WBA orders Leo Santa Cruz vs. Leigh Wood next for 126-lb title
By Charles Brun: WBA ‘Super World’ featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz and WBA ‘regular’ 126-lb champion Leigh Wood were ordered Wednesday by the World Boxing Association to begin negotiations for a fight to consolidate the two titles into one.
The WBA is giving Sana Cruz (38-2-1, 19) and Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) 30 days to negotiate the fight before a purse bid.
If the fight between the 33-year-old Santa Cruz and Wood takes place, the winner will hold the only title for the WBA at 126.
It’s unclear whether Santa Cruz will choose to take the with the British fighter Wood, considering he hasn’t defended his WBA ‘Super World’ title since his victory over Rafael Rivera three years ago in February 2019.
Goodness knows why the WBA didn’t strip Santa Cruz of his ‘Super World’ 126-lb title after all this time without defending it.
Ideally, the titles should be defended at least once a year, but San Cruz has somehow been allowed to hold onto his WBA title without being stripped.
Why did Santa Cruz hold onto his WBA title for three years if he had no interest in defending it? It doesn’t make sense.
Even if Santa Cruz takes the fight with Wood and beats him, the WBA still should have stripped him a long time ago to let the other fighters get a chance to compete for the ‘Super World’ belt.
With Wood being an unknown fighter in the eyes of casual boxing fans in the United States, it might not be worth it for the former four-division world champion Santa Cruz to take the fight.
Santa Cruz can just as quickly vacate his WBA ‘Super World’ 126-lb title, which will probably result in the sanctioning body recognizing Wood as the single WBA champion by default without him needing to fight anybody.
Wood is coming off of a come from behind 12th round knockout win over Michael Conlan last month on March 12th in Nottingham, England.
Conlan was beating the daylights out of the unfortunate Wood through the first ten rounds before gassing out in the eleventh and getting stopped in the twelfth.
Based on that dreadful performance by Wood, Santa Cruz beat him like a drum to become the sole WBA 126-lb champion. The question is whether it would be worth it for Santa Cruz to take the fight.
Santa Cruz would make Wood’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing happy if he were to vacate his WBA ‘Super World’ title so that his fighter could be the sole champion with the sanctioning body.
Wood wouldn’t be held in high regard in becoming the only champion with the WBA by default, but I’m sure he won’t create too much fuss.
Santa Cruz can fight a lot of better-known champions and contenders with more talent than Wood and wouldn’t have to worry about potentially fighting in the UK in front of Leigh’s fans in Nottingham.
Santa Cruz is coming off a lopsided 10 round unanimous decision over Keenan Carbajal (23-3-1, 15 KOs) on February 5th at the Michelob Center in Las Vegas.
This was the first fight for Santa Cruz since suffering a sixth-round knockout loss to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in October 2020.
Santa Cruz is worlds better than Wood, a basic brawler who wins his fights by out-slugging his opposition.
Wood has a nice little straight arm to keep his opponents from getting close to him.
He won’t get away with that illegal move if he fights Santa Cruz in the U.S, as the referees don’t allow that tactic to be used. Santa Cruz is a far better fighter than Conlan, and that guy came close to beating Wood.
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