Five-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis held a “Turkey Giveaway” on Tuesday, as the WBA Lightweight Champion, along with Mayweather Promotions, handed out 150 turkeys, plus gift cards and more to Las Vegas residents.
The giveaway took place following Davis’ media workout in preparation for his world title defense against hard-hitting contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz taking place Sunday, December 5 live on SHOWTIME PPV from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Here is what Davis, his trainer Calvin Ford, and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe had to say Tuesday from Mayweather Boxing Club:
Photo: Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME
“I really didn’t have a family that was together to celebrate Thanksgiving when I was young, but now I have my two little daughters, so I’m definitely looking forward to the holidays. I’m going to miss Thanksgiving because of the fight, but Christmas is going to be big this year.
“It’s always great to be able to help out. I was always looking for someone to help me when I was a kid, so to be in a position to help others now really means a lot.
“This is going to be an exciting fight. Cruz comes to fight each and every time. I’m just waiting to see what he brings to the table on December 5, and we’ll capitalize off of his mistakes.
“Cruz coming forward could make the fight a lot easier for me, but there are definitely challenges with that style too. He comes forward with his head a lot. I’m definitely going to be ready for that.
“The change in opponent didn’t really affect my mindset or my game plan. Trash talking doesn’t matter to me anyway. We all have to get out there and perform when it’s time to.
“Anything that he does dirty in there, I’ll be ready for. He better be prepared, because whatever he dishes out, I’m going to give it right back to him.
“He’s an explosive fighter. We have to see what he brings on December 5. I’m looking forward to it. I want to give the fans another action-packed fight.
“Fighting at STAPLES Center is big. I’m happy to be in this position to be able to go out there and put on a great performance. I’m just a kid from Baltimore city who’s trying to make something out of boxing, and we’re here now headlining at STAPLES Center. I’m definitely using that motivation to my advantage.”
Lightweight contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz has embraced the underdog role heading into his showdown against WBA Lightweight Champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis which headlines a SHOWTIME PPV on Sunday, December 5 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
“I have proven time and time again that my drive and desire to be champion is too big to be ignored,” said Cruz. “This fight won’t be the exception. I am going to pull off the upset and a brand new star will be born on December 5.”
The 23-year-old Cruz has put together a 21-fight unbeaten streak heading into his first world title clash, including most recently defeating former champion Francisco Vargas by unanimous decision live on SHOWTIME in June. Now, as he prepares to face the fast-rising star Davis, Cruz brings the hunger of an underdog into every aspect of his training.
“My motivation to be at my very best for this fight is the biggest key for me day in and day out,” said Cruz. “This is the fight that I’ve always dreamed of. The work we do in the gym, the runs I go on and the conditioning drills I push through, are all fueled by my motivation to make the most of this opportunity.”
The Mexico City-native is the latest in his family’s deep history in the sport, as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather Memo, his father Isaac Sr., his uncles Eduardo and Guillermo, and his older brother Diego, who all fought professionally. Despite that familial pressure, Cruz was actually initially interested in the sport to keep himself on a positive path in life.
“Boxing was always in my blood, but my main motivation to get into boxing as a kid was steering myself away from bad role models and influences in my neighborhood,” said Cruz. “I was six-years-old when I decided to tag along to the gym one day with my grandpa, and I really liked it. A passion for the sport was born, and now it’s just a full-blown love story between boxing and I.”
In addition to his family, Cruz had heard from the legendary Mexican champion Julio César Chávez before securing the Davis fight. The conversation turned out not only to be prescient, but added another motivating factor for Cruz heading into this fight.
“Chávez told me to make sure I’m always staying ready in case that fight with Gervonta was going to become a reality,” said Cruz. “Afterwards, he told me that I have the courage needed to defeat Gervonta. The fact that he said that to me speaks volumes about the strides I’ve made as a person and as a fighter.”
Cruz will be looking to take advantage of the strong contingent of Mexican and Mexican-American boxing fans in Los Angeles who will surely be in his corner on fight night against Davis. Despite that expected edge, Cruz knows he can’t rely on it to help him in the ring.
“I am so happy to be fighting in Los Angeles with all of the Mexican fans,” said Cruz. “But I have to remember that in the end, it’s just going to be me and Gervonta face-to-face in the ring. Of course it motivates me that I’m going to feel right at home. But I just can’t let it distract me or trick me into becoming overconfident.
“Defeating Gervonta Davis is the only thing on my mind. When I win, I know he’s going to want the rematch and I can promise that I will train twice as hard for that fight when it happens.”
