By Chris Williams: Mikey Garcia doesn’t believe that Leo Santa Cruz made a mistake with him getting knocked cold in the sixth round by Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) in their fight last Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas.
Mikey sees what happened to Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) as an example of the kinds of things that happen in boxing. It just a coincidence that Santa Cruz threw three straight right hands, and Tank answered back with a left uppercut that separated him from his senses.
Santa Cruz, 32, fought a good fight, according to Mikey. The contest was very even going into the sixth round, but Tank landed the perfect shot to end the fight in that round.
Mikey says no would be talking about the three straight right hands that Santa Cruz threw if he hadn’t been knocked out.
Davis was looking to land the uppercut
“I was a little sad at the outcome. I was rooting for Leo,” said Mikey Garcia to Snowqueen about Santa Cruz’s loss to Tank Davis. “Props to Davis. He’s the real deal. He’s very strong and very talented.
“He fought Leo, who is aggressive and experienced. He was fighting very well. I thought Leo won several rounds and it was a very even fight up until that one punch and that really stopped the night.
“Gervonta was looking for a solid uppercut, and he threw it a couple of times and missed it. But that time he connected with it perfectly and caught Leo. Anyone that gets caught with that is going down.
“So it was a great punch at the right moment, and that’s all that happened. I heard people saying that he [Santa Cruz] threw three straight rights, and Davis caught onto that. I don’t think so. And I just think it was one of those punches that he got caught.
“When you’re in the boxing and things flow, there’s no textbook that tells you that you cannot do that. Would we be saying the same thing if he didn’t get caught with that uppercut at that moment?” Mikey said about Santa Cruz getting caught by Davis in the sixth.
In hindsight, Santa Cruz should have stayed on the outside, moved, and used his jab a lot more. If he had done all that, Davis would have had a hard time landing his uppercut.
In the final sequence, Santa Cruz did everything wrong. These are his mistakes that cost him the fight:
- Allowed himself to be trapped against the ropes
- Threw three straight rights
- Didn’t cover-up
Santa Cruz was fighting fine
“Would we be criticizing him for throwing three straight rights?” Mikey continued about Leo. “No, we wouldn’t. At the moment, I didn’t think it was a mistake by him. It’s not like he was dropping his hands.
“Leo was fighting fine. It’s not as if he was being careless. He was fighting back, he was being aggressive at moments, and at other times he was kind of defending.
“It wasn’t as if Leo was going out there and being reckless. I think Leo was still fighting very well, but it just happened at the right moment where Tank landed the perfect uppercut.
“Tank was naturally bigger and stronger. Leo still can be considered a featherweight. He did start at 118. So he could still probably do 126 comfortably. Now fighting at 130 against Tank, who already moved up to 135. Tank was just big and strong.
“Leo could probably never hurt Tank. I still think Leo was fighting a good fight, but he just got caught with that one punch,” Mikey said.
Santa Cruz was doing a great job against Davis through the majority of the fight. If he had a little more power, he could have changed the outcome in this fight, but he didn’t have anything to make Tank think twice about attacking him.
Why Tank Davis doesn’t receive credit
“The reason why they [Tank] doesn’t get credit is because they face weaker opponents,” said Garcia.
“That’s not always the fighters fault. Sometimes the management, promotion, and TV alliances sometimes influence who you fight. Tank is there to do his job no matter, but unfortunately, the fans sometimes don’t accept that. I think he’s [Tank Davis] had all the talent since he first became champion.
“He already showed that, but because he didn’t fight the right opponents, the name opponents, it’s hard to get the credit. Last year when he [Tank] fought guys that I can’t even remember their names, it makes people not give him credit.
“With this victory over Leo, he can put that on his resume and claim that he beat Leo Santa Cruz, a multiple world champion. So I really feel that they should give him credit,” said Garcia.
Mayweather Promotions have been coddling Tank Davis spoon-feeding him pablum for the last seven years. They could have turned Tank into a star by now if they’d matched him against A-level opponents, but they’ve clearly been reluctant to do that.
For Tank to become the best, Mayweather Promotions must take the training wheels off and let him be tested.
Teofimo Lopez is #1 at 135
“Right now, [Teofimo] Lopez is the man in the division,” Mikey continued. He holds all the belts. I know Davis holds a portion of the WBA belt, and Haney holds a portion of the WBC belt.
“Lopez, even though he beat Lomachenko, I think the best fight for Lopez or the most competitive fight would be Tank. Tank is strong, fast, confident. I think he’s got the better chance against Lopez.
“Haney might have better skills, but he might need a little more experience against top-level opponents. I’m not big on Gamboa. He was big ten years ago, but not right now.
“That’s why when Davis fought Gamboa, I wasn’t big on that. Ryan is the youngest and the greenest of the fighters there. He’s developing more experience.
“He is developing well though. He does have speed and he does have power, but there’s more to boxing than just power. I think he knocks out [Luke] Campbell, and that’s a good way to continue to develop that process in a fighter.
“Bring in a fighter like Campbell, who is experienced and had been at the top fighting. That’s the kind of fighter that a fighter like Ryan needs to develop.
“Gamboa was probably the better fighter during his prime, but now I think Luke Campbell is the better test. Gamboa is way past his prime, and he hasn’t been at the highest level regularly.
“I was surprised that he went 12 rounds with Davis. I thought Davis was going to knock him out within four rounds last year, but he didn’t. That experience from Gamboa carried him through. Those are the kind of fighters that Haney needs to get through to develop,” said Mikey.
For the time being, IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez is the top dog at 135. Until someone proves otherwise, Teofimo is the best at lightweight. Unless someone special comes along to dethrone Teofimo, he’ll stay at the top until he moves up to 140.