“If Andy Cruz wants to show that what is said about him is true, he has to come out and fight,” Burgos said Thursday. “All the pressure is on him.”
The boxers evaluated each other’s opening rounds, with Burgos trying to exploit his physical advantage and Cruz trying to establish distance and rhythm.
Cruz quickly found them both and popped Burgos with two jabs and a mighty right in the third round. Just before the bell, Cruz leaned back to avoid a left hook and thrashed Burgos with a right counter. In the fourth round Cruz began to land uppercuts, and by the fifth round the slicker boxer Cruz had Burgos cornered. He held his right hand to his chin, and misty sweat erupted from Burgos’ head.
“I thought I almost knocked him out so many times, but he always bounced back,” Cruz said. “I have learned a lot, and I still have a lot to learn.”
The Philadelphia native, who took over as Cruise’s trainer in May, was impressed, but not surprised, by the quick turnaround. He has educated Cruz on the subtle but important differences between his two versions of the sport, training him to punch with power on offense and hold on defensively.
“He’s only been with me for two months, but he’s learned defense and everything,” Ennis said. “And he did it under the lights.”
Cruz was originally scheduled to turn professional in Mexico in May 2022 in partnership with the Cuban Boxing Federation and a promoter based in Aguascalientes. However, Cuban authorities canceled his match, leaving him behind while the rest of the team headed to Mexico. At the time, officials accused him of poor practice habits. Cruz suspects the decision was intended to prevent his defection.