Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Leo Santa Cruz: I Fight Whoever They Tell Me To Fight

LOS ANGELES – Leo Santa Cruz discussed potential fights against Gervonta Davis and Oscar Valdez, and why he thinks his long-awaited showdown with Gary Russell Jr. hasn’t happened.

He also addressed the criticism he is taking for facing a low-profile opponent for the third time in his past four fights. In his first fight at 130 pounds, the three-division champion is scheduled to meet Miguel Flores on November 23 in Las Vegas.

The backlash from fans has been intense because Santa Cruz defeated unheralded Rafael Rivera in his last fight. Rivera replaced Flores on short notice for that February 16 match in Los Angeles because Flores suffered an ankle injury in training camp.

“People are always gonna talk, you know?,” Santa Cruz told a group of reporters before a press conference Saturday at Staples Center. “They want the best out of you and everything. Me, I just know this is my job. I fight whoever they tell me, like I say. Workers, when they have a job, they do what they already tell ‘em to do. They’re not gonna go and tell their boss, ‘Hey, I wanna do this. I wanna do that.’ I just tell them, ‘Hey, this is who I wanna fight,’ and if it happens, it happens. Well, whoever they throw in front of me, that’s who I fight.”

leo-santa-cruz (2)_9

Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) contends he would’ve preferred facing Russell in a featherweight title unification bout next. He suggested Russell (30-1, 18 KOs), the WBC 126-pound champion, might’ve priced himself out of it.

“Maybe [Russell] wanted too much money and stuff like that,” Santa Cruz said. “But on my side, I wanted that, too. I said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ But I know the promoters couldn’t come to an agreement on something. I don’t know. It was maybe money-wise. I don’t know.”

The 31-year-old Santa Cruz, of Rosemead, California, expressed more optimism regarding a fight against another potential opponent from Maryland, but Baltimore’s Davis (22-0, 21 KOs) recently moved up from 130 pounds to the lightweight limit of 135.

“I wanna try 130, get stronger, you know, work on power at that weight class,” Santa Cruz said. “And then hopefully we’re looking for that big fight against Tank Davis.”

Within the 130-pound division, a fight versus Valdez (26-0, 20 KOs) would be intriguing as well. Valdez vacated the WBO featherweight title in August to move up to 130 pounds, but he could be headed for a fight with WBC 130-pound champion Miguel Berchelt (36-1, 32 KOs).

“You know, he has a different promoter,” Santa Cruz said of Valdez, who’s promoted by Bob Arum. “But if that fight gets made, that’s a great fight. You know, like Barrera and Morales, two Mexicans. So, I’ll be up for that fight, too.”

For now, Santa Cruz is focused on Houston’s Flores (24-2, 12 KOs), a big underdog. They’ll fight for a vacant version of the WBA’s 130-pound title on the undercard of the Deontay Wilder-Luiz Ortiz WBC heavyweight championship rematch at MGM Grand Garden Arena (FOX Sports Pay-Per-View).

“I think Flores is a dangerous fighter,” Santa Cruz said. “A lot of people are thinking that, ‘Oh, he’s gonna be an easy fight.’ This ain’t gonna be no easy fight. You know, he’s my type of fighter. He comes forward, throwing a lot of punches, good power, everything, good body shots. And he wants it. You know, he wants it as much as I do. So, that is gonna make him dangerous.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Senor_frogs on 10-03-2019

[QUOTE=j.razor;20098459]Cuz the quality fighters won't fight them, DUH.[/QUOTE] Funny how they’re the only Ones who can’t get a quality opponent :thinking:

Comment by j.razor on 10-03-2019

[QUOTE=Senor_frogs;20097231]Nope. Good fights to cash in on. But what about the Charlo bros :lol1: nothing but mismatches[/QUOTE] Cuz the quality fighters won't fight them, DUH.

