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Davis vs. Santa Cruz: Odds, Keys to Victory, and Prediction

Joseph Herron Updated
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Tonight, Saturday, October 31st, WBA "Regular" Lightweight champion Gervonta "Tank" Davis (23-0, 22 KO's) will challenge current WBA "Super" Junior Lightweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KO's) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Both fighters' titles will be up for grabs in the main event of a Mayweather Promotions fight card, slated to air this evening on Showtime PPV, with a start time of 9PM ET/6PM PT.

Fight fans can stream the event live from your PC or mobile device for a one-time cost of $74.99: Davis vs. Santa Cruz on Showtime PPV

Although Gervonta's Lightweight title will be on the line this evening, both combatants were required to make the 130 pound division limit during Friday's official pre-fight weigh in.  Will having to burn the extra five pounds the day before the fight play a role in determining the eventual victor?

According to most Race and Sports Books, bettors and fans don't seem to think the weight-cut will affect the performance of the naturally bigger fight in tonight's main event!


Betting Odds

While Leo Santa Cruz boasts greater big fight experience, Gervonta Davis is currently listed as the betting odds favorite to win tonight's dual championship contest!

According to the Book at the MGM, "Tank" is currently receiving greater than 7 to 1 (-715) odds for a straight up victory; so you could win a whopping $13.99 for every $100 wager on the betting odds favorite.

The 32-year-old Super Featherweight champion is currently listed as a live 4 to 1 (+400) betting underdog; which means you could win $400 by placing a wager of $100 on a straight up Leo Santa Cruz victory, should he get his arm raised when the final bell sounds.

Despite many experts believing that Leo's fight style is conducive for an explosive and resounding Gervonta Davis KO victory, history tells us that knock-outs are very rare at the elite level in the smaller weight divisions.  

Both men are elite level warriors, and "El Terremoto" has proven his mental and physical durability throughout his 14-year professional career.  While Tank does possess one punch knock-out power in either hand, fans shouldn't be surprised to see this one go the entire twelve rounds.

But because the current trend among judges is to reward the harder and more seemingly consequential puncher, Gervonta should receive the nod in most close competitive rounds in this match-up.

I like the odds for a points victory either way.  So I would bet on Gervonta Davis to win on points at greater than 2 to 1 (+210) odds, hedged with a points victory for Leo Santa Cruz with 6 to 1 (+600) betting odds.  That's the smart bet for tonight's main event!


Keys to Victory

Gervonta Davis -  To be victorious in his first PPV effort, Tank simply has to be the Tank in this match-up.  Leo will attempt to use his height and reach to his advantage in this fight, so Gervonta can't sit and wait on Santa Cruz to dictate the pace of the fight.  Davis has to be the aggressor in this match-up, and take advantage of Leo's tendency to let his hands go with regularity.  Tank must cut off the ring and close the distance, limiting Leo's movement to be effective in this fight.

Whenever Leo shoots the jab from mid to long range, Tank should look to shoot his straight left hand down the middle, followed by the right hook as he pivots out of the direct line of fire.  In the event that Terremoto does elect to fight on the inside, Gervonta should be ready to throw the left uppercut underneath.  Also, despite having a world class beard, Leo doesn't like getting hit regularly to the midsection.  Gervonta can't forget about his left hook to the liver on the inside...that could be his most successful punch of the evening.

Because Gervonta combines speed with power, he's very economical with his punch output.  Davis has to make every punch count and can't waste any punches.  

If Gervonta Davis can match his customary 40% connect rate against a hardworking and durable fight veteran like Leo Santa Cruz, Tank will have his arm raised in victory with his explosive power being the difference on the judges' score cards!

Leo Santa Cruz - To pull off the upset this evening, Leo has to be smart and can't get baited into a fire fight on the inside. Two division world titlist Jose Pedraza unwisely elected to slug it out with Tank on the inside, and he paid dearly.  Leo's primary key to victory will be intelligent punch volume, working behind a sporadic jab to try and disrupt the timing and rhythm of the explosive counter puncher.  Because Tank combines speed with power, he always sacrifices punch volume.

Santa Cruz has to implement an intelligent jab, mixing touch jabs, feints and hard, sticking jabs in irregular intervals.  Leo also has to use his footwork as the foundation for his defense, successfully moving in and out of range like a needle on a sewing machine.  He also has to keep his front foot on the outside of Tank's lead leg, so he can pivot around him after throwing a sharp combination to the body and head.

Most importantly, El Terremoto absolutely must stay off the ropes and out of corners.  He has to try and keep the action in the center of the ring as much as possible.  Leo cannot allow Gervonta to set his feet to throw punches.  Davis depends on being planted firmly to throw explosive punches, so he cannot become a stationary target for Tank. Because Davis is the much harder puncher in this match-up, distance and movement will be crucial here in the first half of the fight.

In the back half of the fight, Leo can start to put intelligent pressure and begin to work in combination to the body and head once Gervonta begins to slow down.

If Leo can establish an intelligent jab while implementing lots of effective feints to freeze the explosive counter puncher, Santa Cruz could outwork and out-maneuver the stronger fighter, earning a hard fought decision victory!

Final Prediction

Despite hearing last minute talk of an upset decision victory for Leo Santa Cruz in South Texas, it's highly unlikely.  Mayweather Promotions was wise enough to get neutral judges from other parts of the country, rather than depending on Texas state judges to score this important PPV contest accurately.

Although Leo will show his experience and overall toughness over twelve hard rounds of action, look for Gervonta's more explosive, eye-catching punches to carry most of the close, competitive rounds on the judges' scorecards. 

Gervonta Davis UD12 over Leo Santa Cruz


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