Mikey Garcia was an interested observer in Gervonta Davis’ vicious knockout of Leo Santa Cruz last month.
Garcia was a lightweight until early 2019 when he vacated his WBC and IBF titles to move up two divisions in an unsuccessful attempt at facing Errol Spence Jr. in a one-sided fight.
Davis, meanwhile, was moving down from 135 to super featherweight to fight Garcia’s fellow Mexican countryman and Southern California-grown boxer Santa Cruz. In the fight, Davis made quick work of Santa Cruz, stopping the former four-division champion in six rounds at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
“I was a little sad at the outcome. I was rooting for Leo,” Garcia told Kristina Alexandra of Snow Queen LA. “Props to Davis. He’s the real deal. He’s very strong and very talented … Right now, [Teofimo] Lopez is the man in the division. He holds all the belts … Lopez, even though he beat [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, I think the best fight for Lopez or the most competitive fight would be Tank. Tank is strong, fast, confident. I think he’s got the better chance against Lopez.”
Garcia, a four-division champion himself at 126, 130, 135 and 140, said Davis’ size and speed was just too superior for Santa Cruz to overcome in the Showtime pay per view fight.
“Tank was naturally bigger and stronger. Leo still can be considered a featherweight. He did start at 118. So he could still probably do 126 comfortably. Now fighting at 130 against Tank, who already moved up to 135. Tank was just big and strong,” said Garcia. “Leo could probably never hurt Tank. I still think Leo was fighting a good fight, but he just got caught with that one punch.
“It’s not as if he was being careless. He was fighting back, he was being aggressive at moments, and at other times he was kind of defending … Gervonta was looking for a solid uppercut, and he threw it a couple of times and missed it. But that time he connected with it perfectly and caught Leo. Anyone that gets caught with that is going down. It was a great punch at the right moment, and that’s all that happened.”
Garcia and boxing observers alike can all agree that Davis’ knockout win was surely the most impressive of Davis’ seven-year career thus far.
“He didn’t fight the right opponents, the name opponents, it’s hard to get the credit. Last year when [Davis] fought guys that I can’t even remember their names, it makes people not give him credit,” said Garcia.
“With this victory over Leo, he can put that on his resume and claim that he beat Leo Santa Cruz, a multiple world champion. So I really feel that they should give him credit.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.