Gervonta Davis needed an extra half hour to make weight Friday for his World Boxing Association super featherweight world title defense against veteran and former world champion Hugo Ruiz.
Davis, unbeaten with a record of 20-0 with 19 knockouts, came in at 130.2 pounds in his first appearance on the scale, but returned to weigh in under the 130-pound limit at 129.8.
The powerful southpaw was supposed to be defending against three-division champion Abner Mares.
But the 33-year-old Mares (31-3-1, 15 knockouts) pulled out two weeks ago after learning he had suffered a career-threatening detached retina in his right eye in a sparring session.
Ruiz, a former super bantamweight world title holder with a record of 39-4 with 33 knockouts, replaced Mares on 10 days’ notice.
“The opponent change didn’t really affect me,” Davis said this week. “I had been sparring someone taller than me in training camp anyway. I think a fighter should be ready and able to adapt to anything that is in front of him in the ring.
“I’m ready and I hope Ruiz is too. He’s been telling the media he’s going to knock me out, so I hope we get an action packed fight.”
Ruiz will be fighting just three weeks after posting a unanimous 12-round decision over Alberto Guevara on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s 12-round demolition of Adrien Broner in Las Vegas.
While some expect Davis to win in style, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, who promotes Davis, is concerned with the challenge that Ruiz presents.
Ellerbe was watching closely in December, when Matt Korobov came in on late notice and nearly derailed undefeated Jermall Charlo.
“This is a guy [Ruiz] that just fought on the Broner card. He’s in great shape, he’s a great fighter and he’s coming to put on a performance on Saturday night. ‘Tank’ is in great shape but he’s got to be cognizant of a guy that he hasn’t prepared for,” Ellerbe said.
“We’ve seen what has happened in other fights, specifically the [Jermall] Charlo fight. [Matvey] Korobov came in as a last-minute replacement and it was a tough fight. Certainly tougher than he had anticipated but that’s part of the sport. ‘Tank’ has to be ready for anything.”