Leo Santa Cruz’s five-fight winning streak was snapped on Halloween last year when he suffered a scary knockout to Gervonta Davis in a junior lightweight bout.
The four-division Mexican champion has won titles at 118, 122, 126, and 130.
If you ask 15-year veteran Santa Cruz -- who still holds a WBA title at 126 -- his next fight will unfold at super featherweight.
“I'll probably go down to 126. I still have the title at 126, and will defend it in a fight this year,” Santa Cruz told reporters following Chris Colbert’s win over Tugstsogt Nyambayar in Carson, California. “Of course, if [Gary Russell Jr.] wants it. I want the fight too. Let's make it happen. He wants to fight. I want to fight. Let's tell our teams to talk and make the fight.”
A matchup between Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) and WBC super featherweight champion Russell (31-0, 18 KOs) is a fight that should be feasible and easily doable since both fighters are signed under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.
Santa Cruz, 32, and Russell, 32, have both expressed the desire to fight one another for quite some time, and the sand in the hourglass is diminishing by the day for a potential fight.
“We’ve been in the same weight division for the last four years, and I’ve had the title for the last four years,” Russell said last year. “What’s the reason for him not fighting me then? I have the most prestigious title there is in the sport of boxing, which is the WBC.
“So, I guess I’ve gotta push these guys’ backs against the wall and make them fight. And I’m actually getting to the point where I’m tired of picking on people that’s not willing to fight. I’m tired of picking on Leo Santa Cruz. If he don’t wanna fight, that’s not a problem. I’ll move up in weight, like I said. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
Russell has not fought since February 2020, a unanimous decision win over Nyambayar.
He’s fought just once a year since 2015.
If he’ll be fighting just once in 2021, Santa Cruz would be the most desirable opponent.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com