Three-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and four-division champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz squared off at a final press conference Thursday to preview their highly anticipated SHOWTIME PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) main event showdown taking place this Saturday, October 31 from Alamodome in San Antonio in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Two of the sport’s most electrifying fighters, Davis and Santa Cruz will battle for the WBA Super Featherweight and WBA Lightweight Championships in a matchup that pits the prodigious power of Davis against the unrelenting pressure of Santa Cruz.
Davis vs. Santa Cruz is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions, GTD Promotions and Santa Cruz Boxing Club. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. The Alamodome has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. All fans attending the event will be screened upon entry and are required to wear a mask as well as follow social distancing guidelines. Tickets will be distributed in seat blocks known as “pods” to maintain distance between groups not from the same party. For more information, visit Alamodome.com.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday:
“My team and I decided to move our camp to Las Vegas so we could have a perfect camp. We spent 15 weeks in training, so I’m well prepared. Hopefully Leo is well prepared and we give the fans what they want to see.
“We know Leo is going to come with a lot of punches and I’m going to be explosive. It’s all about giving fans a treat. I’m grateful to be in this position and I’m ready. Saturday night is going to be a memorable night.
“Not to take anything from him, Yuriorkis Gamboa was just trying to survive against me. It’s harder to get punches off when someone isn’t trying to bring the fight. I know Leo is going to come to fight. I think this performance is going to put me up to the next level.
“I don’t think I have to knock him out, I just have to go out there and be great. Forget everything else, I just have to go out there and show everyone that I’m the top guy in the boxing world. That’s my main goal.
“Michael Jordan used to read the paper and do what they said he couldn’t do. That’s what I’m doing. I have to prove that I’m the baddest man in the sport on Saturday night.
“Leo is going to come to fight and it’s just about me stepping up and doing what I do best. You can see the potential in a fighter from the outside, but you have to see it actually come out in a fight to believe it. That’s the position I’m in. Everyone knows I’m great, I just have to show it.
“Leo has shown that he’s a top tier fighter, and he’s going up against an explosive, powerful fighter like myself. I think the winner should be in the top 10 of the pound-for-pound list.
“Floyd Mayweather has just told me to stay focused despite everything that comes with pay-per-view week. I have to get the job done first, but also do everything that comes with being the next pay-per-view star.
“I’m one of those fighters that knows how to focus when I have something big in front of me. None of the great fighters before me have frozen up when it’s crunch time. I’ve always been able to focus when big things are on the line. That’s what I did for this training camp.
“I’m not really focused on anyone who isn’t Leo Santa Cruz. I can’t overlook Leo. As far as any other fighter out there, they just don’t matter to me right now. I’ll prove it along the way. This is one step closer to proving the point I want to prove.”
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“This is what I’ve always dreamed of. When I was a little boy, I wanted to be on this stage. I’m living that dream and I’m very happy and excited. I never thought I’d accomplish it. I thought it was like winning the lottery. But thanks to the fans, I’m here where I’m at.
“I’m facing the best fighter in the division. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I have to go against the best fighter. I wanted to challenge myself. I know this is a dangerous fight for me, but I want to test myself.
“We’ve both suffered and been through a lot to get here. Neither of us wants to go back to where we started. So I know we’re both going to give a great fight to the fans.
“I have the heart of a Mexican warrior. My dad has told me to fight a smart fight, but even though he’s going to say that, there’s a good chance I end up brawling with him at times. No matter what, we’re going to find a way to beat him.
“I don’t really worry about being the underdog. Everyone has their opinion. It’s my job to go out there and prove the doubters wrong. I trained hard to go out there and do that Saturday.
“Gervonta is the best opponent I’ve faced. He’s the strongest fighter I’ll have faced. The Abner Mares and Carl Frampton fights were great experience for this kind of fight. I learned a lot from those four fights and since then I’ve learned a lot more.
“It would mean the world to me to become a five-division champion. It would be another dream come true. I would put the Santa Cruz last name right up there with the best.
“Gervonta is a big guy and I know he’s going to come hit hard. But I’ve trained with bigger guys all camp and I’ve been able to take everything thrown at me.
“The fans want you to go and make it a back and forth war. I know against Gervonta I have to fight smart. I’m going to just try as hard as I can to listen to my father’s advice.
“I definitely took this fight to quiet the critics. People said I didn’t want to fight the big names. So I went after the biggest challenge in the division and that’s Gervonta Davis.
“I leave the opinions to the fans and media. My job is to get the win and give the fans a great fight. I’m going to give it my best and leave it all in the ring.”
CALVIN FORD, Davis’ Trainer
“Camp has been great. It was unbelievable. I really appreciate the work that he put in. I can’t wait to see Tank in the ring. I’m looking forward to great performances from both fighters.
“‘Tank’ accomplished a lot of things that I’ve asked him to do, but this is the pinnacle of them all right here. Both of these families have walked the same line with different trails. They both have a chance to become greats with this win.
“Every time I look at ‘Tank’ now, I flash back to those younger years in the gym with him as a child. Now he’s the man I’ve always looked at him to be. He’s a family man, business man and a wonderful fighter. It’s amazing to see one of my boys all grown up.”
JOSÉ SANTA CRUZ, Santa Cruz’s Father and Trainer
“We had a really good training camp and understand the importance of this fight. Leo is fully prepared for this fight on Saturday and I expect him to have a great performance.
“I’m very thankful to be here. I’m so happy to be here with my son for such a big fight and be able to guide him and help him accomplish his dream.
“We know that Davis is a very strong and accomplished fighter. But Leo has just used it to motivate him in the gym every day and you’ll be able to see that on Saturday.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
“One of the biggest reasons I love boxing is because we get to witness young men, like ‘Tank’ Davis and Leo Santa Cruz, develop and mature right in front of our eyes. This is our ninth fight with ‘Tank’ and 13th with Leo. We have seen them mature as fighters and we have seen them mature as young men. We’ve seen them struggle, sweat, and triumph. We’ve seen them become fathers.”
“I remember the first time I met ‘Tank’, it was April 2016 in Washington, D.C. He was on the non-televised undercard of an Adrien Broner fight. He had already fought, he came over during the telecast and Floyd introduced him. I remember his very words, ‘This is my young fighter. Watch out for this kid.’ And we’ve been watching ever since.
“I remember the first time I met Leo was in June 2012. Shortly before his first world title fight. He was a very humble, quiet, soft spoken, almost shy young men. Very different from the guy that I saw in the ring about 48 hours after that. The point is, we’ve been along for the journey of these young men.
“They have been battling the odds, literally since birth. We were lucky enough to spend time with them during ALL ACCESS. They opened their hearts, their minds, and themselves to share their stories. The thing I’ve heard most is that the difficulty about this fight is not whether people want to watch it or whether they’re going to buy it, it’s who they’re going to root for. Because if you know these young men’s stories, what they’ve gone through, and what they’ve experienced, it is incredible.
“The bottom line is in these two young men we have two of the most accomplished and popular young fighters in the sport today. Leo has been a champion almost consistently since 2012. ‘Tank’ had sellouts or near sellouts in Los Angeles, Baltimore and Atlanta, just last year. We have got these two accomplished young men fighting on Saturday night. You have to respect their journey, where they come from, and respect the teams that come around him.
“We do know what’s going to happen on Saturday night. Leo is going to come into the ring, throw a lot of punches and show an activity rate that’s unlike just about anybody else in the sport. ‘Tank’ is going to show the power, speed, and the athleticism that has made him one of the fastest rising young stars that we’ve seen in sport in some time. Beyond that, it will be up to them, just like it’s been up to them for their entire lives.”