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Corrie Sanders’ Upset of Wladimir Klitschko Always Overshadowed by Ali-Frazier

Bernard Fernandez

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Corrie Sanders’ Upset of Wladimir Klitschko Always Overshadowed by Ali-Frazier

There are certain dates in boxing that are so consequential they are remembered annually, with reverence, for their historical significance. Perhaps no date fits that description more than March 8, 1971, the night when Joe Frazier scored a 15th-round knockdown of Muhammad Ali en route to winning a hard-fought, unanimous decision in Madison Square Garden in the “Fight of the Century.”

The upcoming anniversary of that remarkable event marks 49 years since “The Greatest” and “Smokin’ Joe” made magic together for the first of their three times sharing the ring, and the familiar written and spoken remembrances will again pay homage to arguably the most anticipated boxing match of all time. But the real tsunami of tributes will come in 2021, on the 50th anniversary of a megafight that seized the world’s attention as none before or since.

But there is another notable heavyweight fight that took place on another March 8, not exactly overlooked by history, but understandably relegated to a lesser place in a pecking order that forever shall reserve the top spot on that date for Ali-Frazier I. Still, Corrie Sanders’ shocking, second-round stoppage of WBO titlist Wladimir Klitschko on March 8, 2003, in Hanover, Germany, merits recognition both as a monumental upset and as a reminder that those who do not learn from history are sometimes obliged to repeat it.

Not exactly on the same elevated plateau as Ali-Frazier I, but not too far below it, is the celebrated date of Feb. 11, 1990, when Buster Douglas, a supposedly no-chance challenger to Mike Tyson’s supposedly invincible heavyweight championship reign, transformed the 42-to-1 odds against himself into the most stunning upset ever in boxing, and maybe in any sport, when he knocked out Tyson in 10 rounds in Tokyo. You say that Tyson went into that bout underprepared and overconfident? That Douglas dared to believe he was more than just another of Iron Mike’s designated victims? All true, but the parallels between Tyson-Douglas and Wlad-Sanders are eerily similar and cannot be dismissed.

Just as Douglas was generally considered to be a talented fighter whose mental lapses and indifferent approach to training made him less than he could have and maybe should have been, so, too, was Sanders, a 37-year-old South African southpaw, viewed as something of an underachiever, despite the 38-2 record with 30 KO victories he brought into his matchup with the younger and arguably more naturally talented of boxing’s Klitschko brothers.

Making the sixth defense of the WBO title he had won on a unanimous decision over slick-boxing southpaw Chris Byrd on Oct. 14, 2000, Klitschko was a huge favorite over Sanders, a Buster-like 40-1 long shot whose lack of peak conditioning for more than a few of his fights had become a recurring theme. When the always-impressively-muscled Wlad, whose intimidating nickname was “Dr. Steelhammer,” looked at Sanders, the fleshy guy bereft of six-pack abs, it must have been much the same as when Tyson made the mistake of writing off Douglas as just another fat impostor who would fall down the first time he got nailed solidly.

“He was what people in boxing call a `bum,’” Klitschko said in 2009 of his impression of Sanders, which soon proved to be incorrect. “I was tired. I’d been busy. I went into the ring thinking I’ll knock this guy out in one round and go home.

“This is the worst way to think. It’s a psychological disaster. You can’t think about vacation when you’re about to step in the ring. In my entire career, nobody ever beat me (like Sanders did).”

Klitschko’s miscalculation was apparent to HBO analyst George Foreman even before Sanders floored the Ukrainian twice in the first round and twice more in the second. Big George noted that Klitschko was “bone-dry” before the opening bell, a sign that he had not warmed up properly in his dressing room before making his way to the ring.

“Wladimir Klitschko seems so perfect, you wonder what’s wrong with him. Can Corrie Sanders find out?” Larry Merchant, another member of the HBO broadcast crew, said of the awe-inspiring man who had come in on a 16-bout winning streak, 15 of those victories coming inside the distance, including put-aways of such quality opponents as Axel Schulz, Monte Barrett, Frans Botha and Ray Mercer.

