Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Leo Santa Cruz Eyes Eventual Super Bantamweight Run

By Jake Donovan

It’s expected for a young fighter to eventually outgrow a weight class, even more so when he towers over the competition.

Leo Santa Cruz is 24 years old. At 5’7”, few bantamweights in the world can look the unbeaten titlist in the eye, much less stand toe to toe with him in the ring. Six years into his career, the young rising star is entering his optimal prime.

Naturally, there stands a chance that his bantamweight title defense with unbeaten Alberto Guevera this weekend will be his last.

“I’ve been planning to move up for a few months. But the opportunities have kept coming for me so I stayed here,” admits Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13KO).

The biggest opportunity comes this weekend, when he headlines a live broadcast on CBS (Saturday, 4:30PM ET/1:30PM PT). The bout – a bantamweight title defense against Alberto Guevara at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles - is first to air on the free network in more than 15 years, when Bernard Hopkins manhandled then-unbeaten Glen Johnson in 11 rounds way back in July ’97.

Hopkins stuck around at middleweight for another eight years, unifying the division and securing more alphabet title defenses than any other champ in the division’s rich history.

Santa Cruz is making the second defense of the alphabet belt he acquired with a 12-round shutout over Vusi Malinga in June. Just don’t expect him to make a run at any records requiring divisional longevity.

Later in the evening, the CBS portion of the show at the Sports Arena will give way to the Showtime cameras, with that part of the card headlined by the ring return of Amir Khan. Running opposite the broadcast is a pair of 122 lb. fights on HBO – lineal champ Nonito Donaire against Jorge Arce, and Guillermo Rigondeaux in an alphabet title defense against Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.

The aforementioned bouts are presented by Top Rank, which means the likelihood of Santa Cruz – a Golden Boy fighter – facing either winner is minimal. He does, however, stand a very good chance of one day facing Abner Mares, whose career soared to new heights following a thrilling points win over Anselmo Moreno last month in Los Angeles.

Santa Cruz was an interested observer in the main event, particularly given his role in the co-feature when he stopped Victor Zaleta in nine one-sided rounds. His placement on the show lent heavy speculation that a meeting of the night’s winners was a reasonable expectation for the near future.

The concept certainly isn’t lost on this weekend’s matinee attraction.

“[I]f there is an opportunity to fight for the belts at 122, then my plan is to move up and for this fight to be my last at 118,” Santa Cruz admits.

Given the mass defection of bantamweight talent to the super bantamweight division over the course of the past year, there is little to keep Santa Cruz at the weight.

One possibility would be a showdown with Moreno, who still holds a bantamweight title and is promoted by Golden Boy. From a convenience standpoint, it’s an easy fight to make. However, it’s not necessarily one that averts attention from more lucrative fights that await one division north.

“If the people want it and ask for it and think it’s a good fight, and my manager and promoters think it’s a good fight, then I’m ready for anything,” Santa Cruz responds to the suggestion of one day facing Moreno. “If it happens, it happens.”

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

Tags: Leo Santa Cruz image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by IronDanHamza on 12-11-2012

I'd like to see him fight Moreno.

Comment by Cali boxer on 12-11-2012

He's going to be a super star. No doubt in my mind, I think he could take it to Nonito and I'm a big fan of his too. For Santa cruz the sky is the limit. Happy they put an…

Comment by ddangerous on 12-11-2012

I think Leo should stay put at the moment, and see if he can't clean out the division first.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
Top Headlines Photos: Adonis Stevenson Grinds Hard For Fonfara Rematch Brook Quit Vs. Spence Because He Was Worried He'd Go Blind Photos: Jean Pascal, Roy Jones Jr. Come Together - Putting in Work Brook, Hearn Agree the Time is Right to Move Up to 154 Pounds Kovalev Feels Boost With Russian Coach For Andre Ward Rematch Photos: Andrzej Fonfara Open Workout For Stevenson Rematch Kudryashov vs. Durodola II Undercard is Coming Together Felix Alvarado, Rene Alvarado, Byron Rojas Get Knockout Wins Groves: I'm Sure I'll Beat DeGale Again, I Beat Him Twice Already Tim Tszyu Set To Return on July 22 in Toowoomba Sanchez: Golovkin Will Wear Canelo Down By Eight or Ninth Michael Conlan: I Want a Better Opponent Next, A Real Threat Who Can Handle "The Truth" After Brook-Spence? Joshua Could Lose IBF Belt Prior To Klitschko II, Pulev Stands Firm Omar Narvaez vs. Nikolay Potapov For WBO Interim-Title Diego Chaves Lands Grudge Match, Fabian Maidana on Undercard Golden Boy Prez on Working With Cotto Again, Canelo Rematch Povetkin vs. Rudenko Will Require Doping Tests, Says Manager Lipinets' Manager: Indongo Will Face Crawford, Belt Will Be Vacant Roach Relieved, Says Pacquiao Finally Getting Back into Form Miguel Cotto Will Resume Training at Wild Card on July 3 Bellew: Brook Had The Fight Beaten Out of Him By Errol Spence Porter: Spence Sent Message To Entire Welterweight Division Khan Wants to Fight Brook at Bramall Lane Next Summer Spence Broke Brook's Left Orbital Bone, Surgery a Possibility Spence: Brook Had To Quit - Or Eye May Get Permanent Damage Alexander vs. Collazo in Play For Potential Garcia-Broner Card Spence: I Proved Myself; Now It's Time for Thurman to Fight Me! Photos: Errol Spence Drops, Stops Kell Brook - MONSTER Gallery Photos: Groves Finally Does It, Stops Chudinov To Become Champ Callum Smith Pumped, Feels 100% Ready For Anthony Dirrell Groves: Who Wants To Fight Me? I'm Tired of Chasing People Papazov Edges Chaniev, Chebotarev Gets Another Kayo Win Arum: If McGregor Can't Get Mayweather, Then Pacquiao is There! Marquez Fires Back at Miguel Cotto: Take Care of Kamegai First! WBC Asian Boxing Council: Titov and Kurbanov Are Honoured Julio Ceja Drops, Stops Anselmo Moreno in Three Rounds Orlando Salido Gets Off The Floor To Stop Perez in Eight Spence: I Was Sluggish, Wasn't Sharp; Give Myself a B-Minus Video: Errol Spence Gives His Take on Kell Brook Taking a Knee
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement