If you've been waiting for Leo Santa Cruz to finally take on a legitimate opponent, your wait might soon be coming to an end. Leo has been hearing all the criticism of his last several fights loud and clear, doesn't like it, and wants to make it known that he wants the big fights but it's not really his fault.
"It bothers me," Santa Cruz told ESPN.com. "I want to make those fights. I want to fight guys like Frampton and Rigondeaux but it's not up to me. My whole team has to decide to do it. I'm working hard, training hard and I also want those fights the fans want."
By his 'whole team' I think he might be mostly talking about Al Haymon, and he probably shouldn't throw Haymon under the bus - he did, after all, name his son after the man. Then again, Haymon probably doesn't mind being the scapegoat since he's always hidden behind the shroud anyway.
So with fights with Guillermo Rigondeaux, Carl Frampton, and Scott Quigg off the table for the foreseeable future, Santa Cruz is looking towards a fight with Abner Mares. It's not yet officially confirmed yet, but that fight could reportedly happen as soon as August 29th.
"I asked for that fight," Santa Cruz said. "They told me that I'm going to fight in August or September and I would be ready. I want Mares. I talked to my team, I talked to my manager, and I said, 'I want that fight.' They are trying to make that fight happen. I talked to my dad, I talked to my manager and they said OK and they're working on it."
Santa Cruz goes on to say that he wishes he could've fought either Rigondeaux, Frampton, or Quigg before he left the junior featherweight division, but hopes that perhaps they'll one day come up to 126lbs to meet him.
"Right now I want a hard fight against Mares and, hopefully, I get the win and fight for a title," Santa Cruz said. "Maybe Rigondeaux and Frampton can move up and then fight me."
In my eyes, Frampton could be a distinct possibility for the future (particularly since he recently signed with Haymon) but I wouldn't hold my breath on a Rigo fight. I've been steadfast in my belief that Leo will be steered far away from Rigo as his style is all wrong for the Cuban, and Rigo could quite possibly ruin Leo's career. That obviously doesn't benefit Santa Cruz nor Al Haymon.