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Leo Santa Cruz open to fight with Jesus Cuellar following Mares win

There are a lot of opponents out there for Leo Santa Cruz now that he's beaten Abner Mares, but Jesus Cuellar is starting to look like the next man for the job.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, August 29th Leo Santa Cruz stepped up to fight 5th-ranked Abner Mares, easily the most experienced and decorated opponent of his career. And after years of doubt regarding Santa Cruz's ability to fight top-flight competition, he passed the test, weathering an early storm from the uncharacteristically aggressive Mares and outboxing him down the stretch.

Following his win, Santa Cruz told Boxing Scene that a fight with Jesus Cuellar might be in the cards. "I'll do whatever and go with whatever my team wants. If a fight with Cuellar is out there, then a fight with Cuellar is out there. If there is a rematch with Mares, I'll go with that."

For those who've heard the soft-spoken Santa Cruz speak in public, this non-statement shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but it is worth noting that Cuellar, who holds one of the WBA's three belts at featherweight, should be Santa Cruz's mandatory challenger now that Santa Cruz holds the Super Featherweight Championship, whatever that is.

There are certainly other fights that fans would like to see from Santa Cruz more; Nicholas Walters and Vasyl Lomachenko are both floating around near the top of the featherweight division. Back at junior featherweight, Guillermo Rigondeaux is still waiting for a worthy opponent, and Carl Frampton is doing everything to vie for his throne (without actually fighting Rigondeaux, of course).

Still, it's hard to complain about Cuellar, whom the TBRB considers the 8th best featherweight in the world, as a prospective opponent considering the kind of opposition Santa Cruz has feasted on over the past few years.

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