Comment by j.razor on 10-03-2019

[QUOTE=Theosis26;20096848]When Santa cruz is matched tough he generates decent enough numbers to where he can dictate his own career. Haymon probably just advises Santa cruz who to fight, not outright force him. [B]He will easily beat flores & then became…

Comment by j.razor on 10-03-2019

[QUOTE=factsarenice;20096713]The Hayman MO is talk fights, fight less and only fight the miss-matchs, old names and fighters that never were. Try to sell it on PPV...wash rinse and repeat.[/QUOTE] Wash rinse and repeat is what you do with your propaganda.

Comment by j.razor on 10-03-2019

[QUOTE=Bronx23;20096710]Santa Cruz has always blamed Haymon for us not getting the fights we want to see him in. Remember when Rigo was on his ass and he said "Al Haymon told me that wouldn't be a good fight". Idk how…

Top Headlines
Joseph Diaz-Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov Title Fight is Back On Yeis Solano vs. Mykquan Williams - ShoBox Tripleheader Weights Troy Isley Inks Promotional Pact With Top Rank David Morrell Made WBA 'Regular' Champ, Ordered To Face John Ryder Yoka-Djeko Set For March 5, De Carolis-Richards Secured By Matchroom, More Sofiane Oumiha Turns Pro on March 6, Frank Warren To Fast-Track Michael Coffie vs. Darmani Rock as Co-Feature of Plant-Truax Broner Wants 'Tough Test' February 13th, But Insists It’s About AB, Not His Opponent Claressa Shields vs. Marie-Eve Dicaire Tops All-Female PPV, March 5 Josh Warrington Furious With Xu Can's Refusal To Fight Behind Closed Doors Leo: I Have A Lot Of Doubters & I’m The Underdog Against Fulton; All Fuel To Flame Hearn: Garcia Is Not Ready For Davis, Deal For Haney vs. Garcia Will Be Easier To Make Warren: A Joyce-Usyk Fight Puts Winner In Tremendous Position The Greatest Encore: Ranking the Best Heavyweights Since Ali Tszyu-Hogan: Stapleton vs. Colosimo in Works For Proposed Card Luis Nery Aims To Have Unification in Next Fight, Says Promoter Deontay Wilder vs. Dillian Whyte Would Be Massive Fight, Says Hearn Tommy Frank vs. Kyle Yousaf British Title Clash May Land in April Stephen Fulton Overcomes The Nightmare of COVID; Realizes Dream Of Fighting For World Title Ryan Garcia's Father: Lopez is Not 'King' at 135, He Beat a 130-Pounder Vergil Ortiz: I Want All The Belts, No Easy Fights, I Want To Face The Best Reynoso: Berchelt Can End a Fight With One Punch - But So Can Valdez! Munguia's Promoter Hopes To Secure Golovkin Title Clash Usyk vs. Joyce Clash is Being Discussed, Says Frank Warren Carlos Gongora Inks Promotional Pact With Eddie Hearn Ryan Garcia's Father Backs Son's Two Round KO Prediction of Gervonta Davis Samuel Vargas Aims To Use Experience To Shock Conor Benn Dylan Price Takes Out Samuel Gutierrez in Four Rounds Bob Arum: Golden Boy Wouldn't Put Ryan Garcia In With Teofimo Lopez; Easy Work Angelo Leo: Always Wanted To Celebrate Title Win With A Crowd, More Motivation To Stay Champion Thurman To Arum: Stop Talking Sh-t! Not My Fault You Can’t Afford Fight For Crawford Michel Rivera: Ryan Garcia Has a Great Punch But a Glass Chin Hearn Says Boxing Events Must Continue or Sport Could Fizzle Out McGirt Was Unaware of Kovalev's Doping Test, Felt Camp Was Going Well Manager: Pacquiao or McGregor Would Beat Mayweather in Rematch Dominic Breazeale Vows To Blast Out Otto Wallin With Huge Knockout Fred Levin: An Appreciation (1937-2021) Sergio Martinez Working For April Return, Eyes Murata Shot By Year's End Thunderdome Boxing Series Returns on February 26 in Perth Arum on Lopez's Options: Haney Doesn't Mean Much, Not an Attraction Like Davis, Garcia
Latest Forum Threads