Leo Santa Cruz doesn’t want Carl Frampton to slow down his momentum

Leo Santa Cruz

Leo Santa Cruz/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights has accomplished a lot in boxing, having won world titles in three weight classes. But make no mistake, he will have his work cut out for him July 30 when he defends his featherweight belt against Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

Santa Cruz seems to know that.

“He has great skills, great punches and he moves very well,” Santa Cruz said Tuesday at a workout at City of Angels Boxing Gym in Los Angeles. “It’s going to be a tough fight for me, but I’m going to work hard to defend my belt.
Santa Cruz has won championships in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Still just 27, he wants to further cement his legacy and a loss to Frampton would at least temporarily derail that effort.
“I see Frampton as someone trying to come and take away everything I worked hard for,” Santa Cruz said. “I can’t let that happen. I’m going to do what I have to do to get the win.”
Santa Cruz is 32-0-1 with 18 knockouts. Frampton, 29, is 22-0 with 14 knockouts. The former super bantamweight champion is moving up in weight to challenge Santa Cruz.
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Mikey Garcia missed competition against elite fighters during down time

Mikey Garcia is seen here with his brother/trainer Robert Garcia after defeating Juan Carlos Burgos in January 2014, the last time Mikey Garcia fought before a contract dispute with his promoter kept him out 2 1/2 years/Photo courtesy of HBO

 

Mikey Garcia of Oxnard has sat out the past 2 1/2 years because of a contract dispute with his now-former promoter Bob Arum. Garcia, now a free agent, will make his return July 30 when he takes on Elio Rojas underneath the featherweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

Garcia, 28, went 34-0 with 28 knockouts and won world titles in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions before his hiatus. He was asked Tuesday what he missed most.

“The actual fight itself,” said Garcia, who, along with Santa Cruz hosted a media workout at City of Angels Boxing Club in Los Angeles. “Just being able to show my skills, what I can do in the ring and just the competition versus other elite fighters. That’s the No. 1 thing. You always want to prove yourself and prove to everybody, you know, match yourself against the top champions, and I was unable to do that.”

 

 

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Carl Frampton wants to create strong legacy; a win over Leo Santa Cruz would go a long way in that regard

Carl Frampton

Carl Frampton/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland has already done very well during his seven-year pro career. He is 22-0 with 14 knockouts, won the super bantamweight world title in September 2014 and made three successful defenses. One of those defenses was a split-decision over Scott Quigg in a title-unification bout in February in England.

However, nothing Frampton has done would compare to what a victory over Leo Santa Cruz would do for him. It would make him a great fighter, one to remember, and that’s what Frampton craves. The two will square off July 30 for Santa Cruz’s featherweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

“This fight is huge for me because I really want to create a legacy,” Frampton said Thursday at a workout at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “I know how people talk, and I think people will be talking about this for a very long time. I want people to remember me as a great fighter, that’s all.”

Santa Cruz, of Lincoln Heights, is 27. He is 32-0-1 with 18 knockouts, 11-0 with seven knockouts in world-title fights. Santa Cruz has won titles in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions. He’ll be a touch nut to crack for Frampton.

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Joseph Diaz Jr. of South El Monte looks to fight best of the featherweights

Joseph Diaz Jr./Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Joseph Diaz Jr. of South El Monte has compiled a professional record of 20-0 and 11 knockouts since representing the U.S. in the 2012 London Games. He is ranked as high as No. 3 at featherweight by one governing body.

Diaz, just 23, is getting closer to a world-title shot in one of boxing’s talent-rich divisions, which has champions like Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr. and Jesus Cuellar and contenders like Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez. Diaz may not take a back seat to any of them, but that remains to be seen.

Diaz wants to make believers out of boxing fans, though, and he takes that responsibility seriously. Diaz was part of a news conference Wednesday at the Golden Boy Promotions offices in downtown Los Angeles. He’ll next fight July 30 at Fantasy Springs Casino on Indio (on HBO Latino) and although his opponent is still to be determined, he vowed to continue to show fans what he’s about.

“I’m excited to give everyone a great performance,” said Diaz, who trains out of the Teamster’s Youth Boxing Club in South El Monte. “I’ve been training very hard, and I want to showcase that I am at the same level as all the champions in the featherweight division. Hopefully, I can go for a world title soon.”

Diaz fights for Golden Boy. Its senior vice-president, Eric Gomez, touched on the 126-pound division moving forward.

“We are in an Olympic year, and our co-headliner will be ex-Olympian, Joseph Diaz, Jr. who also has a great record as a featherweight fighter,” Gomez said. “I believe the featherweight division will be the hottest division in the next few years because of all the talent we have following in the footsteps of Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.”