Unbeaten five-time world champion and boxing’s hottest attraction Gervonta “Tank” Davis and hard-hitting Isaac “Pitbull’’ Cruz previewed their showdown for Davis’ WBA Lightweight Championship during a virtual press conference Monday before they square off on Sunday, December 5 live on SHOWTIME PPV from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Davis’ third-straight pay-per-view headlining attraction will see him take on the IBF-ranked No. 2 lightweight in Cruz, a Mexico City-native who has earned his ‘Pitbull’ moniker through his hardnosed style.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Monday:
Photo: Amanda Westscott/Showtime
“I’m happy and excited to be in this position, I’ve been working hard getting ready for this new opponent. I know Cruz is going to come to fight. The fans are going to be the winners in this fight, because we’re both coming in prepared to be at our best. I’m ready to put on a great show on December 5.
“Anything can happen in boxing, so I just try to stay on task. I’m always ready to step up to any challenge thrown my way and get the job done.
“This is a more interesting fight now, because we both come forward. This is going to be something great for the fans and another exciting night for the sport of boxing. May the best man win. We’re both coming with our ‘A’ games.
“He can say I haven’t faced someone like him, but he’s never fought anybody like me either. I can box and I can hit. We’ll see what he’s saying when he gets hit in the face.
“December 5 is going to be fireworks for sure. It’s going to be something you can’t miss. Don’t go get your popcorn or anything like that during this fight. This is another tough task, but this is what I’m made for.
“You always have to adapt in boxing. No matter what comes your way. I’m going to adapt to Cruz. I’m figuring out every day how Cruz is thinking and what he’s going to bring to the fight.
“Cruz has impressed me in his past fights. He comes in there to win. He doesn’t look to just hang in there. He wants to go in and take it. He’s not an opponent I can overlook. A win over him would be big for me.
“It is different training to fight a shorter opponent. I usually fight guys taller than me, so it’s an adjustment. It’s another thing I have to adapt to. Everything we’re doing is to figure him out.
“December 5 is going to be a fireworks show. This is going to be one of the best fights of the year. It’s not just a boxing match, it’s an event. Make sure you come out.
“I’m excited to be in this position. I’m grateful for it. I’m trying to continue to grow as a fighter and just improve each day.”
“December 5 is going to be a great fight. I’m ready to shock the world and become the next star in the pantheon of Mexican boxing champions.
“I’m ready to put on a show on December 5 at STAPLES Center. There were a wide-array of feelings when I knew I got this fight, but most of all, it made me really motivated to be ready for this opportunity.
“We are not overconfident in any way, but Gervonta has not fought anyone with my style and with my characteristics. We’re working really hard to make sure my style will work the best that it can on December 5.
“The real winner of this fight is going to be the fans. ‘Pitbull’ and ‘Tank’ are going to crash into each other and people will be on the edge of their seats.
“I can guarantee that I’m hungry and motivated to win this fight. I’m fighting for more than myself, I’m fighting for my family and to make my country proud. I know that if I win this fight, it will change my whole career.
“The key to defeating Gervonta is for me to want it more. I want that belt in my hand. It’s going to come down to determination.
“I’m always thankful for the opportunities I get. It’s my job to work hard and take advantage of each opportunity as I get them. I’m going to come forward and present my power. Once he feels my power, the fight is going to turn toward me.
“It’s up to Gervonta to show that he’s a superstar in the ring. I don’t see him as an impossible task to defeat at all.
“I always want to fight the best and Gervonta is one of the best. I’m training really hard so that I’m up to that challenge.”
Unbeaten five-time world champion and boxing’s hottest attraction Gervonta “Tank” Davis will defend his WBA Lightweight Championship against hard-hitting Isaac “Pitbull’’ Cruz on Sunday, December 5 live on SHOWTIME PPV from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Cruz, ranked No. 2 in the IBF, steps in to replace Rolando Romero, who withdrew from the fight after he was recently accused of sexual assault.
Davis’ third-straight pay-per-view headlining attraction will see him battle the hardnosed Cruz, who has rightly earned the nickname “Pitbull’’ during his professional career.
Davis (25-0, 24 KOs), star of the Mayweather Promotions stable, added another highlight filled performance in June, as he stopped previously unbeaten Mario Barrios to capture a 140-pound title and become a three-division world champion. The Baltimore-native captured his lightweight championship with a 12th-round knockout of former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in December 2019.
