Leigh Wood Considering Leaving Fight with Leo Santa Cruz
As 3Kings Boxing previously reported, WBA Super featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz
(38-2-1, 19 KOs) has agreed to face WBA Regular 126-pound champion Leigh Wood (26-2, 15 KOs). The decision was the byproduct of the WBA denying Santa Cruz’s request for a unification match with newly crowned WBC champion Rey Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs).
But is Santa Cruz v Wood an automatic? While the answer would seemingly be ‘yes’, some hurdles have emerged. During an interview with UK boxing media outlet iFL TV, Wood’s promoter and Matchroom Promotions chairman, Eddie Hearn, talked about the possible fight and what could prevent it from happening.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
“We got good news and bad news on that. The good news was the WBA said, ‘no, Leo Santa Cruz, you have to fight Leigh Wood’. The bad news is they ordered it at 75-25 (percent), back from almost 60-40 (percent), which I feel is unfair to Leigh Wood. It means he won’t get the payday for that fight.
So, we’re talking to the PBC. Do we allow the unification? Do we have another fight for Leigh Wood
in September? Do we make the Josh Warrington unification?
I mean there’s huge fights out there for Leigh Wood; he’s actually really in a good position. But
we just need to establish, with Leigh and Ben (Davidson), the immediate future. So, I spoke to him this morning, and the Leigh Wood fight news could be dropping very soon.”
You can understand Hearn’s issues with the WBA over the purse split. All he’s doing is standing
up for his fighter from a financial perspective. However, sanctioning rules are sanctioning rules; the WBA is just abiding by its guidelines.
SHOULD SANTA CRUZ VERSUS WOOD NOT HAPPEN?
The scenarios Hearn laid out, should Santa Cruz and Wood not face each other, are noteworthy. Wood could instead face current IBF champ Josh Warrington, who is currently on the mend from a broken jaw suffered in his rematch win over Kiko Martinez in March 2022. Word on the street is that Warrington’s next fight will be against IBF mandatory challenger Luis Lopez this Fall. But the IBF champ and Wood both fight for Matchroom. Hearn would have no problem making that match, which would be a big deal in the UK.
Then there’s the issue of Santa Cruz. Should he not face Wood, that would open the door for him to
fight Vargas. Following his win over Mark Magsayo to capture the WBC belt on July 10, Vargas said he would like a fight with Santa Cruz.
The fact that Hearn is talking to the PBC means he’s open to letting Santa Cruz and Vargas face each
other next and let Wood have an optional fight. So, despite Santa Cruz agreeing to face Wood, that fight is far from a done deal. Stay tuned to 3Kings Boxing for further updates.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.