Leo Santa Cruz moving up to 126 for May 2nd Mayweather-Pacquiao card

By Boxing News - 04/21/2015 - Comments

santacruz3By Dan Ambrose: Leo Santa Cruz (29-0-1, 17 KOs) will be fighting in the co-feature spot on the May 2nd Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Santa Cruz, 26, won’t be defending his WBC super bantamweight title, according to Dan Rafael.

Santa Cruz plans on vacating that title and moving up to featherweight where he hopes to face former three division world champion Abner Mares in the near future.

As far as Santa Cruz’s opponent for the May 2nd card, it keeps changing. There’s been two names in the past that have been mentioned, but now 2nd tier fighter Anthony Settoul (20-3, 8 KOs) is being talked about as his potential opponent. Settoul isn’t ranked in the top 15 by any of the sanctioning bodies at 122, which will mean that Santa Cruz will be taking his third consecutive soft opponent.

Santa Cruz recently defeated Manuel Roman and Jesus Ruiz in mismatches. While boxing fans have been pressuring Santa Cruz to take on a tough opponent like Guillermo Rigondeaux in order to see if he’s for real, Santa Cruz keeps getting matched against former sparring partners and fringe contenders.

With the way that Santa Cruz is being matched, it leaves many boxing fans wondering if there’s something that his management is attempting to hide with him. By matching him against weak opponents lately, it gives the perception that he might not be good enough to beat the better fighters at 122. But now he won’t have to worry about fighting at 122 and defending his WBC title any more given his decision to move up in weight to featherweight.

“We want to look for new things. We want to try 126 [pounds]. See how we feel there,” Santa Cruz said via Showtime. “If we feel strong we want to look for another title right there, another shot. If not, we want to move [back] down to 122 and stay there. But I think we’re going to feel good at 126.”

It’s hard to imagine Santa Cruz being able to compete against WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. That’s the guy that Santa Cruz would need to beat in order for him to become a champion at 126. He’s not going to be matched against Top Rank fighters Evgeny Gradovich, Nicholas Walters or Vasyl Lomachenko. Santa Cruz is with adviser Al Haymon, and he’s probably not going to get put in with Top Rank guys. Russell Jr. is a bad match-up for a guy like Santa Cruz though because he doesn’t have the hand speed to stand and trade with Russell Jr., and he could wind up getting battered and stopped like Jhonny Gonzalez recently was.

It’s not a good sign that Santa Cruz still doesn’t have an opponent for his May 2nd fight on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight card. With Santa Cruz fighting in the co-feature, boxing fans might not be too pleased to learn that for their $100 they pay for the pay-per-view broadcast, they’ll potentially be seeing a mismatch in the co-feature with Santa Cruz being matched against someone out of his league in terms of talent.

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