NEW YORK — Three-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and four-division world champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz will square off in a Halloween thriller for the WBA Super Featherweight and WBA Lightweight Championships live on SHOWTIME PPV Saturday, October 31 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The four-fight pay-per-view card will be the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since COVID-19 forced a halt to U.S. sports in March.
The stacked undercard will feature unbeaten San Antonio native and WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios defending his title against hard-hitting Ryan “Cowboy” Karl in the co-main event and former super lightweight world champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will take on unbeaten contender Juan Heraldez in a 10-round showdown. In the telecast opener, lightweight contenders Isaac Cruz and Diego Magdaleno will battle in an IBF title eliminator bout.
The highly anticipated main event will be contested at 130-pounds and will be fought for both Santa Cruz’s 130-pound title and Davis’ 135-pound title, which they each won in their previous fight. Two crowd favorites with massive followings, Davis vs. Santa Cruz is an all-action style matchup, with Davis owning a .957 knockout rate, while Santa Cruz is long established as one of the busiest punchers and best pressure fighters in the sport.
Davis vs. Santa Cruz will be a rare clash in boxing history in which world titles in two weight classes will be at stake. Other notable instances in recent boxing history are the 1988 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Donny Lalonde fight for the light heavyweight and super middleweight titles, and the 2014 Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana rematch for the super welterweight and welterweight championships.
“I’m looking forward to showing the world how hard I’ve been working in camp,” said Davis. “We are just a few weeks away, and I’m already in great shape. Headlining on pay-per-view has always been a dream of mine since I started boxing. I can’t wait to put on a spectacular performance against multiple division world champion Leo Santa Cruz. Thank you to my team, SHOWTIME, Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions, and all my fans worldwide. Keep supporting me and I’ll fight for you.”
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“October 31 is going to be the biggest fight of my career,” said Santa Cruz. “I’m going to fight a very tough opponent, maybe the toughest opponent of my career. Two titles are going to be on the line, and this will be my first time headlining a pay-per-view. So I’m going to do everything that I can to put on a good show. Davis is known for his power. But I think with my experience and ring IQ I can break him down. He’s probably going to be very aggressive in the early rounds. But if I do what I’m supposed to, and execute our game plan, I will win.”
The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions, GTD Promotions and Santa Cruz Boxing Club.
“This fight between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz is such a great fight that we had to have it with fans, which will be a first for a major boxing event since COVID-19 started,” said Floyd Mayweather, President of Mayweather Promotions and a 12-time, five-division world champion. “Tank’ Davis is a special talent, a super skilled fighter and I have been in the gym regularly to watch and help him prepare for a tough opponent in Santa Cruz, who we all know always comes in shape and ready to fight. It’s going to be a great night for Mayweather Promotions, for boxing and for sports. The best fighting the best is all we can ask for.”
“We continue with the tradition of offering boxing fans the best matchups in the hottest divisions, pitting the best versus the best,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Tank Davis facing Leo Santa Cruz is one of the most exciting matchups of the year. You have a young, hungry star with devastating power in Davis and an experienced and absolutely relentless four-division champ looking to conquer a title in a fifth division. This is the type of matchup boxing fans have waited the entire year to watch. Two superstars in their toughest matchup to date battling for titles in two weight divisions at the same time.”
“Gervonta Davis is the most exciting fighter in the sport, and he’s set to headline his first pay-per-view card and set the world on fire,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “He’s up against an experienced, four-division world champion in Leo Santa Cruz, who is looking to take him down and hand him his first L on October 31.”
“Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz is one of the best matchups that can be made in boxing, with each fighter in position to score a career-defining victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “We’re excited to bring a historic showdown with world titles in two weight classes on the line to fans at the Alamodome. Davis vs. Santa Cruz presents a fascinating clash of styles, with Santa Cruz’s relentless pressure against Davis’ fight-changing power. Adding in three high-stakes undercard attractions, this pay-per-view is lined up to present drama in the ring from start to finish.”
Tickets will go on sale Monday, October 5 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. This is the first major boxing event with fans in attendance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. in March. The Alamodome has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan to protect against the spread of the virus. 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.
“The Alamodome is excited to host the Davis vs. Santa Cruz SHOWTIME PPV event and to bring these athletes to San Antonio,” said Steve Zito, General Manager, Alamodome. “Not only is this a great platform for these athletes and their fans, but the event will also spotlight San Antonio through nationally televised matches and generate economic impact for our community during these challenging times.”
Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) burst onto the scene with an explosive knockout victory over Jose Pedraza to win the IBF Junior Lightweight World Title in a star-making performance on SHOWTIME® in January 2017. At the time, he became the youngest world champion in boxing at age 22. In the ring, Davis blends controlled aggression with blazing hand and foot speed, eye-catching power and sublime boxing skills. The dynamic combination of skills has made Davis a fan-favorite who filled arenas in Atlanta, Ga., and his hometown of Baltimore, Md., last year.
The 25-year-old began his 2019 with a knockout of Hugo Ruiz in February, before scoring a second-round stoppage of Ricardo Núñez in his homecoming fight in July. Davis closed out the year by capturing his lightweight title via 12th round TKO of former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in December. Davis also owns a title-winning performance in which he dominated former champion Jesus Cuellar to capture the WBA 130-pound belt in 2018. Under the guidance of Mayweather Promotions, Davis will look to further improve his impressive portfolio with another title-winning performance in his first pay-per-view main event.