What was wrong with Wlad was something that had been demonstrated before, in his only pro defeat, an 11th-round TKO against American journeyman Ross Puritty on Dec. 5, 1998, and would again be demonstrated in losses inside the distance against Lamon Brewster and Anthony Joshua. Even in a unanimous, 12-round conquest of Samuel Peter on Sept. 24, 2005, in Atlantic City, N.J., Klitschko had to overcome three trips to the canvas. For all his obvious strengths, which are sure to gain him first-ballot induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2021, what “Dr. Steelhammer” lacked was a granite jaw. If you caught him just so, he could and would go down.

Whether or not Wlad’s falsely inflated sense of confidence for the Sanders fight extended to his trainer, Fritz Sdunek, or older brother Vitali Klitschko, the future WBC heavyweight titlist who also was a member of the corner team on that date, is a matter of conjecture. What is indisputable is that Vitali, clearly upset that referee Genaro Rodriguez had stopped the bout less than a half-minute into the second round, a reasonable action given those four knockdowns in quick succession, angrily confronted Sanders, shouting his intention to gain either revenge or a restoration of family pride, take your pick.

“This belt belongs to us!” Vitali, who had made a promise to his mother to always “protect” his younger brother, yelled at Sanders. “It is family property! You fight me next!”

For his part, Sanders, who figured he had just earned the right to savor his career highlight, felt Vitali’s vitriolic display was an improper intrusion.

“He should have let me have the moment, but he was shouting this and that,” the normally laid-back Sanders said of the tense exchange. “It was me who deserved the belt that night, no one else. He had no right to get into the ring as it was my time and not his. I simply told him, `I’ve beaten your brother and next time I’ll beat you.’”

As things turned out, it was indeed Vitali who got the next crack at Sanders, even though a do-over with Wlad seemingly was made to order for HBO, which, if rumors are correct, hadn’t been all that hot to televise the just-concluded fight, the consensus in the cable giant’s executive offices being that Wlad was so superior that Sanders would put up token resistance at best. But then Sanders vacated his newly won WBO title in December 2003 so that he could concentrate on a challenge for the presumably more prestigious WBC belt, which had become vacant in the wake of Lennox Lewis’ retirement. Lewis had retained his championship in his final fight, a sixth-round stoppage of a badly bleeding Vitali Klitschko on June 21, 2003, but he trailed on all three official scorecards at the time. HBO had no qualms whatsoever in signing off on a pairing of Vitali, known as “Dr. Ironfist,” with Sanders in a pugilistic version of the Hatfields vs. the McCoys.

Vitali avenged Wlad’s defeat by stopping Sanders in eight rounds on April 24, 2004, at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, but it was no cakewalk for the winner. Sanders, an all-around athlete who had played rugby and cricket as a schoolboy and had become so proficient at golf that he considered trying out for the PGA Tour, would go on to win three more bouts, but he called it quits, at 42, when he was TKO’ed in one round by 30-year-old Osborne Machimana on Feb. 2, 2008, for the South African heavyweight title.

The perspective of time has a way of either illuminating or diminishing the careers of certain fighters who are not easily categorized. In retrospect, Cornelius Johannes Sanders was, like Buster Douglas, probably better than what he was given credited for being throughout much of a career played out in relative anonymity. Sanders – who bore an unfortunate facial resemblance to Mark Gastineau, the former New York Jets defensive end who wasn’t nearly as successful a boxer as he was at sacking quarterbacks – had much of life still to live when, on Sept. 23, 2012, he died at 46, a day after being shot by robbers at a restaurant in Brits, South Africa, to celebrate a family member’s 21st birthday. He died a hero, trying to shield his teenage daughter, Marinique, during the premeditated attack.

Three Zimbabweans, all in their early 20s and first offenders, were convicted of murder, armed robbery and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. Each is serving what is tantamount to a 30-year sentence, a penalty not seemingly in keeping with the seriousness of the crimes committed.

“The loss against him changed a side of my character tremendously. It made me tougher and it made me better,” Wlad said upon being informed of Sanders’ death. “Without my experience with Corrie I wouldn’t be the same way.

“The boxing world will remember Corrie as a heavy hitter and a good man. I have nothing bad to say about Corrie at all.”

