Leo Santa Cruz: It’s the toughest fight of my career
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Four-division world champion, current WBA super featherweight champion Leo "El Terremoto" Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) will step up this weekend as he takes on the hard hitting WBA lightweight champion Gervonta "Tank" Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) this Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Santa Cruz and Davis will have their titles on the line as they will fight for the WBA Super Featherweight and WBA Lightweight championships in the rare clash in boxing history in which world titles in two weight classes will be at stake.
"This is a hard fight. It's the toughest fight of my career. We're facing a tough fighter with great skills. I know he's going to come with everything he has and be at his best," Leo Santa Cruz told SouthernCalifornia Boxing.com “I feel great with the weight. I feel strong and I’m ready for Saturday,” Santa Cruz added.
This fight was originally scheduled to take place October 24, but the date was changed to Halloween night in San Antonio as Texas has lessened the COVID-19 measures allowing sporting events to take place with fans in attendance. Which will certainly be a pro Santa Cruz crowd in the Lone Star state.
“It gives me more time to train. The week difference really doesn’t matter. Maybe it will give Gervonta more time to get ready,”
When asked about fighting on Halloween night and sacrificing this year’s trick or treat with the kids.
“The memories I have of Halloween is trick or treating with my brothers and just having fun. Now that I am grown up, I am the one taking my kids trick or treating. This Halloween, I won be able to take them. There is always next year. I have to do my job,”
Leo has been hitting hard training with his brother Antonio Santa Cruz in Industry, California in preparation for Tank. Unlike his opponent, Davis has been working with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas leading up to this fight. Santa Cruz however is not bothered by that as he is confident in his preparation.
"I feel really great. This camp has been perfect. I feel strong and I'm very motivated. My dad and my brothers have been helping me out. It's really the best camp I've had and I'm in the best shape of my career," Santa Cruz on his preparation. "We've been sparring with bigger guys who fight at 147 pounds. I think that's going to make me able to take his punches. I'm eating a little better and feeling strong. I'm doing everything I can to be able to take his punches," Santa Cruz added.
With the fight being pushed back a week. There is the possibility of Tank coming in overweight or perhaps drained has he has struggled to make the 130 lb. limit in his previous fights. Santa Cruz is still expecting a very well prepared and in shape Gervonta Davis.
"The only concern my team had at the beginning was whether he'd make weight, but that isn't a concern anymore. We're working hard in the gym on how to avoid the big shots. We know we have to fight a perfect fight and that's what we're going to do," Santa Cruz said.
Coming into this fight there is extra motivation once again for Santa Cruz. His father and previous trainer Don Jose Santa Cruz got diagnosed with cancer a few years back and prevailed in his battle. The COVID-19 pandemic hit early this year as the Santa Cruz family was impacted. Don Jose tested positive for the Corona Virus and the worst was yet to come.
“We thought we were going lose him,” Leo Santa Cruz said. “When he was in the hospital, his lungs were failing, his heart stopped,” Santa Cruz said.
Don Jose was hospitalized early in the summer having a near death experience as his lungs were failing and his heart suddenly stopped. The champ and his family were preparing for the worst but once again Don Jose prevailed. Leo explains how his father was momentarily dead but came back to life.
“My dad, right now, is doing great, thank God,” Leo Santa Cruz said. “We have that Mexican heart and warrior heart. He has gone through a lot and a win here will be very motivating for my dad. Everything we have been going through is going to be behind us,”
Once again Leo Santa Cruz found himself taking on an even greater challenge outside the ring. Many doubted and criticized Leo for taking this fight, but no challenge is greater than the challenges his family has had to endure. This fight for Leo with Gervonta is another day at the job.
“A fighter like Davis will bring out the best in me,” Santa Cruz stated.
Win or lose, Santa Cruz comes out of this victorious.
“I think the difference in this fight will be my experience and reach. I will try to frustrate him and fight him from the outside. I won try to brawl with him. I know he has power 22 knockouts in 23 fights. We have to watch out for his power,” Santa Cruz said.
This will be Leo’s first fight since defeating Miguel Flores via unanimous decision last November and winning the WBA super featherweight title. Santa Cruz became a four-division world champion in capturing the title. Now he looks to pick up his fifth world title in his fifth weight class against Tank.
"I always want the best challenges for my career," Santa Cruz said.
(Photo by Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions)
Davis is coming off a stoppage over former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa last December in winning the WBA lightweight title. In a fight in that was not Davis’s best performance in getting the stoppage as he has stormed past opponents in scoring brutal knockouts in 22 of 23 victories.
"Davis is a strong fighter, especially in the first five rounds. He's always dangerous, but if I see him gassing out, I'm going to pressure him and break him down. I think that I can frustrate him,"
Despite Davis’s last performance, Leo expects a very tough fight from “Tank” Davis.
“No matter what. I’m expecting the best Gervonta for this fight. He has been training with Floyd. This is his first big pay per view. So, he has to come serious this fight and I know he is going to come with everything,” Santa Cruz explained.
The four-division world champion, Santa Cruz is confident he will prevail in what will be a great challenge. A win here for Santa Cruz will make him a five-division world champion and could possibly stamp his ticket into the hall of fame.
"I'm determined to go beat 'Tank' so I can say that I beat one of the best fighters in the world," Santa Cruz said. “I will be making history here. With a win, becoming a five-division world champion will be great,”
A win here for Leo will take him to new heights and give him plenty of options to compete at lightweight or super featherweight. The more logical would be to stay at the super featherweight division at 130 lbs. or perhaps move back down to the 126 lb. featherweight division.
"I want to give the fans a great fight. This is a big opportunity for me to become a superstar," Santa Cruz said. "I think my future will be at 130 pounds. I want to defend the title and unify but if there's a fight that makes sense at 135 pounds, I'll definitely take it,"
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