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Leo Santa Cruz vacating IBF title, moving to super bantamweight

LatestBy Dan Ambrose: Having problems making weight and not happy with the lack of big name opponents, IBF bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 KO’s) is reportedly vacating his International Boxing Federation 118 pound title and moving up to super bantamweight to go after the bigger names at that weight.

It’s a wise move for the 24-year-old Santa Cruz because he was about to be stuck with another drab title defense, this one against Jaime McDonnell that would have interested no one in the United States.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN “He [Santa Cruz] felt there were no more challenges in that weight class and he felt it was time to move up for new challenges.”

Santa Cruz’s first fight at 122 could take place on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. pay per view card on May 4th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, but nothing is confirmed as of yet.

Santa Cruz may find it impossible to get fights against Top Rank super bantamweights Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nonito Donaire unless there’s a thaw in the relationship between the two promotional powerhouses. If not them, then Santa Cruz will have to settle for possible fights against Abner Mares and Gary Russell Jr.

At bantamweight, Santa Cruz was a big puncher, but not particularly fast and not one of those one-punch knockout fighters like Rigondeaux and Donaire. Santa Cruz would likely have problems with their superior hand speed if those fights ever did take place in the future.

Santa Cruz is definitely good enough to be in the top five immediately at 122, and he’s probably good enough to beat the likes of Christian Mijares, Victor Terrazaz, Vic Darchinyan, and Miguel Vazquez Jr. Santa Cruz may have to move up to featherweight to get more fights if he finds doors closed for him at 122. He’ll need to be flexible in order to make the most of his career.

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