Was Corrie Sanders a one-hit wonder? Not really. Before his rout of Wlad, he had wins over such recognizable names as Johnny DuPlooy, Al “Ice” Cole, Bobby Czyz, Carlos De Leon and Bert Cooper. Would his status in global boxing been more established had he not been so intent on fighting primarily in South Africa, instead of moving to the United States as had been the case with several of his countrymen, like Botha? Probably. But home is where the heart is, and Corrie Sanders’ heart was forever anchored in the nation of his birth.

“Maybe I loved my country too much,” he once said.

Can’t fault a man for that.

Bernard Fernandez retired in 2012 after a 43-year career as a newspaper sports writer, the last 28 years with the Philadelphia Daily News. A former five-term president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Fernandez won the BWAA’s Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism in 1998 and the Barney Nagler Award for Long and Meritorious Service in 2005. On Jun 14, 2020, New Orleans native Fernandez — who now writes exclusively for The Sweet Science — will be formally inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

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It’s been largely lost in the ragout, at least on this side of the pond, but Saturday’s busy fight docket includes the return of Oleksandr Usyk, the former Olympic gold medalist who left the cruiserweight ranks as a legitimate four-belt champion. The 33-year-old Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), opposes tough but erratic Dereck Chisora, a 36-year old Londoner by way of Zimbabwe. Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), has won five of his last six, the setback occurring in his second encounter with arch-rival Dillian Whyte.

Usyk vs. Chisora, a Matchroom promotion, will play out at Wembley Arena with no fans in attendance. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked among the top three heavyweight contenders by all four major sanctioning bodies although he has fought only once as a heavyweight, turning away under-trained late sub Chazz Witherspoon who was all in after seven frames. Usyk weighed 215 for that contest and is expected to come in about 230 for Chisora.

Usyk, who has anglicized his first name to Alexander on his English-language twitter feed, is a big favorite, but this is a tricky fight for him. The consensus 2018 Fighter of the Year, Usyk has fought only twice since unifying the cruiserweight title with a lopsided decision over Murat Gassiev in July of that year and 55 weeks have elapsed since his last start. If he needs the early rounds to shake off ring rust, he could find himself clawing out of a hole, and sometimes the hole is too deep as Usyk’s stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko can attest. Moreover, Usyk has yet to face a naturally bigger man who can bang as hard as “Del Boy.”

The Usyk-Chisora card will air in North America on DAZN with the main event ring walks anticipated about 6 pm ET.

The tiff is hitched to an interesting undercard. Once-beaten Welshman Lee Selby, briefly the IBF featherweight champion, tangles with Australia’s undefeated (18-0) George Kambosos Jr. Savannah Marshall, who saddled Claressa Shields with her only amateur loss, meets former Shields opponent Hannah Rankin with a vacant world middleweight title at stake, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy opposes Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune for a domestic cruiserweight title, and then there’s the heavyweight fight attracting buzz between popular Yorkshireman David Allen and Christopher Lovejoy.

The buzz surrounds the mysterious 36-year-old Lovejoy who is 19-0 as a pro with all but two of those KOs coming in the opening round.

All of Lovejoy’s fights were staged in Tijuana. Only one of his opponents brought a winning record. For a certain stripe of fighter, Tijuana is the equivalent of a feed lot, a place where livestock go to get fattened up before they are sent off to the slaughterhouse. David Allen is limited, but the most likely scenario in this fight is that it ends with Lovejoy sitting on his stool.

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Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Arne K. Lang

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Diego Armando Magdaleno, the son of a former semi-pro soccer player, was named for Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona. But Diego’s father Jesus is hardly disappointed that his son devoted his energies to a different sport than soccer as Diego, the oldest of Jesus’s three boys, has carved out a nice career as a boxer. On Saturday, he faces Isaac Cruz at the San Antonio Alamodome and a win could thrust him into a third crack at a world lightweight title. Magdaleno vs. Cruz will be televised as part of a SHOWTIME PPV event anchored by a battle between title-holders Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Leo Santa Cruz.

The bookies don’t know what to do with the Magdaleno-Cruz matchup. One can find odds on fights of lesser importance, but with the fight only four days away the pricemakers were in quandary. Team Magdaleno, however, is approaching the fight as if they are the “B” side. Mexico City’s Isaac Cruz, who boasts a 19-1-1 record and is undefeated in his last 15 starts, has a fan-friendly style and is only 22 years old. In theory, he has more value to the promoter going forward than Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) who turns 34 this week.

