LukieBoxing Column: Tank Davis vs. Santa Cruz, Inoue, Usyk, Devin Haney

Gervonta “Tank” Davis stopped Leo Santa Cruz in six rounds, last Saturday on PPV, in a highlight-reel fashion. Davis, an emerging star of the 130-and-135 lbs division looks to be a tentpole champion at these divisions as well as Floyd Mayweather being so involved in his camp, will keep the cameras on him as well. In short, he is one of the big money fighters in whatever division he chooses to go from this point onward.

Davis, who is aggressive, talented, and powerful looked for the knockout from the first moment of the fight, throwing an uppercut consistently, sometimes from long-range even, but the final shot showed that Tank was looking for a specific shot. The highlight-reel KO introduces a knockout puncher to the masses in Davis, and a man who is the closest thing to Mike Tyson, we have seen since, just at the 130 lbs.

Santa Cruz

The four-division world champion took a loss on Saturday night, but despite suffering a KO loss faired well. I had Santa Cruz up at the time of the stoppage, but the power of “Tank” Davis proved too much as it appeared he was giving up rounds at times looking for the big shot.

The big takeaway from this fight is how well Al Haymon managed Leo Santa Cruz’s career. In what will surely be one of the last fights of Santa Cruz’s potentially hall-of-fame career, Santa Cruz has made millions of millions of dollars, over the course of his career in the lower weight divisions. Haymon and Santa Cruz moved appropriately to maximize Santa Cruz’s value.

Barrios, Progais

Mario Barrios stopped Ryan Karl, Regis Prograis stopped Juan Heraldez, as the two 140 lbers, Barrios a current WBA super lightweight world champion, and Prograis, a former world champion, seem destined to face each other, especially fighting on the same card.

Barrios is the taller of the two, a more traditional boxer, trained by Virgil Hunter, whereas Prograis is the thicker man, with a punch that resembles the fearsome creature he is named after a “rougarou”.

These two doing battle for a belt, will provide clarity to this division, as with the expected move up of Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez after their unification bout, these guys along with Arnold Barboza Jr, and Jose Zepeda seem to be the top of the class right now.

Also of note, Prograis missed weight by one-and-a-half pounds for this affair, though we will give him the benefit of the doubt as his wife was pregnant during this bout.

Cruz stops Magdaleno

Isaac Cruz came into his bout rather anonymously, yet left with a notable name. Cruz who holds wins over former Top Rank fighter Jose Felix Jr., and Thomas Mattice, stopped Magdaleno brutally in less than a minute into the first round.

The bout also felt to be a sad ending to the career of Magdaleno, who has always been a likable fighter, with an amazing work ethic, just not quite the same skillset as his brother Jessie Magdaleno. This was the third knockout loss of Magdaleno’s career and his second in a two-year span, the last coming to generational talent, Teofimo Lopez.

Rivera, Perez

For some odd reason, the undercard to the PPV was not televised, but lightweight Michel Rivera is continuing to emerge as a dark horse of the lightweight division. Many insiders believe he could be the next Capital G Guy there, his win over Ladarius “Memphis” Miller only furthered that.

One thing is for sure, Rivera will get to the top of the division, and when he does a lot will be learned about him, but be ready for him to be in big fights.

Jerry Perez of MT Sports defeats Joshua Zuniga, on the undercard. Perez is arguably the most talented fighter with MT Sports and made a massive statement beating a one-loss, well-trained fighter, as he will more than likely now, be in a ShoBox level card or higher fight in his next outing.

The Monster Cometh

Easily overshadowed by the marquee PPV fight of “Tank” Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz, Naoya Inoue’s debut for Top Rank, on ESPN+, was everything that was hoped for. Inoue, a three-division world champ, currently holding the WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles, has the elite traits most like the in the sport of boxing with power matched with timing and speed.

Inoue feels like the remix of Nonito Donaire, a big man in a division of smaller men, with a fearsome punch, and skills to boot. With Inoue’s dominance, we now just wait for a foe, who will test, which some believe could be John Riel Casimero.

Mayer Is Champ, Still Dominate

Mikaela Mayer has been one of the most dominant American fighters, over the last year or so, as her step-up bout against Helen Joseph and world title win over Ewa Brodnicka, were not close at all, as an untrained eye wouldn’t even observe a difference between her world-level fights and her developmental bouts. Mayer immediately targeted Terri Harper on social media, a fellow world-champion after the bout.

