Leo Santa Cruz talks future plans in hopes that a unification is near.
Last time we saw WBA super world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz in the ring was in February as he comfortably defeated Rafael Rivera at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Though Santa Cruz (26-1-1, 19 KO’s) made another successful defense of this title, many boxing fans left unsatisfied. His win drew just as much criticism as it did praise.
The problem is that Rivera is nondescript and largely unknown. Also, since his rematch victory over Carl Frampton in January 2017, the fighter known as “El Terromoto” has continued to win. However, his level of opposition (Chris Avalos, Abner Mares and Rivera) has been unsatisfactory to say the least. His level of activity has dipped noticeably, taking only three fights in the last 29 months.
So the question is when will we not only see Santa Cruz fight next, but when will we see him in a big fight against the best at the featherweight division. Attending the Jermell Charlo vs Jorge Cota weigh-in on June 23 in Houston, Texas the champ discussed what’s upcoming.
In a perfect world Santa Cruz said he would like to stay at Featherweight with the goal of fighting a unification bout against the likes of WBC featherweight Gary Russell Jr or IBF champion Josh Warrington, with Russell being his first target.
“I would like to fight Gary Russell because he wants to fight me. He has the WBC belt, that’s the belt I want. He beat me in the amateurs, I want to get that rematch. In the pros, it will be different.
“If I beat him, I would like to unify against Josh Warrington, then a third fight with Carl Frampton.”
On His Future Plans
Santa Cruz said he’s currently in camp training, staying ready as he tries to secure a big fight. When asked about his expectation of a ring return, he said either by the end of the summer or early fall.
If he can’t secure a big fight against one of the big names at featherweight, he will move up in weight to super featherweight, with current WBA super champion Gervonta Davis as his target.
“If I can’t get the big fight to unify, then I want to move up to 130 and challenge Gervonta Davis.
“He has a fight in July. So maybe I’ll fight to get used to 130. Then if things go good, then maybe fight Gervonta Davis.”
Regardless of what direction he decides to go, it’s time for Leo Santa Cruz to not only fight more, but also step up the level of competition. The featherweight division, in particular, is one of the best in the sport.
A fight between Santa Cruz and either the likes of Russell Jr or Warrington are two of the better fights that can be made, with both fights being close to an even match-up. The question is will we finally see a unification at featherweight? We can only hope so.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.