Magdaleno relishes the underdog role. He was the “B” side in his most recent fight when he opposed Austin Dulay in Dulay’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and he carved out a clear-cut 10-round decision. Dulay, the younger man by nine years and less experienced at the pro level, was in over his head. Their fight was nationally televised on FOX.

Diego Magdaleno was born in Beverly Hills, California, but unlike many folks born there wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. “We were more like the Beverly Hillbillies,” says Diego, a reference to the popular sitcom that ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

For many years, Diego’s father, an immigrant from Sahuayo in the Mexican state of Michoacan, worked at the flagship West LA branch of an iconic Greater Los Angeles hamburger chain. Diego’s parents now manage a 7-11 in Las Vegas.

When Magdaleno first laced on the gloves it was at the Brooklyn Avenue boxing gym in the gritty Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, the same gym where Oscar De La Hoya trained for the Olympic Trials. He continued with the sport after his family – he has three older sisters – moved to Las Vegas.

Diego influenced both of his younger brothers to become boxers. Jessie Magdaleno surpassed him in name recognition when he upset Nonito Nonaire in November of 2016, earning him the WBO world super bantamweight title. Jessie lost the belt in his second defense, succumbing to Isaac Dogboe, but has won three straight since that mishap, advancing his record to 28-1. The youngest Magdaleno brother, Marco, was 4-0 as a pro when he abandoned the sport, having secured a job with good pay and benefits in the construction field.

Diego has applied some of his ring earnings toward a real estate investment in Scipio, Utah, where he owns a parcel of land adjacent to a pioneer home. Scipio is a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and figuratively a million miles away. What does one do for fun in Scipio, pop. 288? The first thing that popped up in our internet search was to go grab a sandwich at the Burger Barn.

There’s a back story there. The pioneer home, built in 1886, was recently purchased by Diego’s fiancée Shannon Torres, a descendent of one of Scipio’s founding families. She and Diego are restoring it. Diego professes to be amazed at the craftsmanship. “When we pulled up the carpets,” he said, “the original hardwood floors were still in great condition.”

Shannon Torres has a boxing background, having fought as an amateur and having sparred with the likes of Mia St. John. She is also a nutritionist. Diego confesses to having a sweet tooth, being fond of cheesecake and anything with peanut butter. “She knows how to make those things for me so they are not as unhealthy,” he says.

Magdaleno’s first loss came in April of 2013 when he lost a split decision to Ramon Martinez in Macau. Diego thought he won the fight, but only one of the judges concurred. At stake was Martinez’s WBO 130-pound world title. His second world title opportunity came against WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan on Flanagan’s turf in Manchester, England. That didn’t go well.

“When I got in the ring, it felt like there was sand under my shoes,” said Diego. “My right foot was sliding underneath me. I overcompensated and that caused me trouble.” Magdaleno loaded up on his punches, a fatal mistake, and was knocked out in the second round.

Top Rank dropped Magdaleno after that fight but would eventually bring him back to fight their rising star Teofimo Lopez. His fight with Austin Dulay was his first fight back after his loss to Lopez (TKO by 7) and his first with new trainer Bones Adams (pictured on the left) in his corner.

Mag

Isaac Cruz poses a different threat than Dulay partly because Cruz, who stands only 5’4 ½”, is a lot shorter. But Magdaleno is confident the result will be the same.

“His style is attack, attack, attack; it’s one-dimensional,” says Diego. “I have been in there and done things that this kid has never seen. I am a big step up for him.”

Unlike many prizefighters, Diego Magdaleno knows where he is heading after his career is finished; he is already a licensed real estate salesman with one listing to his credit. He’s bi-lingual despite having spent only three months living in Mexico, that as a first-grader, and his linguistic versatility will come in handy in his second career. “I know just enough Spanish to get by,” he says, but having heard him speak in his parents’ native tongue we can attest that he’s being much too modest.

