By Huck Allen: Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz shall be going through former IBF/WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa within the co-feature bout in a light-weight conflict on the undercard of Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugas PPV on the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The favored 23-year-old light-weight contender ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) is preventing for the primary time since his shut 12 spherical unanimous resolution defeat in opposition to WBA ‘common’ 135-lbs champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis on December fifth.
On 4 weeks’ discover, Pitbull Cruz took the battle in opposition to Gervonta as a alternative opponent after Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero was pulled from the cardboard. Surprisingly, the smaller 5’4″ Pitbull Cruz gave Tank all he may deal with, chasing him across the ring for a lot of the second half, making it an thrilling contest to observe.
There was no query that Tank Davis deserved the win, however Cruz pushed him in a approach that he’d by no means been earlier than.
After the battle, Gervonta stated, “A star was born,” praising Pitbull Cruz’s efficiency and maybe setting the desk for a rematch in some unspecified time in the future.
Pitbull Cruz narrowly misplaced to Tank by 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112. In Pitbull’s battle earlier than that, he defeated the extremely standard former WBC tremendous featherweight champion Franciso ‘El Bandito’ Vargas by a one-sided 10 spherical unanimous resolution in June 2021.
Being given the chief help spot on the Spence-Ugas card will give Isaac Cruz quite a lot of visibility to construct his fan base and his opponent, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs), ought to convey out the very best in him.
There shall be some boxing followers that may grumble concerning the Cruz-Gamboa match-up, declaring that the Cuban Gamboa is 40-years-old now, having misplaced his final two fights to Devin Haney and Tank Davis, and coming off a yr and a half layoff.
It wasn’t a good battle for Gamboa, a real 126-pounder, preventing a large 135-pounder like Haney. There was an excessive amount of of a measurement hole for Gamboa to compete with Haney, who must be preventing at 140 quite than 135 within the eyes of many boxing followers.
In Gamboa’s twelfth spherical knockout defeat in opposition to WBA secondary light-weight champion Tank Davis in December 2019, he suffered an Achilles tendon harm within the second spherical after being dropped by the champion.
Gamboa confirmed large bravery and toughness and limped across the ring for one more ten rounds earlier than being stopped within the twelfth by Gervonta.
Regardless of Gamboa’s consecutive defeats, he’s opponent for Pitbull Cruz as a result of he was crushed in his final battle. It could be a mistake to match Pitbull Cruz in opposition to a harmful, related, light-weight contender like William Zepeda, Vasily Lomachenko, or Michel Rivera.
There are numerous gifted lightweights that the handlers of Pitbull Cruz may have matched him with for this battle, however they’ve correctly opted for an older fighter that he has a good chance of beating and exhibiting casing his expertise. They wish to flip Pitbull Cruz right into a star and probably arrange a profitable rematch with Gervonta Davis.
A decade in the past, the Cuban Gamboa was one of many hottest stars of the decrease weight divisions, along with his thrilling wins over Orlando Salido, Jorge Solis, and Daniel Ponce de Leon.
Gamboa’s profession fizzled out after shifting from featherweight to light-weight, a division the place his lack of measurement restricted his success.
After shifting as much as 135 in 2013, Gamboa instantly struggled, dropping to Terence Crawford, Robinson Castellanos, Tank Davis, and Devin Haney.
Sadly, Gamboa couldn’t return to the 126-lb division the place he dominated, however he may now not make the burden.
Sadly, at this late stage in Gamboa’s profession, he’s being utilized by the highest fighters at 135 as an opponent to draw consideration from the hardcore boxing followers that bear in mind the Cuban expertise from his finest years.
“The 147-pound bout between Radzhab Butaev and Eimantas Stanionis additionally will seem on the undercard, leaving yet one more slot,” stated Mike Coppinger of ESPN.