Andy Cruz Debut set for July 15th; Eddie Hearn Sets Course For Fast-Track
Matchroom Boxing made headlines last week after securing a couple of high value free agents. WBC junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis and reigning Olympic gold medalist at 63 kg Andy Cruz are now with Hearn.
It was a home run from Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, and he deserves all the flowers.
These subsequent moves could be significant in his quest to gain an even stronger foothold stateside.
Regis Prograis Assessment
Prograis offers immediate impact with a world title in hand and a style that matches well with just about any opponent in or around the 140lb division.
In the weeks leading up to the Matchroom deal, Boxing Twitter debated over which promotional outfit best suited the Louisiana-born fighter.
The excitement in this kind of dialogue is as close as boxing gets to pro leagues like the NBA when a major player hits the free agency market.
So, while Prograis “takes his talents to South Beach,” Andy Cruz – tantamount to the hotshot Heisman winning college QB with a 1st overall guarantee – offers more in the way of future.
Eddie knows this, and that is why he decided to announce the signing last week—giving him the chance to take some well-deserved victory laps around press row.
Now, historically Cubans have accounted for some of the best boxers in the pro and amateur ranks, but their drawing power in the U.S. has kept them far from being atop the sport’s biggest earners.
Cruz looks like ‘the goods,’ but the pro ranks are altogether a different animal. Fortunately, he fights in a division flooded with big money fights now and the foreseeable future.
This means Hearn needs to start the PR machine immediately for his fighter’s ‘star’ to reach the height of his ability in a few years’ time. It isn’t enough for Cruz to develop into a world-beater over the next 18-24 months if he is not financially viable enough to lure in those big fights.
Fast Track For Andy Cruz
Again, Eddie knows this and perhaps the PR campaign is already in full swing.
In an IFLTV interview published on their YouTube channel, Hearn was adamant of his plans to accelerate Cruz’s track and even had a suggestion for Cruz’s first opponent.
“Honestly, we’d put him with anyone at 135lbs,” Hearn told IFLTV’s Kugan Cassius. “Obviously [it would be] very difficult to get done, but I would love [Cruz] to debut against Keyshawn Davis.
“Keyshawn’s a brilliant fighter—that fight [with Cruz] is a brilliant fight and I’d take that fight now. I rate Keyshawn massively, I think he’s a great talent, but Andy Cruz is just different, this kid is unbelievable.”
When Cassius pressed further and the veracity of his statement was put into question, Hearn insisted he was “1,000,000%” certain he’d make that fight now.
Andy Cruz swept Davis in the amateur ranks 4-0, and, in their last meeting, Cruz defeated Davis via split-decision to take home the Olympic Gold. Regardless, matching Cruz with Davis for his pro debut is a lofty prospect.
Davis responded on social media by urging Hearn to ‘call his promoter’ and offering Cruz ‘tips’ on his transition to the pro ranks from ammy’s.
It was a passionate response from Davis, and I truly believe he would take the fight now, but it unfortunately played into Hearn’s entire objective.
Andy Cruz v Keyshawn Davis Already Rivals
The casual American boxing audience that found Keyshawn Davis only after his viral video from the Olympics featuring Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg were given a doorway into the comments made by the UK’s Hearn.
In the video, Keyshawn accuses Hearn of trying to use his name to build up Cruz, and maybe he’s right.
But if Matchroom and Cruz are willing to make this fight then I do not really see a problem.
After all, Tank-Garcia was only as big as it was because both parties used each other’s names for years to build their very successful PPV.
That would be the biggest issue in the reality of making this matchup now. The business for this fight is not as great as it could be years from now.
So, is this all a troll or could it boil over into an actual fight sooner than most boxing pundits could have ever predicted?
Hearn is set to debut his prized rookie on Alycia Baumgardner’s undercard this summer, which is tentatively scheduled for July 15th. The fight has not been officially announced, though Hearn confirmed as much in the very same IFLTV interview on YouTube.
“Andy Cruz is one of the great signings. I mean, the feedback’s been incredible from fight fans, they know how good this guy is. And it looks like Andy Cruz will debut on the Alycia Baumgardner card in July.”
Follow @NYFights on Twitter for any official announcements to this card.