Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz will be facing former IBF/WBA featherweight champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa, in the co-feature bout in a lightweight clash on the undercard of Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugas PPV at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The popular 23-year-old lightweight contender ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) is fighting for the first time since his close 12 round unanimous decision defeat against WBA ‘regular’ 135-lbs champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis on December 5th.
On four weeks’ notice, Pitbull Cruz took the fight against Gervonta as a replacement opponent after Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero was pulled from the card. Surprisingly, the smaller 5’4″ Pitbull Cruz gave Tank all he could handle, chasing him around the ring for much of the second half, making it an exciting contest to watch.
There was no question that Tank Davis deserved the win, but Cruz pushed him in a way that he’d never been before.
After the fight, Gervonta said, “A star was born,” praising Pitbull Cruz’s performance and perhaps setting the table for a rematch at some point.
There will be some boxing fans that will grumble about the Cruz-Gamboa match-up, pointing out that the Cuban Gamboa is 40-years-old now, having lost his last two fights to Devin Haney and Tank Davis, and coming off a year and a half layoff.
It wasn’t a fair fight for Gamboa, a true 126-pounder, fighting a massive 135-pounder like Haney. There was too much of a size gap for Gamboa to compete with Haney, who should be fighting at 140 rather than 135 in the eyes of many boxing fans.
In Gamboa’s 12th round knockout defeat against WBA secondary lightweight champion Tank Davis in December 2019, he suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the second round after being dropped by the champion.
Gamboa showed tremendous bravery and toughness and limped around the ring for another ten rounds before being stopped in the 12th by Gervonta.
Despite Gamboa’s consecutive defeats, he’s a good opponent for Pitbull Cruz because he was beaten in his last fight. It would be a mistake to match Pitbull Cruz against a dangerous, relevant, lightweight contender like William Zepeda, Vasily Lomachenko, or Michel Rivera