“I respect Isaac Cruz for stepping up and taking the fight, but everyone knows what I do,” said Davis. “I come in looking for the knockout and that’s exactly what I’m going to do in this fight. I’m back in Los Angeles where the stars shine and I’m going to light it up against Isaac Cruz at STAPLES Center on December 5.’’
The 23-year-old Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) will be looking to rough up Davis and make him work overtime if he wants to come away with the win. A native of Mexico City, Cruz shot up the lightweight rankings in 2020, announcing his presence with an electrifying first-round knockout over veteran Diego Magdaleno in September. Cruz followed that up in 2021 by winning a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Matías Romero in March, and most recently defeating former champion Francisco Vargas by decision in June. Since making his U.S. debut in December 2019, the 23-year-old has gone unbeaten in his next four ring appearances, appearing on SHOWTIME three times in addition to beating Magdaleno on the Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz SHOWTIME PPV undercard.
“First I want to thank Gervonta Davis and his team for this opportunity – an opportunity I won’t let get past me,’’ Cruz said. “God willing I’ll be world champion on December 5. This fight is a very big motivation for me as a professional and as a personal goal. I’m sure after December 5 everyone in boxing will know the name Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz.’’
Gervonta “Tank” Davis is a star, and after what he did on Saturday night, that stardom will only grow. Davis scored an 11th round TKO over the previously undefeated Mario Barrios to capture the WBA(Regular) Super Lightweight Championship at State Farm Arena in Atlanta(Showtime PPV).
Davis(25-0, 24 KOs) and Barrios(26-1, 17 KOs) combined to put on an unforgettable main event in front of a sold-out crowd of 16,570. After a slow start, “Tank” sent Barrios to the canvas for both the first and second times of his career in the eighth round. First, Davis connected on a sweeping right hook that sent the former champion to the canvas. Moments later, a straight left hand by Davis dropped Barrios again. The brave Barrios rose to his feet, surviving Davis’ attempts to finish him.
With his promoter Floyd Mayweather encouraging Davis in his corner and telling him that he was down on the scorecards, the Baltimore native came out rejuvenated in the eleventh round, realizing that the fight could be close on the scorecards. “Tank” dropped Barrios for the third time in the fight, this time with a left uppercut to the body. The bloodied Barrios rose again, only to be greeted with another barrage of punches from Davis.
Referee Thomas Taylor stepped in to stop the fight at 2:13 of the eleventh round.
“Floyd [Mayweather] came to me and was honest and said I was down,” Davis said, who was actually ahead on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage. “So he said, ‘show me that you’re great.’ And you know how we do it in the doghouse, baby!””
According to Mayweather, Davis can be one of the greatest of all-time.
“He has the potential to be one of the greatest ever,” said Mayweather. “When I first met ‘Tank’ when he was 14 or 15 years old, I told him I’d make him a world champion. And that you’ll be one of the best someday. I’m proud of him.”
Davis has options from 130 to 140. Many great fights to be made for Davis, but the business of boxing might get in the way. More than likely, he’ll probably fight someone on the PBC side. Maybe a fight with WBA 130-pound interim champion Chris Colbert, or perhaps a fight with Mikey Garcia at 140. It should be interesting to see how they move Davis at this point, but it’s beyond clear that he is one of the biggest names in the sport of boxing.
Gervonta “Tank” Davis(24-0, 23 KOs) will have a big test on June 26 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta when he battles WBA(regular) 140-pound champion Mario Barrios(26-0, 17 KOs).
The 26-year-old Davis, who defeated Leo Santa Cruz at 130 pounds in October, will fight at the 140-pound limit for the first time in his career.
With the 26-year-old Barrios being the bigger guy, the thought is he is the bigger puncher, but according to Davis, no one will know that until they get into the ring. However, Davis doesn’t think power will matter; he believes it will come down to who has the most skills.
“We can’t say who the bigger puncher is until we get in that ring and test his power,” Davis said at his media workout on Wednesday. “It doesn’t matter who is stronger; I want to be better than him across the board and in every aspect of the game.
“People who are here in the gym with me see a lot of things that I don’t need to bring out, even in my fights. Floyd(Mayweather) is always telling me to box and use my skills and don’t always look for the knockout. This camp, we’ve actually been working on getting back to that and letting the knockout come.”
The Baltimore native said he took a few things from his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, who fought the bigger man in Logan Paul last Sunday in Miami.