For the time being, however, Diego isn’t looking past Saturday night. Magdaleno vs. Cruz is expected to go first on the four-fight PPV portion of the card which kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Magdaleno/Dulay photo credit: Stephanie Trapp

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Will Leo Santa Cruz’s High Volume Punching Stymie Big Hitter ‘Tank’ Davis?

Bernard Fernandez

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WBA “super” 130-pound champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, short (5’5½”), short-armed (a 67½-inch reach) and powerful, has been described by some as a miniature Mike Tyson, which seems reasonable for an undefeated fighter who has won all but one of his 23 professional bouts inside the distance, more than a few of those knockouts of the spectacular variety. And if Davis’ comparisons to “Iron Mike” weren’t enough to stamp him as an emerging superstar, there is also the fact that he is a protégé of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the vainglorious owner of a 50-0 record and distinction as the richest prizefighter ever to lace up a pair of padded gloves. “Money” bills himself as TBE, “The Best Ever,” and he goes so far as to suggest that the big-hitting southpaw from Baltimore for whom he has such high hopes might someday approach his status as a cash-cow and true icon of the ring.

“The ultimate goal is to get him to surpass me,” the 43-year-old and ostensibly retired Mayweather said of the financial and fistic potential of Davis, who turns 26 on Nov. 7 and arguably is in the early stages of his prime. “I’ve been his age. Where he’s trying to go to, and what he’s trying to accomplish, I’ve already accomplished.”

Although Davis has appeared on the undercard of two Pay-Per-View shows headlined by his famous and fabulously wealthy mentor, both he and Mayweather consider his watershed Halloween night confrontation with WBA “super” featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs), in San Antonio’s Alamodome, as Tank’s real coming-out party. It is, after all, Davis’ first time atop his own Showtime PPV event, perhaps the first of several such marquee appearances if the level of public interest in him continues to spike. Ascending to PPV status is a rite of passage both men consider to be a significant key to all the boxing kingdom has to offer, an exclusive club to which many aspire but only a chosen few are allowed to join. The tariff to boxing fans is a $74.95 subscription fee.

“I said, `Tank, you under Mayweather Promotions. So, it’s May-Per-View,” Mayweather told the kid who would be he during the first episode of Showtime’s “All-Access,” the infomercial whose purpose is to help convince pandemic-strapped fight fans to open their wallets.

“I’m grateful for what Floyd did for me, as far as opening doors,” said Davis, who signed with Mayweather Promotions in 2015. “If it wasn’t for Floyd, I wouldn’t have been a champion at 22. He gave me a chance to fight on his Pay-Per-View card. Now I’m here, on my own Pay-Per-View.”

To hear Mayweather and Davis tell it, it is Tank’s singular, reputation-boosting turn in the spotlight, with Santa Cruz more or less along for the ride. The Vegas sports books seemingly are complicit in that perception, with Tank anywhere from a -$350 to a whopping -$710 favorite, odds which could fluctuate throughout the rest of the week as more and larger wagers are placed. Despite his being a four-division world champion, Santa Cruz, the 32-year-old, Mexican-born resident of Rosemead, Calif., whose current title is that of WBA “super” super feather ruler, also considers this particular bout to be historic as it is also his first PPV appearance. And, no, he isn’t bothered by the long odds against him (which range from +260 to +475) or Davis’ reputation as a compact instrument of pugilistic destruction.

“Nobody believes in me,” he said, almost reveling in his rare role as an underdog. “They think I’m this other guy. But I asked for this fight for a reason ’cause I want to prove myself. I’m going to compete and give my all. I’m not scared.

“Gervonta Davis is a great fighter with great skills, great power. I think he’s the most dangerous fighter in the division. Why not go after him? To prove to the people that I’m not scared of nobody.”

Santa Cruz might not pack as much power as Davis, but his forte is high-volume punching. When he defeated Vusi Malinga via 12-round unanimous decision for the vacant IBF bantamweight strap on June 2, 2012, in Carson, Calif., CompuBox statistics revealed he had unfurled a remarkable 1,350 punches, an average of just under 113 per round. Nor were those numbers an aberration for the human perpetual motion machine; in his two confrontations with Abner Mares, both of which were won on points by Santa Cruz, the read-out showed Leo connecting on a combined 730 of 2,115. Many opponents scarcely have time to think, much less react, when Santa Cruz is firing shots with machine-gun rapidity. No wonder he dares to believe Davis will be similarly flustered.