Keep Watching Jared Anderson

Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson, is 7-0 with 7 KOs, and no matter, how you spin it that is impressive. Since turning professional last year October, the J Prince managed boxer, and Top Rank signed prospect, has been nothing short of impressive. With his activity, seven fights in one calendar year despite an unforeseen pandemic, Anderson is moving fast.

Anderson could face Guido Vianello in the near future, and if he does, Anderson would be the favorite.


Former unified cruiserweight world champ Oleksandr Usyk is showing that heavyweight is a different beast as his two bouts with true heavyweights have not blown the doors off of anyone, as his fight with Chazz Witherspoon was underwhelming, and his fight with Derek Chisora, more so cautionary.

The power isn’t there for Usyk at heavyweight, nor was he a huge puncher to begin with, and now he is battling much bigger fighters, in what feels like constant uphill battles for the prizefighter. One of the best cruiserweights of the modern era looks to be doomed by the curse of the cruiserweight division, which often abandoned by the best, in hopes of challenging for big purses at a not ideal weight class, heavyweight.

Munguia Splits Johnson’s Lip

Jaime Munguia will never be an amazing fighter, but he will be an action fighter, in some violent bouts, and those bouts could lead him into a hall-of-fame career. Munguia now training with Erik Morales, seems to move his head, something that in the early part of his career, looked to be an unforeseen concept.

Tureano Johnson who faired well with Munguia, on Friday night, saw his body fail him as his legs didn’t look like they once did, and his body, especially lips couldn’t take the damage, that they once could as well.

The new question is not, if, but when does Munguia fights Gennady Golovkin, as that now seems inevitable.

Wilder’s Bizarre IG video

I wrote about this yesterday and you should read that if this is a topic you’re interested in.

In short, Wilder made an odd video accusing Tyson Fury of cheating, and Mark Breland, an ex-coach, of being disloyal.

For me, the video speaks less to Wilder, and more so, how if you consume a lot of content on apps, and social media devices, it can become your world, and it appears the sub-culture of YouTube conspiracies around Wilder’s bout, is a world that Wilder now lives in as this video felt as though he was speaking to these groups directly.

Haney returns

Devin Haney never asked to be an interim WBC champion, and yet he is at the forefront of the conversation around if Teofimo Lopez is undisputed.

Haney, who fights former 2004 Olympic gold medalist and former world champ Yuriorkis Gamboa, on DAZN, this Saturday, will be looking to keep the forward trajectory of his peers, Teofimo Lopez and “Tank” Davis.

Gamboa is a tricky fight and the literal definition of a trap fight. Most will write off his skills, saying Gamboa is shopworn, but this is Gamboa’s Super Bowl, if he looks good in this bout, he gets more fights for big money as a barometer for young fighters. Not to mention this is the best opponent so far, on paper, for Haney in the ring.

I expect to see a great performance from Haney, but don’t be surprised if the veteran, Gamboa, tries to use all of his craft to make this one difficult.

Heavyweights Stay Busy on Fox

Heavyweights Luis Ortiz, Frank Sanchez, and Michael Coffie are all in-action, in separate bouts on Fox, this weekend.

I have to be honest. I am not the biggest outlet, and honesty is vital to you reading my column.

None of these bouts jump off the page to me and scream “sexy”, and beyond that, they all sort of feel like stay busy fights to prep these guys for big fights next year.

The most meaningful bout on the card will be Frank Sanchez, a/k/a The Cuban Flash, versus Brian Howard as the WBO NABO heavyweight title is on the line, but essentially, this card should serve as a showcase and introduction of these fighters to the masses.

DeLoach vs Stanionis

Much like FS1 typically does, we have a solid main event tonight on a Wednesday night with little fanfare as welterweight Eimantas Stanionis will face proven tough out, Justin DeLoach, who has beaten five prospects in recent memory.

Stanionis, a 2016 Olympian, training at the historic boxing institution Wild Card Boxing Club, in Hollywood, Ca, has yet to face a test like DeLoach in his career. The bout will tell a lot about both fighters.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle