Two weeks isn't much notice, but Leo Santa Cruz does have an opponent for his January 17 WBC title defense, as the Mexican fighter will take on countryman Jesus Ruiz in a 12-round super bantamweight bout on Showtime, the co-feature for the Bermane Stiverne vs Deontay Wilder main event.
Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KO) wasn't expected to land a serious contender for an opponent for this fight, and, well, he hasn't. Ruiz, 25, has a career record of 33-5-5 (22 KO), and is a fringe contender in the division at best. He is coming in off of a win on November 7 over Leonilo Miranda, notable because it might be Ruiz's best to date, and because at least a few people might remember Miranda from some past lower-level TV fights in 2011-12, when he lost four straight to Luis Franco, Gary Russell Jr, Antonio Escalante, and Ronny Rios.
Also featured on the January 17 card will be unbeaten junior welterweight Amir Imam (15-0, 13 KO), who will take on Fidel Maldonado Jr (19-2, 16 KO) in a 10-round fight. That's a solid matchup, with Imam coming in riding a bit of prospect momentum, and Maldonado having won six in a row after a pair of losses in 2012 threatened to derail his career.