Gervonta Davis & Devin Haney Return In Lightweight Quarterfinals

This Saturday and Sunday two of the elite 135-pound fighters face off against opponents that could be considered quarterfinal matchups in an un-official lightweight tourney. Of course the winners won’t be fighting each other next or any time in the near future but it’s a start anyway.

Devin Haney takes on Joseph Diaz Jr. in what appears to be his stiffest test on paper streaming on DAZN and the following night Gervonta Davis and Isaac Cruz face off on Showtime PPV. Let’s hope we get at least one or two of the top boxers to square off at 135 in 2022 so we can begin the process of separation.

The world of boxing is filled with land minds as it pertains to making big fights especially involving younger boxers on different platforms. Last summer this ridiculous theme of “The 4 Kings” was circulating on boxing twitter.

Obviously a 5th king has been added from a major upset last weekend by the hands of George Kambosos defeating Teofimo Lopez. It was a mistake and downright silly to label albeit a talent-laced group of fighters who hadn’t proved much before Lopez beat Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Crowning fighters as the savor of boxing is always a strange thing yet we see it routinely on our timelines. The real 4 kings from the late 70’s and 80’s had to earn that moniker.

Most fighters as prospects/contenders are super hungry and call out all the top boxers in their division. Once that boxer has accomplished something they tend to look for the biggest fights financially and ignore the up and coming boxer.

Case in point Keith Thurman climbed up the welterweight ladder calling out everyone including Floyd Mayweather only to later brush off a bout against a rising Errol Spence.

Now Keith Thurman wants to fight Errol but doesn’t know who Boots Ennis is. Spence was calling out everyone including Keith Thurman but is clearly looking to fight guys with names and belts instead of going backwards. In fact guys like Ennis now on the contender level probably won’t be looking to face anyone too far behind him on the ladder.

Yes it’s true some matchups perform better at the box office once they are properly built. At times someone like Shawn Porter will take the B-side money and role to make a big fight happen but it’s very difficult for an established boxer like Terence Crawford to accept lesser status in a negotiation with say Errol Spence. Long story short it does seem like these 135-pounders will be willing to get in the ring sooner rather than later, to an extent of course. If Haney wins he has a great chance of landing an undisputed fight versus Kambosos given how much DAZN would invest and his willingness to travel abroad. According to Matchroom Sports promoter Eddie Hearn DAZN has plans to expand in Kambosos home country of Australia so it makes a lot of sense.

There’s a possibility if Gervonta Davis wins on Sunday his side of the street could offer enough money to Kambosos to make the fight happen. This boxing podcaster has always assumed Tank would face Ryan Garcia first because of how big of fight it would be here in the states and well worth the risk/reward at this stage. Early this year it seemed we were close to getting that matchup but Manny Pacquiao talks and then Ryan’s mental health issues stalled it. Haney and Garcia have always said they will fight in the future but if somehow Haney gets all the belts then it could be on a faster-track. As for Teofimo were not even sure he stays at 135 so he won’t likely be in the mix until these guys start to head up to 140 in the coming years. The darkhorse to rule this division is of course George Kambosos as he continues to fly under the radar even after his big win over Teofimo.

Wouldn’t it be great if these “quarterfinals” fights (Yes I know it’s premature to use quarterfinals as well lol) led to all 4 boxers fighting another “King”? In 2022 there is a case to be made that at least one of those fights will happen and that would be great considering the snails-pace that boxing operates on at times. If the Tank vs. Ryan Garcia fight didn’t happen maybe we could get Gary Russell Jr. or something interesting for Tank. Anyway let’s quickly breakdown these two fights for this weekend.

This boxing fan believes will see a patient Gervonta Davis willing to show his skills and wait for the knockout until it’s presented. Isaac Cruz is a runaway freight train looking to end his opponent at all costs defensively. Look for Tank to have a high guard when he gets close to Cruz and possibly some lateral movement in the early goings. Davis will circle/pivot as he attempts to pick off Cruz on the way inside. Once Gervonta finds his timing he won’t be boxing or moving on the outside for long and with the lack of defense from Isaac, it could be a relatively short night.

There is a possibility that both guys go to war in the trenches early or Cruz catches and hurts Tank, something Isaac is plenty capable of. We haven’t seen a more defensively responsible version of Tank since his bouts with Jose Pedraza, Jesus Cuellar, or say Liam Walsh. That could be the reason Davis decided to bring in Barry Hunter as his lead trainer having seen himself getting hit a bunch in the last two outings. After completely destroying Diego Magdaleno, Isaac went the full 10 and 12 rounds limit with Francisco Vargas and Jose Matias Romero, which is both good and bad heading into his most difficult fight of his career at age 23. However this fight is fought it won’t take long for it to be highly-entertaining in the ring. Skill, speed, experience, and power all favor Tank so you’re not going to see this guy pick Isaac.

My Official Prediction is Gervonta Davis by knockout in the mid-to-late rounds.

Devin Haney looked generally sharp in his last bout versus Jorge Linares. That was until he was hurt badly late in the fight. Haney did a smart thing by holding to buy time but it seemed he kept that strategy going for far too long. Which can only mean two things and one is that he couldn’t recoup. That alone could be a red flag considering the punchers he could face at some point in Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia. I for one don’t have an issue with boxers tying up when hurt but Devin decided to take it to the bear-hug level something that won’t win over the judges in a close fight at the top-levels of the sport.

Joseph Diaz Jr. is a quality fighter who has competed at 126, 130, and now established at 135. He’s not a puncher but he does have pop and can be aggressive in a fairly heady way. Diaz attacks the body well and has a knack for accurate punching in combination once he gets close enough. If Haney decides he wants to rush things and try to hurt Daiz without marinating his prey he could be in for a long or short night. This lifetime follower of the sport would be shocked if Haney didn’t stick behind his jab and trust his skills as the all-around better fighter. A sizable reach advantage for Devin is deal breaker as it will be tough for Diaz to get all the way inside to get his damaging and wearing shots off.

My Official Prediction is Devin Haney by Unanimous Decision.

Side Note: The Showtime PPV undercard is full of good scraps to get your monies worth featuring Ramirez/Marriaga as the opener. Derevyanchecnko vs. Adames will be a blast and the co-main is a can’t-miss between Sebastian Fundora and Sergio Garcia.

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio

2 thoughts on “Gervonta Davis & Devin Haney Return In Lightweight Quarterfinals”

  1. They need to throw Tank, Haney, Shakur, Loma, Teo, Ryan Garcia, Kambosos into the mix to fight each other and see who comes out on top, and give him ONE belt.

    • Tell that to the different promoters and broadcast networks who have little interest in whittling it down to one main man in the division.

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