Isaac Cruz is hoping to build off the momentum from his fight against Gervonta Davis.
Cruz, who is ranked No. 6 at 135 pounds by The Ring, hopes to make a statement at the expense of Yuriorkis Gamboa Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The 10-round bout will precede the main event bout between WBC/IBF world welterweight titleholder Errol Spence of nearby DeSoto against WBA titleholder Yordenis Ugas.
Both fights will be part of the four-bout Showtime Championship Boxing Pay-Per-View telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
Saturday marks a crossroads clash between Cruz and Gamboa. Both are coming off losses in their last fights and cannot afford another defeat if they want to contend in a very competitive 135-pound division.
Cruz (22-2-1, 15 knockouts), who resides in Mexico City, took the Davis fight on less a month’s notice after original opponent Rolando Romero withdrew from the fight due to facing allegations of sexual assault from a handful of women in the Las Vegas area, where he resides.
The 23-year-old gave an excellent account of himself in the Davis fight on December 5, losing a close unanimous decision. Cruz, a strong boxer-puncher, was effective in utilizing lateral movement against the unbeaten Davis during many points of the fight. Davis did admit after the fight that he fought with a hurt left hand since the sixth round.
Even though Davis was the more-effective fighter, Davis’ stock as a lightweight contender increased.
“I was a little surprised that the fight played out the way it did,” Cruz told The Ring Wednesday night. “The Davis fans thought that I was going to lose by knockout. No one gave me any chance to win. As far as I’m concerned, I ruined those plans that they had for Davis. I proved that Mexico has a new star in the lightweight division.”
Weeks after the Davis fight, Cruz was mentioned as a possible opponent for Ryan Garcia’s comeback. There were negotiations between Golden Boy, which promotes Garcia, and Sean Gibbons, who manages Cruz, but nothing significant materialized. Garcia ended up fighting and defeating Emmanuel Tagoe last Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas.
Cruz is open to facing any and all lightweights, those who are world titleholders, contenders, and even Ring Magazine champion George Kambosos, Jr.
“I’m not scared of any of the lightweights in the division,” said Cruz, who will be fighting for the sixth time on a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card. “I’ll fight Kambosos, Davis again, Devin Haney, whoever. I want to face the best. I just want negotiations to be fair. That’s all I ask.”
A win over Gamboa puts Cruz into the upper echelon of the lightweight division. While a world title opportunity is not taking place anytime soon, Cruz is waiting for the opportunity to face the other top contenders in the division.
Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) has lost his last two fights, but he is a former world titleholder and carries a high-profile name. Cruz is eager to make a statement and put the rest of the lightweight division on notice.
“We worked very well for this camp and I’m very confident heading into the Gamboa fight,” said Cruz. “I’m ready now for a world title fight and I can’t wait for that opportunity to come.
“I’m glad and satisfied with where my career is now. Saturday night, I will demonstrate why I’m ready to face the top fighters in the division. I will be a future world champion.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing