Leo Santa Cruz to Defend WBA Junior Lightweight Title Against Gervonta Davis on Halloween

Leo Santa Cruz is ready for a Halloween rumble….

The title fight between the 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer and Gervonta “Tank” Davis, one of the biggest events of 2020, has been moved to October 31 at San Antonio’s Alamodome, the two junior lightweight fighters have announced.

Leo Santa Cruz

The bout, which will be broadcast on Showtime PPV, is tentatively scheduled to be the first American combat sports event to allow fans since COVID-19 became a pandemic. The number of fans who’ll be in attendance has not been announced.

Santa Cruz (37-1, 19 KOs), ranked eighth among junior lightweights, will be defending the primary WBA junior lightweight belt.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is the No. 4 lightweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings.

Santa Cruz is coming off a unanimous decision against Miguel Flores last November. Davis most recently fought in December, when he stopped veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Davis, 25, needed two attempts to make the 135-pound weight limit for the Gamboa bout. The October 31 fight against Santa Cruz will be at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds.

Under current state guidelines, Texas allows 50% of a stadium’s capacity for sporting events. The indoor venue has a listed capacity of 32,000 for boxing events but seats 64,000 for football. Last weekend, the announced attendance for UTSA‘s football win over Middle Tennessee was 6,182.

Smaller cards around the country have hosted fans in attendance since the pandemic forced restrictions nationwide. But every major bout has been conducted in a closed environment with no paid spectators.

Premier Boxing Champions, which unofficially promotes Davis and Santa Cruz, held a Showtime PPV event last weekend at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut featuring Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo. It was PBC‘s first major event since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Jose Pedraza Defeats Mikkel LesPierre in Catchweight Bout

Jose Pedraza is back in winning form…

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican boxer and former two-time world champion was in excellent form this week as he dominated Mikkel LesPierre, dropping his opponent twice in the 144-pound catchweight bout in the main event of a Top Rank card in Las Vegas.

Jose Pedraza

The scorecards read 100-88, 99-89 and 99-89 in favor of Pedraza (27-3), who showed that he still has a chance to be a title contender.

“I had it all coming together for me,” Pedraza said. “In boxing you can’t have an off night. I was physically fit, I was mentally fit, spiritually fit. I put it all together this evening, I couldn’t afford not to. That’s the kind of performance you get from me when I’m 100 percent focused.”

There was some controversy in the fifth round as LesPierre sent Pedraza to the canvas with a straight left to the body. Later on in the round, Pedraza evened things up by scoring his own knockdown with a left hook-right hook combination.

But before the sixth round started, referee Kenny Bayless paused the action to check the replay in accordance with Nevada State Athletic Commission rules and decided that LesPierre had tangled his feet with Pedraza, and he overturned his original ruling.

But that moment was simply academic, because Pedraza was the dominant force throughout the fight. Boxing out of both the right-handed and southpaw stance, he darted in and out, throwing slashing punches that came from all directions. His upper-body movement made him an elusive target for LesPierre. To cap things off, Pedraza scored another knockdown in the 10th from a left hand and had LesPierre staggering. To LesPierre’s credit, he showed great heart and made it to the final bell.

LesPierre, who worked at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York throughout the coronavirus pandemic, fell to 22-2-1. The 35-year-old had his moments, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Pedraza’s speed and power. By the end of the night, he had a bloody nose and a cut near the corner of his right eye. LesPierre had challenged Maurice Hooker last year for the WBO’s 140-pound title.

Coming off his listless effort against Jose Zepeda last September, there were many questions about the future prospects of Pedraza. Prior to that defeat, the only boxers to beat him were Gervonta Davis and Vasiliy Lomachenko

While his performance versus Zepeda left much to be desired, on this night he was quick, fast and decisive with his movements on both offense and defense. He’s now focused on another title bout in the 140-pound class, which has two unified champions in Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor.