Andy Cruz, the 2020 Olympic gold medalist, is set to make his highly anticipated debut tonight against Juan Carlos Burgos, a former two-time world title challenger. The 10-round bout will be for the IBF International lightweight title and will broadcast live on DAZN from the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
Cruz, the talented Cuban star, recently inked a multi-year deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promotional company. Hearn has ambitious plans to expedite Cruz’s journey to a world title. At 28 years old, time is of the essence, and a swift progression through the ranks offers Cruz the best chance of capturing a belt before age becomes a factor.
His opponent, 35-year-old Burgos, has recently faced a string of defeats, losing five out of his last seven fights. Most notably, he suffered a decisive eight-round unanimous decision loss to Keyshawn Davis in December. Despite his experience, Burgos faces an uphill battle against the rising star Cruz.
For Cruz, Hearn’s goal is to secure a title shot for the young fighter before he reaches the age of 30, a critical turning point in the lightweight division. To accomplish this, Cruz’s career trajectory must be carefully managed. His extensive amateur background, with over 140 fights, allows for a faster pace than that of ordinary fighters. However, Cruz must maintain discipline with weight management, as some Cuban fighters have struggled with their weight after turning professional.
While Cruz’s lack of punching power may pose a challenge, staying in the lightweight division and adapting his style to the professional game will be essential. The lightweight landscape demands both boxing skills and power and Cruz will need to develop more forceful punches to compete with the division’s elite fighters.
If Cruz hopes to secure a title shot within the next two years, he may need to work his way into a mandatory position at 135 pounds. This could involve fighting frequently, potentially up to four times a year. Only by displaying continuous improvement and adding power to his arsenal will Cruz have a chance to excel among the top fighters in the lightweight division.
It remains to be seen whether Cruz can develop the necessary punching power, as his amateur career did not showcase it. However, examples like Devin Haney, who succeeded in the pro ranks despite lacking power, demonstrate that skills can be adapted and honed for professional success.
Tonight’s fight against Juan Carlos Burgos marks the beginning of Andy Cruz’s professional journey, and fans eagerly await the performance of this promising young talent.