The oddsmakers and far too many industry insiders are suggesting that Leo Santa Cruz will be cashing out in his upcoming showdown with Gervonta Davis.
Instead, the four-division titlist sees it as an opportunity to cash in on the balance of his incredible career.
“This is the type of fight I’ve dreamed of my entire career, really since I was a little kid,” Santa Cruz told BoxingScene.com of their October 31 Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner from The Alomodome in San Antonio. “This is bigger than my two fights with Abner Mares, and with Carl Frampton.
“This is a fight I’ve wanted for a long time. Gervonta Davis is a big name and a (rising) superstar. This is my chance to show that we deserve to be among the best.”
Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19KOs) has proven that on several occasions through the years. The 32-year old from the greater Los Angeles area by way of Huetamo, Mexico has amassed a record of 16-1 in major title fights spanning four divisions from bantamweight through junior lightweight. Most notable among his run were his pair of wins over Mares—particularly their first fight in August 2015 which established his marketability—and his rematch win over Frampton in January 2017 to avenge his lone career defeat six months prior.
Absent from his 14-year career has been that signature event to attain superstar status. It’s why he personally chose a fight with Baltimore’s Davis (23-0, 22KOs), a two-time 130-pound titlist and current secondary lightweight titlist who has emerged as a proven draw.
Both boxers make their respective debuts as a PPV headliner, where Santa Cruz’s 130-pound title and Davis’ version of the 135-pound crown will both be on the line.
The path to PPV has been in place for some time for Davis, whom is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and has long claimed the 25-year old southpaw as boxing’s next superstar.
By such logic, a win over such a fighter should provide the same profile for someone of Santa Cruz’s ilk.
“I have a chance to make history in this fight,” notes Santa Cruz. “The first Mexican fighter ever to win world titles in five weight classes. Beating Gervonta Davis will open the door for more PPV events for the rest of my career.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox