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Leo Santa Cruz vs Miguel Flores set for Feb. 16

It’s not the fight anyone wanted, but it’s a fight that’s going to happen.

FOX Sports and Premier Boxing Champions Press Conference Experience Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

While boxing fans were hoping to hear news of Leo Santa Cruz facing Gary Russell Jr in a featherweight unification, Santa Cruz will instead face Miguel Flores on Feb. 16 in a FOX-televised main event from Los Angeles.

Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KO) will defend his WBA “super world” title against Flores (23-2, 11 KO), a fringe contender at best who lost a pair of fights in 2017 to Dat Nguyen and Chris Avalos, before winning an April 28 bout this year against club fighter Raul Chirino.

The 26-year-old Flores, born in Mexico and based in Houston, will be getting the chance of a lifetime here, which is the nice way to spin the matchup.

Santa Cruz, 30, has won three straight since losing a close decision to Carl Frampton in July 2016, including a Jan. 2017 rematch win over Frampton. He’s beaten Chris Avalos and Abner Mares for a second time since then, his June 9 win over Mares his only fight in 2018.

In the co-feature, it’s all but a guaranteed war between Omar Figueroa Jr (27-0-1, 19 KO) and John Molina Jr (30-7, 24 KO). Molina hasn’t fought since a Dec. 2017 knockout of Ivan Redkach, while Figueroa hasn’t been seen since stopping Robert Guerrero in July 2017.

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