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Mikey Garcia to return July 30 in Brooklyn after layoff of nearly 2 1/2 years

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE After a lengthy legal battle with Top Rank, Oxnard's Mikey Garcia is free to sign with another promotional company and hopes to get back into the ring in the near future.

Mike Garcia of Oxnard will come out of a 2 1/2-year layoff on July 30/Associated Press file photo

 

Mikey Garcia has not fought in nearly 2 1/2 years, no thanks to contractual issues with his former promoter – Top Rank Inc. Don’t look now, but Garcia is back and the ultra-talented former world champion will make his long-awaited return to the ring when he takes on Elio Rojas on July 30 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime).

Garcia was one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world before his long layoff, having won world titles in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions while going 34-0 with 28 knockouts. Suffice to say, he can’t wait to get back in there.

“I just have to get one fight in,” said Garcia, 28, of Oxnard. “This first fight with Elio will be somewhere between 135 (lightweight) and 140 pounds (junior welterweight), but I want to fight at 135 and win a title there. I want to win a title there and keep going after champion after champion. Now that all that (uncertainty) is behind me, I look forward to the next stage of my career. This next stage of my career will be what people remember me for.”

Garcia last fought on Jan. 25, 2014 when he defended his super featherweight title with a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Garcia and Rojas (24-2, 14 KOs) – a former featherweight champion from the Dominican Republic – will fight underneath the featherweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland.

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As usual, Abner Mares about to take on another top opponent – Jesus Cuellar

Abner Mares

Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Abner Mares has always been that fighter you want to see do well. He is never looking to fight a patsy. He wants to tangle with only the meanest hombres. It’s his credo.

“Definitely, definitely,” said Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens. “It will grab people’s attention and that’s the key point I want to make. I’m the type of fighter that wants to leave his career known as the fighter that never took an easy route and faced the tough fighters at their moment, at their times. And God willing, always came out on top.

“It’s not always going to be the same as my last fight. It was a great fight, a fight against Leo that I didn’t win, but I got the respect from people.”

Mares has a tough list of opponents adorning his ring record. In his most recent start, he lost a grueling 12-round decision to fellow Angeleno Leo Santa Cruz in a battle for a vacant featherweight title in August at Staples Center.

Mares, who has won titles in three weight classes, dusted himself off and has for the past several weeks been preparing himself for yet another top-line fighter by the name of Jesus Cuellar of Argentina. Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) on June 25 will challenge Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) for his featherweight world title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS, 6 p.m. Pacific time).

This is a crossroads fight for Mares. At 30, he is getting to that age when a fighter in the lighter weights begins to show the wear and tear of many ring wars. Even though he distinguished himself respectfully enough against Santa Cruz, Mares changed trainers, going from Clemente Medina to Robert Garcia.

Mares wants to know what he has left, and apparently he believes the best way to find out is to take on champions.

“Well, definitely what I want to prove to myself is that I still belong in this level type of fight against top fighters such as Cuellar, Leo or any other top-flight featherweight,” Mares said.

“And I think the reason that, my two defeats, when you just go through them real quick, first-round knockout against Jhonny Gonzalez (in August 2013). It was just, he caught me cold.

“My fight against Leo Santa Cruz, it was a tough fight. We went 12 rounds, it was a candidate for Fight of the Year, where I gave it my all but at the end of the day, I think I fought the wrong game plan. I think I defeated myself by not following instructions and not fighting a perfect plan.”

Mares, an Artesia High graduate, is certain he still has the goods.

“I’ve got a lot more to give, I’m going to show (it),” he said. “Now with my new trainer and the new mindset that I have, I think I’m going to prove just that.”

But again, Mares is trying to prove he’s still elite against a hard-hitting southpaw world champion whose only loss came nearly five years ago. Cuellar spoke like this could quickly turn into a toe-to-toe slugfest, so he must have something up his sleeve.

“We’re going to come out,” Cuellar said. “We’ve been training for this fight and we’re doing it on our strategies. We’ve been working on them. For this fight, if the opportunity presents itself, we’re going to take the fight to him.”

 

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Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz ready to rumble Aug. 29 at Staples Center

Leo Santa Cruz, left, and Abner Mares engage in the traditional staredown following their news conference Tuesday at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood/Photo by Craig Bennett, TGB Promotions

 

LYNWOOD – Fights between L.A.-area boxers have always commanded a lot of attention, especially when they are contested in Los Angeles. Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens and Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights will be hard-pressed to live up to Danny “Little Red” Lopez-Bobby “Schoolboy” Chacon in 1974 at the Sports Arena and Albert “Tweety” Davila-Frankie Duarte in 1977 at the Olympic Auditorium.

But they figure to give it a heck of a try.

