This past Saturday, February 16, 2019 we saw WBA super featherweight champion Leo “El Terrremoto” Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) easily outbox last minute replacement Rafael Rivera (26-3-2, 17 KOs) to retain his title, by a wide unanimous decision (119-109 on all scorecards) at L.A Live’s Microsoft Theatre.
After the fight, everyone wanted to know “what’s next for Leo Santa Cruz?”. During the post fight interview Santa Cruz stated that he wants to unify against any champion for his next fight (also wants to fight 3 times in 2019). He specifically called out Gary Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), Josh “The Leeds Warrior” Warrington (28-0, 6 KOs), Oscar Valdez (25-0, 20 KOs), and even mentioned fighting a 3rd time against Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (26-2, 15 KOs).
Recently, fans have been asking for a match-up between Gary Russell and Leo Santa Cruz, but with Gary Russell being relatively inactive and Leo fighting other champions and challengers, the fight has yet to take place. Both Russell and Santa Cruz have been vocal saying they want the fight in 2019. The two have fought once previously a amateurs, which saw Gary Russell declared the winner.
With Both Russell and Santa Cruz being on PBC, under Al Haymon, the fight is the most realistic for unification in the stacked super featherweight division. I truly believe we’ll get that fight next, and with most considering them two the #1 and #2 fighters in the division it could truly give us an answer to who’s the top dog currently at that weight class.
Another potential option, although far less likely to happen in the near future, is Leo Santa Cruz vs Gervonta “Tank” Davis (21-0, 20 KOs). Again, both fighters are signed to PBC and Santa Cruz is saying he would like that fight. With Santa Cruz labeled by many as the #1 at 126 and many thinking Gervonta is the best at 130 that could also be labeled as a super fight.
One thing for certain, and two things for sure, regardless of who Santa Cruz decides to fight next, he’ll have to be on his A-game as the competition will only get stiffer.