By: Sean Crose
“I want to prove to the fans that I’m back,” Leo Santa Cruz recently posted on social media, “and I’m ready to get back to the top of the sport. They come out for great fights and that’s what I’m going to give them on Saturday.” Sure enough, the 37-2-1 four division titlist will be returning to the ring this weekend to face the 23-2-1 Keenan Carbajal. This will be the first fight for Santa Cruz since he was knocked out in thunderous fashion by Gervonta Davis back in the autumn of 2020.
Although he’s only 33 years of age, it feels like Santa Cruz has been in the ring for ages. Perhaps that’s because the man found incredible success at a young age. It’s been nearly a decade, after all, since the Mexican fighter won his first world title back in June of 2012. Since that time, the man has had a stellar career. When your only losses in 40 fights come to the likes of Davis and decorated Irishman Carl Frampton, you know you’ve been doing something right (for the record, Santa Cruz came back and bested Frampton the second time around). Still, the loss to Davis was highlight reel worthy in its brutality. The question now is, will the popular vet still have what it takes to perform at the highest levels of the sport?
“This is my moment,” Carbajal said during a Thursday press conference. “This is the moment we’ve been waiting for.” The Phoenix native then claimed Saturday’s bout with Santa Cruz will be “a fight to be talked about for many years to come.” As for Santa Cruz, he was his usual polite self at Wednesday’s press gathering. “I always try to go out there and give the fans great fights,” he said, “because that’s what the fans deserve.” There’s little doubt that Santa Cruz has indeed given fans great fights. He’s exciting, Santa Cruz, exciting and courageous.
It’s strange to see Santa Cruz getting so little attention in the lead up to a fight. Although it’s Keith Thurman who will be headlining Saturday’s card in Las Vegas as he returns after a two-year plus period away from the ring, one would expect a fighter of Santa Cruz’ caliber getting more media attention. Boxing is fickle, however. Yet a strong performance from Santa Cruz on Saturday night can clearly put this still young man back in the spotlight.
Send this to a friend