Leo Santa Cruz's hardworking, crowd-pleasing style has him set to become one of boxing's brightest young stars. He'll face one of the toughest tests of his young career on Saturday night in Carson, Calif.
Santa Cruz takes on WBC super bantamweight champion Victor Terrazas on the undercard of the Abner Mares vs. Jhonny Gonzalez fight. If Santa Cruz and Mares win, they could be on a collision course to face each other in a big-time bout in the future.
But first things first for Santa Cruz: He must handle a tough and grizzled veteran champion before he can look ahead. Here's how you can watch:
The Book on Santa Cruz
Aiming to Please
It's been a while since we saw a fighter so intent on pleasing the crowd in every fight. After Santa Cruz's bouts, he's always talking about giving the fans a show. If he feels he has fallen short, he apologizes for not being more exciting.
This is a gift and a curse in some ways. It makes him one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today, but it also leaves him vulnerable. Will Santa Cruz know when it is best to pull back from an exchange or is he a slave to the concept of engaging in all-out wars in an effort to please?
We may soon find out as his next opponent can punch.
In the Ring
Santa Cruz doesn't employ a ton of head movement. He does protect himself, but he's rarely a moving target. As a pure offensive fighter, Santa Cruz throws punches with great leverage and has a snap on his strikes that only the really good punchers possess.
He stands very upright, and it allows him to fight taller than his 5'7" frame. In his last fight, he mowed down Alexander Munoz in five rounds. Munoz was surprised by Santa Cruz's power, but it didn't alter his aggressive style.
Munoz couldn't match firepower with Santa Cruz, but will Terrazas have better luck?
The Book on Terrazas
Looking to Halt the Hype Train
Terrazas has only two losses in his career, and the last one came over three years ago to Rendall Munroe. He is no pushover, yet Santa Cruz is getting all the attention in this bout.
The 31-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico has a great opportunity to validate his status as champion. Beating a hot, rising star like Santa Cruz would be one of the bigger upsets this year and undoubtedly the biggest win of Terrazas' career.
In the Ring
The jab and counter right hand are Terrazas' best weapons. He employs them well and likes to set the tempo with the jab. One major concern for Terrazas in this fight will be pace.
Santa Cruz maintains a break-neck pace for the duration of his fights. He mixes up his punches well and applies great pressure. Terrazas will find it challenging to keep Santa Cruz at bay and conserve his energy.
Santa Cruz is on a roll, and Terrazas doesn't have the type of style that will give Santa Cruz a ton of trouble. Ultimately, Santa Cruz will walk Terrazas down, and his body work will wear on his opponent. Look for a ninth-round stoppage to crown a new champion.
Follow me and witness my passion for sports and video games.