“My last fight people complained that Leo Santa Cruz was too small, so I’m basically going out there and showing that a size difference doesn’t matter,” Davis said. “I’m going to beat whoever they put in front of me. I’m trying to chase greatness.
“I’m definitely looking to walk down the bigger guy. He might feel like he can walk me down. I was definitely watching Floyd fight a much bigger guy in Logan Paul and taking a few pointers from it.”
It should be interesting to see if Davis’ power will travel with him to 140 pounds. If it does, he might stay at that weight class for good.
The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature a battle of two top 154-pound contenders as Erickson “Hammer” Lubin faces former unified champion, Jeison Rosario, in a WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event.
Former unified super welterweight champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams returns to the ring to take on Brian Mendoza in a 10-round showdown and hard-hitting Olympian Batyr Akhmedov steps in against former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 12-round WBA Super Lightweight Title Eliminator to kick off the pay-per-view telecast.
Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions today unveiled a loaded five-month boxing schedule of nine high-stakes world championship events beginning Saturday, May 15, live on SHOWTIME. The schedule delivers two events per month through August. Thirteen matchups have been announced thus far with no less than seven world title fights, and 12 fighters defending undefeated records. The lineup features many of boxing’s best young fighters taking on career-defining challenges in their primes. All fights on the schedule will take place before a live audience, keeping with applicable local COVID-19 safety protocols.
The sizzling summer run features the dynamic Charlo twins as undefeated electrifying champion Jermall Charlo defends his WBC middleweight world title against Juan Macias Montiel in a special Juneteenth homecoming in Houston on Saturday, June 19, live on SHOWTIME.
The following Saturday, June 26, unbeaten Mayweather Promotions star Gervonta “Tank” Davis moves up two weight classes for a chance to become a three-division world champion when he takes on fellow undefeated champion Mario Barrios for his super lightweight world title in what will be Davis’ second pay-per-view showdown.
The next month, WBC, WBA and IBF 154-pound charismatic world champion Jermell Charlo looks to make boxing history when he takes on WBO junior middleweight world champion Brian Castaño in a mega-fight to crown the first four-belt 154-pound world champion. The World Championship Unification bout takes place on Saturday, July 17, live on SHOWTIME.
The SHOWTIME boxing schedule features eight editions of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and one premier SHOWTIME PPV event, all presented by Premier Boxing Champions:
- MAY 15 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Luis Nery vs. Brandon Figueroa, WBC Super Bantamweight World Title Fight
- Danny Roman vs. Ricardo Espinoza Franco, Super Bantamweight Fight
- Xavier Martinez vs. Abraham Montoya, WBA Super Featherweight Fight
- MAY 29 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Nordine Oubaali vs. Nonito Donaire, WBC Bantamweight World Title Fight
- Subriel Matias vs. Batyrzhan Jukembayev, IBF Super Lightweight Title Eliminator
- JUNE 19 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Jermall Charlo vs. Juan Macias Montiel, WBC Middleweight World Title Fight
- JUNE 26 – SHOWTIME PPV
- Gervonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios, WBA Super Lightweight World Title Fight
- Erickson Lubin vs. Jeison Rosario, WBC Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator
- JULY 3 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Chris Colbert vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa, WBA Super Featherweight Interim Title Fight
- JULY 17 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño, Undisputed IBF, WBA, WBC & WBO Junior Middleweight World Title Unification Fight
- AUGUST 14 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. John Riel Casimero, WBO Bantamweight World Title Fight
- AUGUST 28– SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- David Benavidez vs. Jose Uzcategui, WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator
- SEPTEMBER 11 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
- Stephen Fulton, Jr. vs. winner of Nery-Figueroa, Super Bantamweight World Title Unification Fight
The boxing action begins on SHOWTIME on Saturday, May 15 with the highly anticipated WBC super bantamweight world championship fight between Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa. The battle of two unbeaten champions who have been on a collision course for supremacy in the 122-pound division headlines a three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast. Rounding out the May 15 event, former unified super bantamweight world champion Danny Roman faces the tough, hard-hitting Ricardo Espinoza and super featherweight rising contender Xavier Martinez takes on the experienced Abraham Montoya.
Two weeks later on Saturday, May 29, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present the long-awaited title tilt between Nordine Oubaali and future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire for the WBC bantamweight world championship. The undercard will feature Subriel Matias taking on undefeated Batyrzhan Jukembayev in the stiffest test of their professional careers as they meet in an IBF super lightweight title eliminator.
This summer, the thrilling Charlo twins will headline separate SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING events to defend their titles.
