Leo Santa Cruz probably has his next opponent semi-lined up if he's going to hold on to his IBF bantamweight title, as the sanctioning body has scheduled a purse bid for Tuesday, February 12. If a deal is reached before then, of course, the bid will be canceled.
Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 KO) went 5-0 last year, a breakout campaign for the 24-year-old Mexican workrate machine, who picked up more and more fans and admirers with each bout. Three of his fights aired on Showtime, and he beat Alberto Guevara in December on CBS.
McDonnell (20-2-1, 9 KO) is a 26-year-old British fighter who sort of came out of nowhere in 2010, first pulling what was then an upset over Ian Napa, which gave him Napa's scheduled crack at the European title. McDonnell beat Jerome Arnould for that belt in France, and defended it into 2012. He's also a former British and Commonwealth champion, and he's done what he's needed to do to gain consideration for a world title shot. In October, he beat Darwin Zamora in a final eliminator.
There could be some question as to whether or not Santa Cruz intends on staying at bantamweight any longer, however. He's said he's aiming to move up to super bantamweight soon, believing he's growing out of the 118-pound ranks.