‘I Don’t see Pitbull Losing His Title Any Time Soon’

Isaac Cruz, the WBA world super lightweight champion, won his title in emphatic fashion when he defeated Rolly Romero in Las Vegas in March.

Cruz's stock subsequently sky-rocketed, and manager Sean Gibbons said he has not seen anyone’s popularity enhanced as much in a long time. 

Cruz makes his first defense on August 3 at the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on a huge event co-promoted by TGB, Matchroom, Golden Boy, Warriors Boxing and Salita Boxing, and Gibbons can see Cruz stealing the show.

“I guarantee, this guy [Cruz] in Los Angeles will not be able to walk anywhere,” said Gibbons. “When we’re in Vegas and it’s a fight week, we get stopped a good amount of time, and trying to go from an elevator to a restaurant is impossible. There was almost a riot last time, people were pushing and people were shoving. 

“I’ve worked with guys like Orlando Salido, and he reminds me of him in ways, around the same weight divisions, and I’ve worked with some of the best, Chavez and those guys. But right now ‘Pitbull’ is the hottest guy I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve been doing it a long time.

“If there’s going to be a card in Los Angeles, you’re going to need to load up with Mexicans. Thank goodness I’m blessed to work with [heavyweight] Andy Ruiz Jr. and the hottest Mexican outside of Canelo, ‘Pitbull’. There’s a couple of good fights on there, [Tim] Tszyu and [Vergil] Ortiz, Andy and his guy [Jarrell Miller], but Isaac cannot be in a bad fight, and it’s kind of a dangerous fight because my man [Jose] Valenzuela, that style in this California arena is going to be off the charts.”

Gibbons also feels like there is much more to come from Cruz, who is only 25 and 26-2-1 (18 KOs). For a start, Gibbons believes holding the title will improve Cruz as a fighter.

“It's like they say, they improve X amount mentally [by holding a title], and especially him, because his father was basically used as an opponent, Isaac Cruz Sr. not a bad fighter, you see on BoxRec he’s something like 14-6, he fought Vernon Forrest, Ivan Robinson, the kid’s dream, the father’s dream, the father’s father’s dream, was that belt. 

“So I just see a guy who, before we got the opportunity with Rolly, he was in la-la-land. He was in space. We had nothing, we didn’t know what we were doing, he was huge, he was fat, now he looks like a Mexican Mike Tyson, physically, mentally, and he fights for his kids and his wife, and they’re with him all the time, when he’s in camp and at the fight. So I see a guy who’s not going to lose that belt any time soon.” 

There are big fights out there for Cruz, but August 3 should work towards building his brand and possibly another fun fight, but there are two opponents that Gibbons admits will help Cruz’s star shine even brighter, one is a rematch with Gervonta “Tank” Davis and the other is with Ryan Garcia, who has become one of the most controversial figures in the sport. Tank battled to a hard-fought and narrow decision win over Cruz in 2021. 

“Not that we’re chasing him, our little friend Gervonta, we’re done trying to make the fight unless someone says, ‘Here’s a contract’,” added Gibbons. “We wasted two years waiting for another opportunity. Ryan would have been another great fight, and unfortunately his situation now we have to wait and see, but the two mega-fights for ‘Pitbull’ were Gervonta rematch and Ryan Garcia. Those are the big ones. Outside of that, if everything goes right on the third [of August], he’s created his own brand. 

“It's the craziest thing. His [Cruz’s] social media went from 814,000 to 1.4m in a week. In a week. That’s bonkers to me. But he’s being recognized everywhere. The Gervonta fight put him on the map, then the fight with Rolly really took him out there. 

“And his personality, who he is, he’s the humblest guy. It’s like [Miguel] Cotto, but Isaac’s got more personality. Cotto was that silent, quiet guy, didn’t like to do a lot of interviews and didn’t like to be around a lot of people, Isaac has a presence that some people in sport have and people just gravitate to. I call it ‘Pitbull’-mania.”