Fighting out of Los Angeles, Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) made his debut at super featherweight last November by defeating Miguel Flores to capture the WBA title. Santa Cruz has made his name in the sport by engaging in numerous Fight of the Year contenders, including two thrilling featherweight title duels against four-time champion Abner Mares and two-division champion Carl Frampton each. He lost his featherweight title in his first match against Frampton in 2016, but reclaimed it in their rematch the following year.
The 32-year-old has competed in title bouts in 17 of his last 19 fights, while picking up belts at 118, 122, 126 and 130-pounds. The 130-pound title made Santa Cruz just the fifth fighter of Mexican descent to win titles in four weight classes, joining Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales, Jorge Arce and Mikey Garcia. Santa Cruz was introduced to the sport and trained throughout his career by his father Jose, along with his brothers Jose Armando, a former lightweight contender, and Antonio. Santa Cruz will look to become a five-division champion in his first pay-per-view headliner.
The 25-year-old Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) will be making the first defense of his world title in his hometown of San Antonio. Barrios captured his 140-pound title in his last fight in September 2019, earning a hard-fought unanimous decision over then-unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov, dropping him twice and fighting through a cut suffered on a head butt. Barrios trains in Oakland, Calif. under the guidance of renowned coach Virgil Hunter. The five-foot ten-inch Barrios debuted as a super bantamweight in 2013, eventually moving up to 140-pounds full time in 2017 where he is 8-0 with seven knockouts.
“The long layoff is finally over and fans can expect to see me go to war with Ryan Karl, who I know is coming to bring an aggressive fight to the table,” said Barrios. “I’ve stayed in great shape during this past year, so now it’s time for me to keep giving boxing fans exciting fights. I’ll be representing my city of San Antonio and as always, everyone can expect to see me as explosive as ever. On October 31, all the fans watching on pay-per-view will watch me make a statement as I defend my title.”
Born in Milano, Texas and now trained in Houston under the tutelage of top trainer Ronnie Shields, Karl (18-2, 11 KOs) will step in for his first title opportunity on October 31. The 28-year-old enters this fight on a three-bout winning streak, with all three wins coming in 2019, including a knockout of Kevin Watts to avenge one of his losses in an immediate rematch. Karl also owns victories over Kareem Martin and then-unbeaten Jose Felix Quezada during his pro career that dates back to 2014.
“I’ve been training for this my whole life and I’m not going to let it slip away,” said Karl. “We’re working hard in training camp to put on the best performance of my career. We know what we’re up against in Mario Barrios, but I’ve come too far not to take full advantage of this opportunity on October 31.”
A staple of the 140-pound elite, Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) returns to the ring after losing his title in an exciting unification clash via majority decision last October against Josh Taylor. The 31-year-old won his title by defeating Kiryl Relikh by TKO in April 2019 and has also earned stoppage victories over former unified champion Julius Indongo, and then-unbeaten contenders Joel Diaz Jr. and Juan Jose Velasco. Prograis was born in New Orleans but lives and fights out of Houston.
“This is a huge fight and I’m very thankful to PBC for giving me this opportunity,” said Prograis. “I haven’t fought in a year and since then I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and moved from L.A. back to Texas. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to get back to my number one spot in the super lightweight division. I have to be a world champion again and I won’t stop until that happens.”
The 30-year-old Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs) can vault himself into the top tier of 140-pound contenders with a career-best victory over Prograis on October 31. Born in Northridge, Cal. and training out of the Mayweather Promotions gym in Las Vegas, Heraldez most recently fought to a majority draw last May against former champion Argenis Mendez. Heraldez’s pro career has also seen him score victories over previously unbeaten Jose Miguel Borrego and tough contender Eddie Ramirez.
“It’s been a crazy year, but I took this opportunity to spend time with my family and sharpen my skills inside the ring,” said Heraldez. “There’s been a lot of great sparring happening at the Mayweather Boxing Club that I’ve taken advantage of. I have a tough opponent in front of me, and that’s my only focus right now. I trust in my ability as a fighter and I trust my team to get me over the finish line with a victory on October 31. I’m thankful to Mayweather Promotions for putting me on such a large platform for this fight.”
Fighting out of his native Mexico City, Mexico, Cruz (19-1-1, 14 KOs) is unbeaten in his last 15 fights since dropping his sixth pro fight by decision. The 22-year-old knocked out 10-of-13 opponents between 2016 and 2018, before making his U.S. debut in December 2019. That contest saw Cruz earn a unanimous decision over Miguel Perez, which he followed up in February of this year by defeating Thomas Mattice by decision on ShoBox: The New Generation.
“Since I started boxing, it has been my dream to fight on this stage in the United States,” said Cruz. “I know that Diego Magdaleno is a very tough and experienced fighter, but it’s my time on October 31. The fans will see that I have what it takes to be world champion when I beat Magdaleno and announce myself as one of the best lightweights in the world.”
Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) enters this fight coming off of an impressive victory over contender Austin Dulay in February that saw him drop Dulay on his way to a unanimous decision. The 33-year-old has challenged Roman Martinez for a 130-pound title and Terry Flanagan for a lightweight crown, while also battling lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in February 2019. A Las Vegas native, Magdaleno has won four-of-five fights entering October 31, including a 10-round decision over Artyom Hovhannisyan.
“I’ve been super eager to get back into the ring since my last performance,” said Magdaleno. “That win sparked a fire in me and got me as motivated as I’ve ever been. Now that I’m in a title eliminator, I’m even more excited to return to action. I’m facing another young lion, but he’s lacking the experience that I have. Training with Bones Adams has made a world of difference in my career. I’ve made a transition to being more composed and smarter in the ring. I’m here to make a statement and claim what’s mine. I’m never going to back down until I get that world title.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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