By Miguel Maravilla
Photo: Big Joe Miranda
Undefeated former IBF bantamweight champion Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of Lincoln Heights, California is days weeks away from his fight Saturday with former world champion Alexander ” El Explosivo” Munoz (36-4, 28KOs). Santa Cruz has been looking sharp in the final phases of training camp at the Who’s Next Boxing Gym in the City of Industry, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles.
“I am in great shape and ready!” Santa Cruz told Fightnews.com. “Training camp has been great for this fight. I can’t wait.”
Santa Cruz originally from Huetamo, Michoacan Mexico comes from a fighting family. He is trained by his father Jose Santa Cruz. His brother, former WBC lightweight champion Jose Armando Santa Cruz, is also seen working the corner.
“I learned a lot from my brother from watching him fight. It’s a good thing to have a brother like him. That’s why I wanted to be world champion,” Santa Cruz said about training with family.
Now the former world champion has vacated his IBF bantamweight title and moved up in weight in a quest for another world title. Santa Cruz won the IBF title last June winning a unanimous decision over Vusi Malinga in dominant fashion setting a Compu-Box record for most punches thrown in a world title fight. Then he defended his title three times.
He is ready for the transition from 118 pounds to 122 pounds with veteran Alexander Munoz looking to spoil Santa Cruz’ plans.
“I am done with 118 and moving up to 122, see how it goes there and if it does win a world title. I want Victor Terrazas. Hopefully I get the WBC title at 122 and then maybe go up to 126,” Santa Cruz stated. “The more active I can be, the better for me. I like to fight a lot but it’s up to my promoter and manager.”
His opponent Alexander Munoz nicknamed “El Explosivo”, explosive, says it all about his style. A former super flyweight world champion who began his career 21-0, with 21 KOs before winning the world title, he packs a punch and is an experienced fighter who has fought the likes of former world champions Martin Castillo, Cristian Mijares, and Koki Kameda.
“He is a really strong fighter, comes forward and has explosion in his hands. He could finish the fight with one punch. We really prepared for him. We’re not going to stand and take his punches, we’ll box. If he’s not hurting me, than we’ll be inside pressuring,” Santa Cruz revealed.
Promoter Oscar de la Hoya told Fightnews.com, “When Eric Gomez brought him to my attention I knew he was a good fighter and that he was going to go far in boxing. He has exceeded everyone’s expectations. He is a very disciplined and exciting fighter. He fought I believe five times last year.”
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Alexander Munoz will take place Saturday May 4 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on the May Day undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero live on PPV.
“When I got the news I was very happy. Happy and excited. This is the biggest fight I have been in. Who wouldn’t want to be on a card like this! I will show my fans and everyone watching the best of me.” Leo Santa Cruz told us. “It’s a great honor. I will take advantage of this to give the fans and people a good show so they can like what I bring and gain more fans.”
“The 4th of May it’s the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Mexicans and Mexican/Americans and everyone will be celebrating. We need to give them really exciting fights and you can’t go wrong with Leo Santa Cruz. He is a very exciting fighter,” said de la Hoya.
“As a Mexican, it’s a great a day to fight on Cinco de Mayo, a day for Mexicans. It’s even more motivating for me to go out and give it all I got. I cannot let the people down,” Santa Cruz added. “Expect a war from me. I will give it all I have for all the fans, all the Mexicans, people that are watching. You are going to be pleased. I won’t disappoint. That is what I am here for. To give the fans what they want!”
Follow me on Twitter @MigMaravilla