By: Hans Themistode
It was a mixed bag of reactions when Showtime Boxing unveiled their summer schedule. Although there were plenty of important and interesting contests, much of the boxing world was fixated on the ring return of Gervonta Davis. The hard-hitting Baltimore native is officially set to move up in weight to take on WBA “Regular” super lightweight belt holder Mario Barrios.
By and large, the overwhelming sentiment surrounding their showdown is that despite the weight discrepancy, Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) will be another knockout victim. In the mind of someone who has been on the other end of said knockout, he can understand the predictions. However, he simply doesn’t agree.
“Barrios is a great fighter and champion,” said Leo Santa Cruz during an interview with FightHype TV. “People are saying they don’t know who he is and that Gervonta is going to have an easy night but Barrios is not an easy fight. He throws a lot of punches, he’s tough and he’s bigger.”
For Santa Cruz, the news of Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) moving up in weight came as somewhat of a surprise. When the two squared off on Halloween night late last year, their contest took place at 130 pounds. Before then, Davis moved up to the 135 pound division for the first time in his career to stop long faded contender Yuriokis Gamboa. With Davis now fighting in his third weight class in as many fights, many have viewed the move as a continuation of Davis struggling to make weight.
With that said, Santa Cruz is taking a different stance entirely.
“I think that’s a great fight for Gervonta Davis because he wants to prove himself. He wants to be one of the greats. Barrios is a big guy but if he wants to be one of the best, he has to prove himself and fighting against Barrios will prove that.”
Much like the overwhelming majority of Davis opponents, Santa Cruz crumbled underneath the power of the multiple-time world champion. Yet, with Davis campaigning at a higher weight, questions surrounding his ability to carry his knockout power to his newfound weight division have surfaced.
Still, while Davis may fight at a lower weight class, Santa Cruz has a feeling that ultimately, those concerns could be moot come fight night.
“Gervonta Davis has great power. I think he walks around 150 maybe 160 so maybe the weight won’t be an issue.”