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Leo Santa Cruz: I'm Fighting This Fight For My Family, For My Dad

Almost all boxers fight for their families.


Leo Santa Cruz is even more motivated than usual to do that Saturday night in San Antonio. The four-division champion wants to pull off an upset versus Gervonta Davis first and foremost for his dad.

Jose Santa Cruz, who has trained his son since he was a kid, has been confined to a wheelchair during Leo’s training sessions for the Davis fight. Already a cancer survivor, Jose Santa Cruz almost died from COVID-19 over the summer (

leo-santa-cruz (2)_2020_10_20_232506

The WBA “super” 130-pound champion’s father spent more than a month in a hospital in June and July. He has recovered from the coronavirus to the point where he can help Leo and Antonio Santa Cruz, Leo’s brother and co-trainer, strategize for a difficult fight Davis is listed as approximately a 6-1 favorite to win at Alamodome (Showtime Pay-Per-View; $74.99).

“I’m fighting this fight for my family, for my dad,” Leo Santa Cruz stated during the most recent episode of Showtime’s “ALL ACCESS: Davis vs. Santa Cruz.”

Showtime aired footage of Jose Santa Cruz in the gym and at home working with his son during recent weeks.

“My dad means the world to me,” Leo Santa Cruz said. “Everything I have is thanks to him because he pushed me every day.”

Before Santa Cruz’s remarkably resilient dad survived COVID-19, he endured Stage 3 multiple myeloma, a cancer that impacts plasma cells in bone marrow. Jose’s intense treatment while bravely battling that disease included chemotherapy and spinal surgery, which caused long-lingering side effects.

Jose previously was confined to a wheelchair while Leo trained for his first fight against Carl Frampton. Northern Ireland’s Frampton remains the only opponent to defeat Santa Cruz, who lost a 12-round majority decision to Frampton in July 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Santa Cruz regained the WBA “super” featherweight title from Frampton when he won their immediate rematch by majority decision in January 2017 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Jose’s cancer was in complete remission by the following spring, when Santa Cruz began training for his rematch against Abner Mares.

Other than aches and pains, Jose had remained relatively healthy until he contracted COVID-19. 

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

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Rick Taylor on 10-28-2020

[QUOTE=Beto El Lobo;20841992]This. If Leo makes it past half the fight, then he could stand a chance. Tank may be tired after 6[/QUOTE] if tank davis makes weight, santa cruz has a very good chance. [B]but i expect tank to…

Comment by Pantera_ on 10-28-2020

[QUOTE=jonnyc420;20840519]Correct but most go in with a belief of victory as well, not just to be a "big" name on someone else's record. He knows he can't hurt Porky, he knows he doesn't have the physical attributes to win this…

Comment by Beto El Lobo on 10-27-2020

[QUOTE=Boxfan83;20840135]This Tank isn't going to be the same1 that fought Gamboa but he's still Tank. Leo has to walk into that storm and weather it. Absorb his best early and jab that belly. Tank won't be the same after 7…

Comment by jonnyc420 on 10-26-2020

[QUOTE=just the facts;20840134]Not for nothing but doesn’t every fighter take every fight for the money?[/QUOTE] Correct but most go in with a belief of victory as well, not just to be a "big" name on someone else's record. He knows…

Comment by Boxfan83 on 10-26-2020

This Tank isn't going to be the same1 that fought Gamboa but he's still Tank. Leo has to walk into that storm and weather it. Absorb his best early and jab that belly. Tank won't be the same after 7…

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