years, and Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez have shown interest.
Santa Cruz has increased his power
“They hit me, and I don’t get hurt or dazed or nothing,” said Leo about him sparring with bigger guys to prepare for Tank Davis. “They get me with some good shots, and I can take them.
“Hopefully, on fight date against Tank Davis, I’ll be able to do that too. The punches are a little bit stronger, you can feel the weight difference a little bit,” Leo said about fighting at 130 at this point in his career.
“We just got to adjust to it, and hopefully, I’ve got a good chin, and I can take his punches, and I can make a good fight. I’ve been working on neck exercises to be able to take his punches.
“I’m getting a little bit more power too. My sparring partners say that I’m feeling a lot stronger, stronger than I’ve felt before. I’ve been doing exercise to get more power, and I feel stronger.
“Maybe he didn’t take it that seriously,” Santa Cruz said of Davis’ last fight against Yurirokis Gamboa.
“He knew that Gamboa was on his way out already. I think he slacked off. I think for my fight, he’s really concentrating. He knows this is a big opportunity to become a superstar and a pay-per-view star as well,” said Santa Cruz.
If Santa Cruz has really improved his power to a great extent, then he’ll have a chance of winning against Davis. Leo already has the superior work rate of the to, and he’s plenty tough as well. But what has been lacking for Santa Cruz is his power.
The way he’s been punching won’t be hard enough to keep Davis off of him on October 31. That could change if Santa Cruz has improved his power by 30%. With that much of an increase in power, Santa Cruz has got a great shot of defeating Tank.
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