The boxing superstar and five-time world champion fights off a brave challenge to retain his world lightweight title and remain undefeated Sunday night on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
The boxing superstar and five-time world champion retained the WBA World Lightweight Title with a close unanimous decision over Cruz Sunday night before a star-studded, sellout crowd of 15,850 at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California, live on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
The 27-year-old Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) took it by scores of 115-113 on the scorecards of Carla Caiz and Max DeLuca and 116-112 by Zachary Young.
Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) became only the second fighter to go the distance with Davis, who ruled the first half of the fight before he hurt his left hand.
“I don’t know. I gotta get the hand checked out,” responded Davis when asked about his left hand. “It is what it is. That’s what comes with this sport. He’s a shorter fighter, so I was throwing down on the top of his head. I hit him with my knuckle and messed it up. I hurt my hand in the sixth round. No matter if the opponent is taller or shorter, I’ve got to get through it. He’s a warrior. Even though he didn’t win, a star was born tonight.”
Early on, Cruz attacked the body. With :27 left in the first, Cruz landed a right on Davis against the ropes that seemed to get Tank’s attention. In the final seconds of the opening round, Cruz wound up on the canvas but referee Thomas Taylor rightfully called it a slip.
In the first two rounds, Davis missed his vaunted left uppercut by inches numerous times, and there was a sense that the hammer would eventually land. By the third, Davis began finding a rhythm and timing, landing counters off Cruz.
Cruz, with his high guard, kept stalking Davis, who used lateral movement to stay away. With 1:37 left in the fourth, Cruz winged a looping left that caught Davis on the chin, which Tank grinned at and shook his head that the punch didn’t hurt. Davis snuck in a left uppercut to the body with :27 remaining in the round.
Cruz’s gameplan was to zap Davis’ body. With 1:42 left in the fifth, Cruz tagged Davis with a right to the body. It was a pattern he stayed with.
“I have nothing to say, the fans are speaking on who won this fight,” Cruz said. “That’s my style. Pitbull is always going to be on the attack. I think we retained rhythm from the start to the end. If the fans want to see a rematch, we’ll do it. It was right around the fifth round I saw that his hand wasn’t working correctly.”
With 1:44 left in the sixth, Cruz landed a right to Davis’ chest. Davis banged a straight left off of Cruz’s head with :55 remaining in the round. Davis again worked well from range, using his jab. Davis began opening up with 2:16 left in the seventh, finally catching Cruz with an uppercut. Davis boxed well off his back foot, though with 1:16 remaining, Cruz popped a right off of Davis’ chin.
In the last minute of the seventh, Davis had bloodied Cruz with left uppercuts, straight lefts and winging right hooks. With 2:28 left in the eighth, Cruz slipped to the canvas again. Cruz did close the eighth strong, landing a right uppercut to Davis’ chin in the closing seconds.
In the first 20 seconds of the 10th, Cruz backed Davis into a corner and landed some heavy shots. Davis took them well. With :53 left in the round, Cruz came on again, with a left to Davis’ face against the ropes and ended the round with a left to Davis’ midsection.
At the outset of the 11th, Cruz dropped a right to Davis’ body in a round he may have won with greater activity. In the 12th, Davis used his jab well and spun out of harm’s way. It was also apparent Davis was using only his right hand through the last round.
Davis’ quickness, boxing skills and elusiveness was enough to win the last round.
“At the beginning of the fight, he came on strong,” Davis said. “I felt as the fight was going, he was breaking down. But I hurt my hand, so I wasn’t able to get him out of there. I’m not a fighter who just looks for the knockout. I knew he was strong and I was just warming up and seeing what he threw best.”
Sebastian Fundora moves closer to a world title shot with a unanimous decision over Sergio Garcia
The 6-foot-5 southpaw Fundora (18-0-1, 12 KOs) won by wide-ranging scores of 115-113, 118-110 and 117-111 over the overmatched Garcia (33-1, 14 KOs).
“This camp we were working on a lot of boxing, and I wanted to display some boxing for this fight,” Fundora said. “I felt like I was using my distance a lot more for this fight and it showed. (The height) definitely was a big advantage, especially the second part of the fight. I felt like the sixth and 12 we switched up the pace, we started moving a lot more instead of sitting and trading punches like we usually do.”
In the first, Fundora, 23, snapped Garcia’s head back with a straight left with :52 remaining in the first. Still, Garcia was willing take punishment to get inside of Fundora’s southpaw reach. A Fundora left uppercut caught Garcia right on the chest in the closing seconds of the third.
About midway through the fourth, Fundora opened a cut in the corner of Garcia’s left eye. Garcia kept coming forward and was placed in an uncomfortable spot, and by the eighth, the cut was under control but Fundora was not.
“Maybe things could have been different if I had been more aggressive from the beginning,” Garcia said. “I shouldn’t have let myself get carried away by what he was doing.”
