- Photos from Nabeel Ahmad/ Premier Boxing Champions
Leo Santa Cruz Looks to Add 4th Title in 4th Division
Three-division champion and current WBA featherweight champion Leo "El Terremoto" Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) returns as he takes on Miguel "El Michoacan" Flores, (24-2, 12 KOs) for the WBA Super featherweight title in the co-feature to the heavyweight rematch between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder and Luis "King Kong" Ortiz live on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Saturday, November 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Santa Cruz will be going for his fourth world title in his fourth weight class.
"I'm very happy and excited to have this opportunity to become a four-division world champion. My goal when I began boxing was just to become a world champion. To go for a fourth time is an even bigger dream," Leo Santa Cruz said. "I'm really motivated like this is my first world title. This is something big for me. It will help me be remembered as one of the best Mexican fighters and that's my goal," Santa Cruz added.
Originally scheduled to meet earlier this year, an injury to Flores forced him off as Santa Cruz took on solid replacement Rafael Rivera. Santa Cruz won a convincing tough decision over Rafael Rivera in his last fight as it looks like all along a fight between him and Flores was meant to be.
"I don't underestimate him. Flores is a tough fighter that comes forward throwing lots of punches," Santa Cruz said. "It's not going to be an easy fight. He throws lots of punches and wants it. That's what makes him dangerous,"
Flores, a relatively unknown opponent has drawn very much criticism as to why he is facing Santa Cruz. Flores suffered his only two defeats to once promising Dat Nguyen and former Santa Cruz KO victim, Chris Avalos. Since his last defeat Flores has won two straight and is coming off a TKO over veteran Luis May.
"People are always going to talk. This is my job whoever they throw in front of me I fight," Santa Cruz said. "He lost his brother. So that going to give him a lot of motivation to go out there leave it all in the ring,"
After winning titles at 118, 122, and 126. Santa Cruz won the WBA featherweight title over Abner Mares back in 2015 winning. He suffered his first defeat to Carl Frampton and regained his WBA title in avenging his only loss winning a decision over Frampton in the rematch. Successfully defending his title three times as he looked to unify at featherweight against WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr.
"I'm ready for 130. I wanted to unify at 126 with Gary Russell Jr. but that couldn't happen," Santa Cruz on the decision.
Russell continues his schedule of fighting once a year and recently called out Santa Cruz in taunting Leo's father Don Jose Santa Cruz last week in a video the went viral. When asked about the video Santa Cruz replied.
"My dad thought it was Rico Ramos (former world champion and stablemate) liking his chains. My dad didn't think much of it and he don't understand English,"
Santa Cruz has been active in the gym as his camp is underway working with his brother Antonio Santa Cruz along with his father Don Jose in preparation for Flores.
"I'm getting ready for this fight with Flores and preparing for what he brings. I'm not overlooking him," Santa Cruz on his preparation.
If Santa Cruz is successful against Flores he would be added to the list of champions at the super featherweight division. Titlist at that division include WBC champion Miguel Berchelt, IBF champion Tevin Farmer, WBO champion Jameel Herring. Since Gervonta Davis vacated the WBA title to move up to lightweight, other titlist include WBA Gold Joseph Diaz Jr. and WBA champion Andrew Cancio. Another name at 130 includes former world champion the undefeated Oscar Valdez.
"I wanted to try 130 to try and get a fight with Tank." Leo Santa Cruz said. "I'd be up for Oscar Valdez,"
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla