By Miguel Maravilla
Three division world champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) of Lincoln Heights by way of Huetamo, Michoacan, Mexico is back in action this weekend as he takes on Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) of Lancaster, California on Saturday at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California headlining Premier Boxing Champion on FOX. We caught up with the champ during his camp as he talked about his upcoming fight with Avalos.
“I’m ready to get back in there. I’m just ready to step in the ring and give a great performance for all the fans like I always try to do,” Leo Santa Cruz told Fightnews.com®. “I am excited to be back. Sorry I didn’t come back sooner but I’m just gonna go out there and do my best and give the fans what they want.”
Santa Cruz held a 3-month camp at his stable the S.C.M.T. Boxing Club in Montebello, California with his father Jose Santa Cruz as he is ready to get back in the ring.
“I was in camp for 3 months. We thought we were fighting in September but it was pushed to October. I’ve been training hard, sparring, and I’ve been doing everything 100 percent. Training camp was good and my conditioning feels great I am ready.”
Coming off a decision win against Carl Frampton in a rematch. Santa Cruz avenged his only defeat to the Irish superstar early this year in January.
“I was so happy with that win. After the first fight, I thought, I let everyone down. Thank god we got the rematch we went out there did what we had to do and got the win,” Santa Cruz said about the win.
Now he returns to the ring as his opponent Avalos is coming off a technical decision win over Miguel Flores. Avalos has been in the ring with the likes of Carl Frampton, Oscar Valdez, and former world champion Jonathan Romero as Santa Cruz awaits the challenge.
“Avalos is a strong fighter. I never underestimate a fighter, every fighter I step in the ring with is dangerous. I respect anyone that gets in the ring,” Santa Cruz said about his opponent. “He has 27 wins and 20 of them are knockouts. So he has pop. He has fought some really good fighters faced some champions and lost to great champions.”
This wont be the first time they meet in the ring as they squared off in the amateurs during the Junior Olympics, Santa Cruz recalls his amateur victory over Avalos vividly.
“I know him since back in the days we fought as amateurs. It was a tough fight, we both went at it but at the end of the day, I beat him,” Santa Cruz said. “I remember everyone in his corner was upset, they felt they won and they were arguing. His dad was mad and ended up throwing a chair. They have always wanted the rematch and they never got it until now.”
Not to look past Avalos but Santa Cruz already has a possible rematch lined up with Abner Mares.
“Right now my focus is Avalos. After this fight we will see what happens,” Santa Cruz said.
There was buzz during the summer of a potential rematch between Santa Cruz and his arch town rival Abner Mares to take place October 7. However those plans were pushed back as the two fighters will share the stage in separate bouts as Mares will take on Andre Gutierrez in the co-feature bout.
“Mares will be fighting on that card so hopefully we fight at the beginning of next year,” Santa Cruz said. “I think its a tough fight for both but Mares has the experience. He will win by decision.”
The champ gave us his thoughts on Mares hooking up with respected trainer Robert Garcia.
“With Robert Garcia in his corner he is smart and wont try to brawl. He will make a difference this time in the corner if we fight again but whatever Mares brings we will adjust to it,” Santa Cruz said.
The two met back in August of 2016 as Santa Cruz won a unanimous decision over Mares in the battle of L.A. to claim the town bragging rights as the top featherweight.
“He said right after that he wanted the rematch I said I would give it to him. The fans loved that fight. We both gave a great fight and it was a great turnout,” Santa Cruz said.
Santa Cruz vs. Avalos will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight as a victory over Avalos will set the stage for a rematch with Mares, if Mares is victorious.
“Hopefully we get this win, so we can give Abner Mares the rematch,” Santa Cruz concluded.
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