By: Sean Crose
“After the Tank fight, I got a lot of love from the fans,” Leo Santa Cruz says in a video interview with Fight Hype. “That motivates me.” The “Tank fight” was a late 2020 affair that saw then super featherweight titlist Santa Cruz get knocked out in thunderous fashion, thanks to a potent uppercut from lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis. Santa Cruz hasn’t fought since that night (Who could blame him?), but now the 33 year old is ready to slip the gloves back on. For on February 5th, Santa Cruz will be returning to the ring in order face Keenan Carbajal in a scheduled 12 round featherweight affair.
“I’m excited,” he says in the interview. “I want to go out there and just entertain the fans.” As for those who might feel the 23-2-1 Carbajal isn’t the same caliber of fighter as the 37-2-1 Santa Cruz, the popular former titlist wants the world to know he isn’t taking his comeback opponent lightly. “I know it’s going to be a war because he’s tall, he’s taller than me,” Santa Cruz says of Carbajal. “He has a long reach. I know he’s going to come to fight…we’re both Mexicans, so we’re going to go out there and do battle.”
Santa Cruz appears certain that his match with Carbajal will be an exciting one. “We’re both going to be in there trading punches,” he says, “going back and fourth.” The popular veteran then says something that might raise some eyebrows. “I could hit and try not to get hit,” he says, “but I’d rather get hit to entertain the fans.” In Santa Cruz’ mind, then, a fighter is also an entertainer…and excitement is something a fighter owes the audience.
“I think they’re more excited when you’re both getting hit,” he continues. “I just want to make it fun for them.” Hopefully he does just that this February – without he or Carbajal taking any serious damage in the process.
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