Leo Santa Cruz/Photo by Amanda Westcott, Showtime
Leo Santa Cruz didn’t get to where he is today by taking victories for granted. Therefore, even though Carl Frampton is moving up in weight to challenge Santa Cruz for his featherweight world title Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime), Santa Cruz will stick to his credo of regarding every opponent as an equal.
“People think Frampton is the underdog because he’s moving up in weight,” Santa Cruz said Wednesday at a workout in New York City. “But I (previously) moved up in weight, too. I never take an opponent lightly. I’m going to come really hungry. I respect every fighter and I train for my opponent to be at his best.”
Santa Cruz intimated Frampton – a former super bantamweight champion from Northern Ireland – is as real as a fighter gets.
“I have a lot of respect for Frampton,” said Santa Cruz, of the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles. “He has everything you need to be a great fighter. Excellent footwork, great power and good punches. Once he’s in the ring with me, I’m fighting for my future.”
Santa Cruz is 32-0-1 with 18 knockouts. He has won titles in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions.
Frampton is 22-0 with 14 knockouts.