Boxing

Fighter of the Month: Isaac Cruz made a strong impression

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The selection process for the Boxing Junkie Fighter of the Month for March was difficult.

A case could be made for a resurgent Anthony Joshua, who restored order in the heavyweight division by knocking out the man who gave Tyson Fury hell, Francis Ngannou. Let’s face it, though: Ngannou isn’t much of an opponent.

Sebastian Fundora took advantage of a horrible cut on Tim Tszyu’s hairline by outworking the 154-pound titleholder to win a split decision and his first world championship. However, Tszyu, blinded by blood, was a shell of the fighter we know he is.

And even Gilberto Ramirez deserves to be mentioned. “Zurdo” easily outpointed naturally bigger Arsen Goulamirian to become the first Mexican to win a major 200-pound belt.

But one fighter stood above the three aforementioned champions: Isaac Cruz, who is our choice for the monthly honor.

“Pitbull’s” performance against then-140-pound titleholder Rolando Romero was more of a coronation than a competitive fight, as the Mexican, who once gave Gervonta Davis all he could handle, overwhelmed Romero with relentless pressure, landed punches almost at will and finally scored an eighth-round knockout.

Romero (15-2, 13 KOs) tried to keep Cruz (26-2-1, 18 KOs) at bay by catching him with hard shots coming in and moving out of harm’s way but he couldn’t do it consistently, which sealed the now-former champion’s unfortunate fate.

And remember: Cruz did it even though he was making his debut as a full-fledged 140-pounder, which added to the significance of his accomplishment.

No one was shocked by the fact Cruz had his hand raised, thereby winning his first major title. He was favored going into the fight. It was his utter domination of a beltholder that put the other junior welterweights on notice: A little monster is in their midst.

Is Cruz a threat to division kings Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez or even Subriel Matias? That remains to be seen. Cruz’s fellow beltholders are significantly better all-around fighters than Romero is.

We know two things: One, Cruz pushed the gifted Davis harder than anyone else has, although “Tank” fought with an injured hand. That performance was significant. And, two, the new beltholder couldn’t have made a stronger statement than he did on Saturday.

The 25-year-old from Mexico City has the style, power and durability – can he be hurt? – to give anyone trouble. He could be his country’s next great fighter.

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie

Source : ESPN.com

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