By Keith Idec
Leo Santa Cruz crushed Victor Terrazas when they fought Aug. 24 for Terrazas’ WBC super bantamweight title.
The unbeaten Santa Cruz dropped Terrazas twice during the third round, when Santa Cruz scored a knockout to win a world title in a second weight class. Tearing through the usually durable Terrazas represented one of the most impressive victories of Santa Cruz’s seven-year pro career.
Terrazas topped fellow Mexican Cristian Mijares (49-7-2, 24 KOs) in his previous bout by split decision. The decision clearly could’ve gone Mijares’ way, but the Terrazas-Mijares match was much more competitive than Santa Cruz-Terrazas.
Their varying levels of success against Terrazas (37-3-1, 21 KOs) still hasn’t left Santa Cruz overconfident as his March 8 fight against Mijares approaches.
“It’s very different,” Santa Cruz said. “This is a different style. Even though we both fought the same guy, it doesn’t mean you can measure us on that fight. But I’m glad that [Mijares is] training hard, because I’m also training hard. I know I’m fighting a very, very good fighter in Cristian Mijares, so I have to be a hundred percent. I’m going to be ready and I know he’s going to be ready, and I’m sure we’re both going to make it a good fight.”
Unlike Terrazas, Mijares is left-handed. Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KOs), of Mira Loma, Calif., also is right-handed, but Mijares knows that won’t make their 12-round fight for Santa Cruz’s WBC 122-pound crown any easier.
“There’s no comparison between Victor Terrazas [and Leo Santa Cruz],” Mijares said. “They’re very different. It’s about styles. Leo has a different style, but I think that we both beat Victor Terrazas.
“Obviously, I didn’t get the decision, but I think that I hurt him in the fight, I wore him down and I prepared him for Leo. But I’m going to be well prepared for this fight against Leo. This is going to be a different kind of fight against Leo. I’m going to be well prepared and I think that we’ll both give it our all and it’s going to be a great fight.”
Santa Cruz-Mijares is one of three undercard fights Showtime Pay-Per-View will broadcast before the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo main event from MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The 32-year-old Mijares respects that he is an underdog against Santa Cruz, 25.
“He’s a way better fighter [than Terrazas],” Mijares said. “It’s going to be a difficult fight. He’s more of a complete fighter. It’s going to be a difficult, complicated fight, but that’s what I want. That’s what motivates me. I’m concentrating on this fight a thousand percent. That’s what motivates me, that he is such a better fighter.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.