Saturday night, Showtime Championship Boxing is headlined by a PBC event when Gervonta “Tank” Davis (20-0; 19 KO) defends his WBA 130 lbs. Super Fetherweight title against Hugo Ruiz (39-4; 32 KO). Davis vs. Ruiz takes place this Saturday, February 9 and airs live on Showtime with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET.
- #2 ranked - The champ is ranked #2 in the division behind only Miguel Berchelt. That’s a very impressive spot for a 24 year old 6 year pro.
- 2nd fight - Davis has been a bit slow in terms of securing fights lately. This is just his 2nd fight since August 2017. That’s perhaps partly due to some legal issues he’s been managing. He was arrested in September 2017, though charges were later dropped. He was arrested again in September 2018 on a different charge.
- Successful step-up - Davis started really stepping up his competition in 2017 and has looked very good in most of those fights. He’s 4-0 against consistently quality opponents, and comes in off a title win over Jesus Cuellar. That run also includes a 7th round win over Jose Pedraza. Davis is quick to point out that P4P king Vasyl Lomachenko went the full 12 with Pedraza.
- 11 straight stoppages - Davis has only seen the final bell once, and that was a 6th round decision back in 2014. Of course, the downside of that is that he’s never gone deep in a fight. His longest fight was 9 rounds in 2015, and he’s only gone past the 6th three times. That’s great for his power - not so great for his development.
- 130 pounds - That’s the weight limit for this fight, and it’s important to note. Davis took three attempts to make the weight against Liam Walsh, then failed to do so against Francisco Forseca. He won both of those fights, but both were controversial stoppages. When combined with the weight issues, they did him no favors in terms of public perception.
- 21 days - It’s a fast turnaround for Ruiz, who last competed on the Pacquiao vs. Broner undercard just three weeks ago. There, he defeated late-replacement fighter Alberto Guevara in a rather lackluster fight.
- 10 days - Ruiz was announced as the official opponent here just 10 days before fight night. Originally, Davis was scheduled to face former champion Abner Mares, but an injury pulled Mares from the fight and Ruiz came in.
- 4 1⁄2 inches - Ruiz’s biggest advantage here is his size. He has 4.5 inches in height over the stocky Tank, and 4.5 inches in reach. He’ll need to use that reach well, working behind his jab if he wants a shot here.
- 2 year gap - Ruiz missed two full years from 2016-2018. He was on a 1-2 run before that gap, but is 3-0 since. So did that time allow him to come back stronger, and are we now seeing the best version of Ruiz? That’s what he needs to show us Saturday night.
- +600 - Those are the underdog odds on Ruiz here. Davis is -1000. Not a surprise there, though it has to be said that we’ve seen a lot of upsets in recent weeks, particularly with this kind of seasoned opponent vs. exciting up-and-comer match-up.
What else is on the card?
- Mario Barrios (22-0; 14 KO) vs. Richard Zamora (19-2; 12 KO) is a 10 round Super Lightweight fight designed to highlight the undefeated Barrios. Zamora’s last two opponents were 36-35-2, and 2-17, and just four fights ago, he fought someone who was 1-0. There you have it.
- Javier Fortuna (33-2-1; 23 KO) vs. Sharif Bogere (32-1; 20 KO) is a much more interesting fight because of Fortuna. He had a big fight last January, coming up just short against Robert Easter, then was injured when he fell out of the ring against Adrian Granados. This is his return fight, and I’m very interested to see him back.
The loss of Mares is a real blow to this fight, as Davis vs. Mares was a great, marquee match-up. Still, Ruiz is someone who could slow things down and play an ugly spoiler. We’ve seen signs of greatness from Davis, but the question is his mental game and focus - will he ultumately follow more of the Mayweather path, or more of the Broner path? We might get a glimpse of that answer here. I’ll be tuning in, and I’ll tune in early to see Fortuna, but if you were to priortize the UFC show, I certainly would understand why.
Prediction: Gervonta Davis, KO 5