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Leo Santa Cruz to test the waters at 126lbs

Leo Santa Cruz will be fighting on the May-Pac undercard, but will not be defending his 122lb title as he takes a dip in the 126lb pool.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

With an opponent still yet to be named, Leo Santa Cruz will be making his debut at 126lbs as a co-feature of the Mayweather-Pacquiao card. In Leo's last two outings he's faced virtual pushovers for which he's taken heavy criticism from fans, but now he'll be moving up to see how he feels in a bigger division.

"We want to look for new things. We want to try 126 [pounds]. See how we feel there," Santa Cruz said during an interview on Showtime during its Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andrzej Fonfara telecast on Saturday night. "If we feel strong we want to look for another title right there, another shot. If not, we want to move [back] down to 122 and stay there. But I think we're gonna feel good at 126."

Santa Cruz leaves open the option to return to 122lbs if his team doesn't like how he acclimates to the weight class, but if he does in fact depart 122lbs, he will have done so without ever having faced the elite of that division, such as Rigondeaux, Frampton, and Quigg. This certainly won't reflect well on him as far as the fans are concerned, and rightfully so being that he's a major tiitleholder at 122lbs. In moving up to 126, Santa Cruz is eying a fight with Abner Mares (another Haymon fighter) in a bout that should be relatively easy to make.

"Now [Mares] wants to fight me," Santa Cruz said. "The fans want it and I want it too, so I think we're gonna give the fans what they want. We're gonna push the team to make that fight happen. Mares been talking a lot of things, bad things, so I want that fight to happen. I think it's very possible."

Will you all forgive Leo for skipping out on the upper-echelon of 122lbs to seek a fight with Abner Mares at 126lbs? Or is this all just another mirage like when he said he wanted a Rigo fight?

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