“I think so,” Santa Cruz said when asked if the quantity of his fusillade will more than offset Davis’ superior quality in terms of power. “When you have a fighter on top of you, throwing punches, he’s not letting you think; he’s frustrating you. He’s not letting you do nothing.

“If I do that, it could be dangerous ’cause he’ll be waiting to counterpunch me, to land those big shots, the uppercuts and hooks. So, I got to do a very smart fight, a perfect fight, to beat him.”

For TV purposes, the storyline outside the ropes sometimes is nearly as important in selling the product as what takes place inside them. In that regard Davis and Santa Cruz, so seemingly different in some regards, are strikingly similar in that they were children of poverty, hardly unusual for a sport where years of deprivation can stoke a burning desire to succeed. Santa Cruz’s motivation might even be hiked a bit higher because of the ongoing medical circumstances of his trainer-father, Jose Santa Cruz Sr.

Jose Sr. could be the star of his own medical reality series, the most recent episode being his near-death brush with COVID-19. But the patriarch of a boxing family (brothers Jose Jr., Antonio and Roberto are also involved in Leo’s career) had previously survived a bout with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection, and, in 2016, the diagnosis of Stage 3 myeloma, a blood cancer, that invaded his bones. The father had to undergo weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and although he pulled through Leo cited concerns for his dad’s health as a contributing factor in his sole pro defeat, in which he relinquished his WBA super featherweight title, by 12-round majority decision, to England’s Carl Frampton on July 30, 2016. Santa Cruz avenged that setback, also by majority decision, six months later.

Jose Sr. continues to serve as Leo’s trainer, but so many medical crises have been met and overcome by the father that the son has learned, as best he can, to cope.

And the COVID-19 which again could have brought Jose Sr. the eternal 10-count?

“When he went (into the hospital), they gave us little hope,” Leo said of his dad’s most recent downward plunge on an emotional roller-coaster on which the entire family has been obliged to have seats. “They said he was going to pass away, that he wasn’t going to last the night. We were all depressed and crying. His lungs were failing, his heart was failing. He coded two times; he died and they brought him back to life.

“I had memories of when he used to go on the bus with me, pushing me in the gym, telling me what to do. All those memories were playing in my mind. I really didn’t think he was going to make it. I thought they were going to call us and say, `Hey, your dad passed away.’ But we prayed, we had hope. Thank God, the next day we were told our dad was still in critical condition, but he was doing a little bit better. Day by day he improved. God listened. He made a miracle. My dad survived. Even the doctors were saying that they didn’t know how that happened.”

As was the case with Santa Cruz, who recalls the occasions when the family’s electricity was shut off because of unpaid bills, Davis’ childhood also was hardly a real-life version of Leave It To Beaver. In 1999, while his father was in prison and his mom was battling drug addition, he was placed into child protective services at the age of five. For the next several years he shuttled between foster homes and shelters. But then, at seven, he found his way into the boxing gym run by Calvin Grove, who knew the pitfalls of life on the streets (he had served 10 years behind bars on drug offenses) as well as the need throw-away children such as Gervonta Davis had to finding someone and something to believe in. Ford, now 56, is so much more than Tank’s trainer now; he also is his father-figure and inspiration not to become another faceless, nameless crime statistic.

“Boxing, I would say, saved my life,” Davis said. “All the guys I came up with that were older than me, they got killed. If you got one foot in the street and one foot in the gym, it’s not going to work. You got to be all the way committed with something.

“When I came to the gym, I felt the love that I needed as a child. Calvin basically raised me. What I been through and what I seen coming up, I knew I don’t want to go backwards in life. I know what that brings.”

In addition to Davis-Santa Cruz, the PPV portion of the undercard features the return, after a layoff of 13 months, of former WBA and WBC Diamond super lightweight champion Regis “Rougaroo” Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs), in a 10-rounder against Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs); the WBA junior welterweight title matchup of San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) vs. Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KOs), and a lightweight scrap pitting Diego Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) against Isaac Cruz Gonzalez (19-1-1, 14 KOs).

Photo credit: Esther Lin / Mayweather Promotions

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