By Gav Duthie: One other main chess piece has been added to the already stacked 135-pound light-weight division with the spectacular debut of Cuban sensation Andy Cruz. The 2020 Olympic gold medalist (21) shut out former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos over ten rounds on the identical evening as prospect Floyd Schofield picked up one other win, as did contender Frank Martin.
Such have been the beginnings and the fame of Cruz. Many surprise if he might defeat such prospects proper now. Cruz is not a spring rooster, however at 27, he does not should be moved quick both. He’s on the peak of his sporting profession, so the query is, what are the subsequent strikes? The highlight is on him and his promoter Eddie Hearn.
Provided that Cruz is Cuban, he might turn out to be president of the “What Wants Him” membership, which is basically how the careers of Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux have performed out. Each had success as world champions however have been largely shunned for legacy fights and massive cash.
The Cuban downside
There are two foremost issues for Cubans. The primary is that they lack the assist of their nation to be skilled, which takes away a possible fan base. The opposite is that their fashion is to attain factors, defensive. Luis Ortiz has confirmed well-liked together with his knockout fashion, whereas Frank Sanchez is already shunned. Lara and Rigondeaux, as talked about above, have been largely shunned because of defensive and unentertaining boxing on massive nights.
Andy Cruz is a defensive wizard however very like new WBO featherweight champion and compatriot Robeisy Ramirez, however the latter has proven a fan-friendly skilled fashion, so even within the early levels of defeat he has lots of potential for giant fights sooner or later. Cruz positively confirmed a great combine towards Burgos.
The issue of lightness
The issue at 135/140 kilos is that with Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Vasyl Lomachenko, Devin Haney, William Zepeda, Teofimo Lopez, in addition to Frank Martin, who wants Andy Cruz? Maybe the one one who wants him out of all of the contenders is Keyshawn Davis, because it’s well-known that Davis and Cruz have fought 4 occasions as amateurs, with Cruz profitable all 4, together with the 2020 Olympic closing. To be honest to Davis, he did not hearth Cruz. He typically talks about himself and thinks he could be actually occupied with combating.
Let’s be trustworthy, other than the Flyweight and Canelo divisions, Eddie Hearn’s American Tail hasn’t precisely been a traditional success story. All eyes will probably be on him for a way he promotes Andy Cruz. Eddie stated he was one of the vital gifted fighters he had ever signed. Followers and the media will probably be taking a look at two issues, how a lot threat he takes with Cruz and might he get him the largest fights towards the most effective opponents.
Juan Carlos Burgos was a great first opponent. He’s a former world title challenger with 45 skilled fights underneath his belt. He was 35-7-3 (21) going into the Cruz battle, which is a powerful begin. Many thought Burgos ought to have received his world try towards Roman Martinez when he drew, however that was in 2013, and Burgos, after shedding to Cruz, has now misplaced 6 of his final 10 video games. Was this begin an enormous threat? Not likely. It was calculated. Spectacular however calculated, Burgos is all the time up for it, he is by no means been stopped and he is solely fought Keyshawn Davis just a few fights again. Eddie would have hoped that Cruz might have stopped him to do higher than Davis, but in addition that Burgos was possible to offer him ten rounds. Cruz regarded simply as contemporary in Lap 10 as he did in Lap 1, so it appears to be like nice going ahead.
What does Eddie do subsequent? He’ll bear in mind that he cannot have one other Devin Haney and Demetrius Andrade state of affairs the place he cannot get him the massive fights. The strikes he makes with this chess piece must be deliberate and strategic. There should be a buzz round Cruz; folks must assume he can beat the most effective and so they must battle him. The easiest way to do that is to take dangers. He wants massive opponents early on, however he does not need to lose like Lomachenko did in his second battle towards Salido.
Listed below are some potential opponents for his subsequent battle.
Due to Gesta
A win towards any of those fighters would positively create a buzz with out the massive threat of shedding.
Joseph Diaz simply ended a 3-game shedding streak and nonetheless thinks he is usually a contender. He’s a former world champion and gave Devin Haney one among his hardest assignments.
Yuriorkis Gamboa appears unlikely, however it’s a great story. He was an Olympic gold medalist in 2004 and a former world champion, however like Rigondeaux, Lara, massive fights typically eluded him till he was previous. Gamboa killed somebody in a street accident on December 31, 2022 and can’t go away the nation presently. He’s additionally 41 and has misplaced his final 3. It is a good passing of the torch, however it appears unlikely.
Anthony Yigit is a former European champion and world title challenger and, most significantly, has simply boxed 9 rounds with Keyshawn Davis. He has a pleasant fashion however, once more, that might be a great comparability for Cruz and Davis.
Jorge Linares is a light-weight legend, however his greatest days are effectively behind him. He has misplaced his final three video games and was fully overwhelmed in his final outing. It could nonetheless be an enormous step ahead for such an inexperienced professional and a giant scalp.
Mercito Gesta has simply overwhelmed Jojo Diaz lately and has all the time been a wonderful goalkeeper for the highest flight and contenders. Gesta would are available in to win and really feel he nonetheless has a giant battle in him at this level.
Davis has beforehand spoken about his debut common and that he would have an interest within the battle if Cruz appears to be like good in his subsequent outing. It is a Matchroom v High Rank state of affairs, however I believe Eddie Hearn must ship this battle by Cruz’s fifth outing. Solely with spectacular wins can Cruz get the largest fights towards the largest skills. The boxing world will probably be watching.