Out of action since a February victory over late replacement Rafael Rivera, WBA “super” featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz has revealed his intention to return in November at super featherweight, where he will be looking for a title in his fourth weight class.
The 31-year-old Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KO), once renowned for his busyness after a hectic five-fight 2012, has not fought more than twice in a calendar year since 2015. He’s competed just two times since September of 2017, beating Abner Mares in an unnecessary rematch in June of last year before cruising past the aforementioned Rivera.
Gary Russell Jr. fights once a year and the WBC is happy to let him avoid mandatory challengers and unification. Eddie Hearn claims that he made a significant offer to Santa Cruz to unify with Josh Warrington in the U.K., only to receive a “crappy” counteroffer that led to Warrington fighting Sofiane Takoucht instead. The WBO belt is currently vacant, with Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez planning to fight for it later this year.
At this point, Santa Cruz can go ahead and be a disappointment at 130. It’s hard to care anymore.