In a Juneteenth Day celebration on Saturday, June 19, in his hometown of Houston, unbeaten WBC middleweight world champion Jermall Charlo takes on the power-punching Juan Macias Montiel. After claiming a championship in the 154-pound division, Charlo moved up in weight and has been just as dominant. The battle against Montiel will be Charlo’s fifth defense of his 160-pound title. Charlo is coming off a career-defining victory over Sergey Derevyanchenko in September.
On Saturday, June 26, current two-division world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis looks to become a three-division world champion when he returns to headline his second SHOWTIME PPV event. Davis, 26, will jump up two weight classes from his last contest to face unbeaten super lightweight world champion Mario Barrios. Davis is coming off a career-best victory over world champion Leo Santa Cruz. The co-main event that evening will feature a high-stakes WBC junior middleweight world title eliminator between Erickson Lubin and former unified 154-pound world champion Jeison Rosario.
Then, on Saturday, July 17, one month after his brother’s fight, Jermell Charlo looks to make boxing history when he defends his WBC, WBA and IBF junior middleweight world titles against undefeated WBO world champion Brian Castaño in one of the most highly anticipated and important matches of the year. Charlo aims to achieve something that has never been done in boxing history by becoming the first fighter to be undisputed champion at 154 pounds in the four-belt era. Charlo has held the WBC title since 2019 and added the WBA and IBF titles with a stunning knockout victory over Jeison Rosario in his last fight in September.
Also in July, undefeated rising star Chris Colbert of Brooklyn, N.Y. will defend his WBA super featherweight interim title against three-division world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in a crossroads bout on Saturday, July 3. The 24-year old Colbert is coming off a career best victory, a knockout win over Jaime Arboleda in December 2020. The Cuban-born Gamboa seeks to reassert himself by moving back down to super featherweight where he has excelled throughout his career.
August will feature another pair of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING events. On Saturday, August 14, two of the best bantamweights in the world will meet when former unified world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux faces John Riel Casimero for Casimero’s WBO bantamweight world title.
Two weeks later, on Saturday, August 28, undefeated two-time former super middleweight world champion David Benavidez will face former super middle champion Jose Uzcategui in a fight that will put the winner one step closer to a world championship opportunity. Benavidez, 24, made boxing history when he became the youngest super middleweight world champion at age 20 with a victory over Ronald Gavril in 2017.
On Saturday, September 11, the red-hot 122-pound division will take center stage once again on SHOWTIME as the WBO junior featherweight world champion Stephen Fulton, Jr. will make the first defense of his title against the winner of the May 15 clash between undefeated champions Nery and Figueroa. The unification fight will be the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Unbeaten interim WBA Super Featherweight Champion Chris “Primetime” Colbert will look to make a statement in his first nationally televised main event as he faces hard-hitting Jaime Arboleda live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
“I always knew I was going to get here,” said Colbert. “It’s all God’s plan. This is just going to be another day for me and I’ll show everyone why I’m one of the best 130-pounders in the world.”
The 24-year-old Colbert has shot up the rankings of the 130-pound weight class and believes that a victory on Saturday night will lead to bigger opportunities in the jam-packed division.
“This is one of the most stacked divisions in boxing and I love competing in it,” said Colbert. “It’s great to be getting noticed in a division that has this much talent, and hopefully it’ll lead to me getting the big fights that I need. I don’t feel like there’s any certain fighter I’m targeting, but Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz and Jamel Herring would all be great fights for me. Beating them would help me become ‘the guy’ in the division.”
Colbert‘s rise continued in his last fight, as he scored a 10th-round knockdown against former champion Jezreel Corrales on his way to a decision win while showing an impressive array of skills against a fighter determined to slow the action through holding and other veteran tricks.
“Against Corrales I learned not to rush,” said Colbert. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I can’t just go rush in there and expect everyone to get knocked out. I had to take my time, do what I do best and stick to my game plan.”
In the 26-year-old Arboleda, Colbert will be presented with another rising 130-pound contender with his own sights set on emerging amongst the elite in the division. Arboleda has won five of his last six fights by stoppage and most recently dropped Jayson Velez on his way to a decision victory in February on SHOWTIME.
“Come December 12, I’m ready for whatever he brings,” said Colbert. “I expect him to bring pressure and ‘try’ to make me tired because that’s the only chance he has. He can’t outbox me. That’s not happening. But I love to bang inside and I’m ready for whatever he does. I hope he doesn’t run or clinch me because I’d love to get the knockout and get him out of there early.”