Mares and Santa Cruz on Tuesday at Plaza Mexico played host to a news conference to formally announce their Aug. 29 featherweight fight at Staples Center (on
ESPN).

Mares has won titles in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Santa Cruz has won championships in the bantamweight and super
bantamweight divisions.

There will be no major belt on the line in this one. With their credentials, it doesn’t matter.

“This is the biggest fight of my career – I think the biggest and the hardest,” said the 26-year-old Santa Cruz, who attended Lincoln High. “And to fight here at Staples Center in my hometown is a big privilege and an honor for me.

“So I have to leave everything on the line. I have to be 100 percent prepared. He has a lot of fans here, too, in Southern California. I think (it will be) like 50-50, so this fight is going to show who is the king of L.A.”

The aforementioned fights from yesteryear were mentioned to Mares. He then made a bold statement about this fight.

“It’s up there, man, it’s up there,” said Mares, 29; he attended Artesia High. “I’m not just saying it. I think we’re going to prove it come Aug. 29. Leo Santa Cruz is not known for being a guy that holds, he’s not known for his boxing skills, he’s just known for a fighter that comes forward and throws a volume of punches, and vice versa.

“I’m known as a warrior, I’m known as a guy that’s been in many fights, many wars. So I think when you two put fighters like that with those styles, it just turns out to be one of the best fights in decades. I think it’s going to turn out to be one of those (Arturo) Gatti-(Micky) Ward-type fights.”

The two sparred together some years ago, but neither would say he got the better of the other. There were some comments that seemed to stir a pot that could be
boiling by Aug. 29.

Mares is 29-1-1 with 15 knockouts. After making the only defense of his super bantamweight belt with a victory over Anselmo Moreno, Mares moved up in weight and took the featherweight title from Daniel Ponce De Leon on May 2013 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

But Mares was knocked out in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez at StubHub Center that August. Mares has since won three consecutive fights, though he has not been overly impressive. Santa Cruz believes Mares is not the same fighter he was before the Gonzalez fight.

“I have seen his last three fights and, no, he hasn’t been the same guy as before,” Santa Cruz said. “But he knows this is a really important fight and he
knows that he has a lot to lose in this fight, so I know he’s going to come prepared.”

Of the left hook Gonzalez landed that hurt Mares so badly, Santa Cruz went so far as to say, “It looks like he still has that punch right there in his head.”

Mares scoffed.

“My response to that is that, keep thinking that,” Mares said. “I’m not going to tell him otherwise. Keep thinking that. He’s going to have his thoughts in his mind, you know, that are brought to him by his team.

“He should be concentrating more about what I’m bringing to the ring, than what I’m thinking about my defeat, you know what I’m  saying?”

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Leo Santa Cruz wins decision over Jose Cayetano in Saturday’s semi-main

The semi-main event Saturday underneath Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao featured super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights taking on Jose Cayetano of Tijuana in a non-title fight in the featherweight division.

Even though Santa Cruz was moving up in weight, he figured to have an easy time of it as Cayetano (17-4) is not in his class. Santa Cruz (30-0-1) did in the sense that he won big on the scorecards – he won by three scores of 100-90. But fans seemed a bit restless that he could not stop Cayetano inside the distance.

There were a few boos.

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Lincoln Heights’ Leo Santa Cruz defends title with 8th-round TKO of Jesus Ruiz

Leo Santa Cruz/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights defended his super bantamweight world title Saturday with a eighth-round TKO of Jesus Ruiz of Mexico underneath the heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder.

There were no knockdowns, but Santa Cruz was pummeling Ruiz (32-6-5) on the ropes before referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to halt the bout.

Santa Cruz is now 29-0-1 with 17 knockouts.

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Leo Santa Cruz to defend title against Cesar Seda in November in San Antonio

Leo Santa Cruz of the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles on Nov. 30 will defend his super bantamweight title against Cesar Seda of Puerto Rico at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio (on Showtime).

It will be the semi-main event to the welterweight title fight between champion Devon Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs) of St. Louis and Shawn Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs) of Akron, Ohio.

Santa Cruz, 25, at 25-0-1 with 15 knockouts has yet to taste defeat. He doesn’t plan on tasting it in this fight, either.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and making my debut in Texas against Cesar Seda,” said Santa Cruz, who has never fought in the state of Texas. “Seda is a quality fighter and a top contender, but I’m not ready to give up my belt to him or anyone.”

Seda, 27, is 25-1 with 17 knockouts. He respects Santa Cruz, but apparently does not fear him.

“I admire Santa Cruz for his talent and his accomplishments,” Seda said. “But styles make fights and I have the style to beat him and bring the world championship back to Puerto Rico.”

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