By the championship rounds, Fundora appeared well ahead. Fundora plowed a left off of Garcia’s chin and Garcia landed a strong uppercut. With 1:52 left in the last round, Fundora stung Garcia with a left uppercut/right hook combination to the head. Garcia kept trying to burrow forward, and with :05 left in the fight Garcia connected on probably his best punch, a left that snapped back Fundora’s head.
“I wanted to display something different from what I’m used to doing, banging and getting hit back,” Fundora said. “I’m ready for whatever.”
Carlos Adames pulls off the upset over Sergiy Derevyanchenko
Sergiy Derevyanchenko needed this. The three-time middleweight title challenger had lost three of his last four—and granted, they came against the best 160-pounders in the world (Danny Jacobs, Gennadiy Golovkin and Jermall Charlo)—he had not won in two years.
Carlos Adames (21-1, 16 KOs) had not lost in two years. The 27-year-old from the Dominican Republic could use a reputable name like Derevyanchenko on his resume.
Coming up from 154 pounds, Adames got it, using right uppercuts and backing up Derevyanchenko (13-4, 10 KOs) with overhand rights to win a 10-round majority decision by judges Tiffany Clinton (97-93) and Damian Walton (96-94), overruling Jerry Cantu (95-95).
“This means a lot for me in my career and this is a big accomplishment winning against a fighter of his caliber,” Adames said. “I am aggressive and speedy by nature, so I came in ready to do my thing. He started slow, wanting to see what would happen, and simply had the wrong game plan.
“He got a bit tired as the fight went on, took a lot of hard shots from me and it was evident that I caused him a lot of damage. This gives me an opportunity to move on. I dominate at both 154 and 160, so wherever they give me the opportunity to fight for a championship is where I’ll go.”
Adames came out as a southpaw and started well by pushing back Derevyanchenko (13-4, 10 KOs). In the second, he clipped Derevyanchenko with a left uppercut, and stunned him with a straight right that backed Derevyanchenko into the ropes. Adames changed up in the third, switching to an orthodox style, which Derevyanchenko seem to have trouble figuring out.
After losing what appeared to be the first four rounds, Derevyanchenko woke up in the fifth. Using a consistent right, Derevyanchenko began landing and backing up Adames. A Derevyanchenko left hook shook Adames in the last 30 seconds of the round.
The two went shot-for-shot in the last :30 of the ninth. But by then, Derevyanchenko needed a knockdown or knockout to win.
Derevyanchenko is 37 and may have some thinking to do about his future.
“I expect my opponent to fight the same style,” Derevyanchenko said. “It was nothing special for me, just a quality fight. He stayed southpaw, that was the difference in the fight. I don’t know what I’ll do next. I need a little bit of rest and then I will go back to the gym because I love boxing and I love the show.”
Eduardo Ramirez scores a unanimous decision over Miguel Marriaga
Mexican southpaw Eduardo Ramirez scored a dubious knockdown in the third round, and he carried that momentum towards a 10-round super featherweight decision over Miguel Marriaga in the opening bout of the Davis-Cruz pay-per-view.
“I would like to thank the fans, Showtime and the Montiel family for supporting me. Marriaga was a tough opponent, but I managed to dominate,” Ramirez said. “I had a varied fighting style and kept him on his toes the whole time. Now I'm going to relax with my family and enjoy the holidays. Then hopefully 2022 will come with a title shot for me.”
It marked the fourth-straight victory for Ramirez (26-2-3, 12 KOs) winning by universal 99-90 scores by judges Max De Luca, Damian Walton and Zachary Young.
Marriaga (30-5, 26 KOs) could do little against the aggressive Ramirez, who continuously backed up Marriaga with right hooks and straight lefts. It was the type of fight that if you saw one round, who saw them all. The two had many spirited exchanges, but it Ramirez always getting the better of Marriaga.
As the third round was winding down, Marriaga’s right leg slid out from under him and he fell to the canvas and it appeared he was knocked down by a grazing Ramirez shot, which referee Marcos Rosales called a knockdown.
“We started out strong, but then things got progressively harder,” Marriaga said. “Having said that, we are pleased with the work we put in today. We should have been more savvy, but we tried our hardest in the face of a great opportunity that unfortunately we could not take advantage of.”
On the undercard, super welterweight Vaughn Alexander (16-6-1, 9 KOs) upset Luis Arias (19-3-1, 9 KOs) by 10-round split-decision; heavyweights Carlos Garcon (2-0-1, 2 KOs) and Jason Soto (3-1-2, 3 KOs) fought to a four-round split-draw; super flyweight Ava Knight (20-2-5, 5 KOs) won by six-round unanimous decision over Nancy Franco De Alba (19-16-2, 5 KOs); super featherweight Mia Ellis (3-0, 2 KOs) beat Elizabeth Tuani (1-5, 2 KOs) by four-round unanimous decision.
For a closer look at Davis vs Cruz, check out their fight night page.