The Brooklyn-native Colbert has continued to work with his longtime coach Aureliano Sosa in his hometown through the difficulties of the pandemic. Those difficulties have led to Colbert sparring with larger welterweight and super welterweights in camp, which Colbert believes could help him with the power Arboleda will bring into the fight.
“Training camp has been going great for the most part,” said Colbert. “It’s just been a little hard finding sparring partners. But because it’s been difficult to find fighters at my weight I’ve actually been sparring with 147 and 154-pound fighters. I honestly love that because it prepares me better, and who’s to say that Arboleda won’t have power like them? I’m on weight now, though, and ready to put on a show on December 12.”
Unbeaten rising prospect Richardson Hitchins shared details of his training camp, including pointers and motivation he received from Floyd Mayweather and Gervonta Davis, ahead of his super lightweight showdown against former world champion Argenis Mendez live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, December 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
“Floyd helped me tremendously while I was back in Las Vegas,” said Hitchins. “I already have the fundamentals as a fighter, but he showed me little things here and there and workouts that I have taken back home with me while I train for this fight. I’m not shy about my ability as a fighter, because I truly believe I am the best up and coming fighter in the game, so these are the kind of fights I need in order to show the world who Richardson Hitchins is.
“Gervonta has been instrumental in past fight camps as well, and he’s the type of person you need. He pushes you to go harder. We go head-to-head in trying to outdo each other, and that’s the type of competition that’s needed in order to really be the best.”
Despite training throughout the pandemic, Hitchins has been able to remain on task and on track throughout his camp that began in Las Vegas before ending in his native Brooklyn under the guidance of his head coach Lenny Wilson.
“The thing about me is, I’m focused no matter what,” said Hitchins. “I don’t take ‘off’ after my fights. I stay in shape all year round; I don’t need to get ready in terms of conditioning or getting my body back in shape because this is my job. I take my job very seriously. The discipline Floyd has had throughout his career is the same discipline I have. I have watched my idols and taken things from them so that I can put myself in a position to win.
“I don’t think the pandemic or the holidays necessarily altered my training. I still have access to my gym. There’s nothing that’s going to stand in my way of becoming great. The pandemic doesn’t slow me down, it’s just another roadblock to test my dedication to the sport.”
The 23-year-old Hitchins represented Haiti at the 2016 Olympic Games and will return to the ring after debuting in 2020 with a 10-round decision victory over Nicholas DeLomba in February. It was Hitchins’ second 10-round decision win after his previous fight saw him best Kevin Johnson following 10 rounds in November 2019.
“I often think back to my fight against Kevin Johnson, he’s a tough fighter and he’s the one who I can confidently say brought the best out of me,” said Hitchins. “Those are the fights that make me look back and watch closely the things I need to work on. That fight also showed me that no one should be overlooked, so going into this fight against Mendez, I’m not overlooking him.”
Mendez presents the most accomplished opponent of Hitchins’ young career. The 34-year-old former champion most recently fought Juan Heraldez and Anthony Peterson to draws in 2019, and scored victories over Eddie Ramirez and Ivan Redkach prior to that. For Hitchins, the strong resume of his opponent is something he relishes as a measuring stick for his progress.
“He’s a veteran, he’s been in there with a lot of tough guys and he’s a former world champion, so he clearly has a skill set that I think I need to face at this point in my career,” said Hitchins. “I need those big fights. He’s older now, but I feel like him in his prime still couldn’t touch my skillset. It’s my job to prove that.
“I know this won’t be an easy fight, but I’ll be prepared for whatever he brings. My motivation is to be more than ordinary. I will fulfill my goals when this is all said and done, and honestly, I’m just waiting for this fight to come so I can show that. Whether it’s Mendez, or whoever, the conviction I have and how I feel about myself is stronger than anything standing in front of me in that ring.”
Photo: Mayweather Promotions
One of the biggest storylines leading up to the fight between WBA 135-pound regular champion1 Gervonta Davis, and 130-pound WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz, is whether Davis would make the 130-pound weight limit for this fight, and on Friday, he answered that question. Davis weighed in at 129.8 pounds, and Santa Cruz came in at 129.5 pounds.
The two combatants will battle it out on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas(Showtime pay-per-view). Both belts will be on the line in this fight. Davis is the favorite, but expect Santa Cruz to be very competitive.
Here are photos(Esther Lin/SHOWTIME) from the Davis-Santa Cruz weigh-in: