Sport Leo Santa Cruz wants to avoid war: 'I'm going to listen to dad'
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The key to victory for Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday might not be that complicated: Just listen to dad.
Santa Cruz, who faces Gervonta Davis on pay-per-view from the Alamodome in San Antonio, has the instincts of a warrior. When things get hot, he naturally jumps directly into the cauldron.
His mission in the junior lightweight bout Saturday will be to resist his own urges because Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is one of the most powerful punchers pound-for-pound in the sport and will be the bigger man in the ring.
At least that has been the instructions of his father, Jose Santa Cruz, who is also his trainer.
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“I’m Mexican, I have a big heart,” Santa Cruz said during a virtual news conference Wednesday. “My dad is telling me to be a smart fighter, not get hit with a big punch. You know me. … I’ll want to brawl with him, make it a war.
“I’m going to listen to dad. He’s the smart one. He tells me what to do. And as the fight is going, he’ll tell me how to fight him and find a way to beat him.”
Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) is no slouch. “El Terremoto (The Earthquake)” has won world titles in four divisions with a combination of volume punching and grit.
The potential problem for him on Saturday is that size and strength difference. Santa Cruz fought at 126 pounds only two fights ago and Davis is a big 130-pounder, which is one reason most people are picking Davis to win.
Santa Cruz pursued a fight with Davis in part to challenge himself. Well, he got what he wished for.
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“Tank is my hardest fight, the strongest [opponent] of my career,” he said. “I think the [Abner] Mares and [Carl] Frampton fights helped me to get great experience for this fight, against Gervonta Davis.
“I learned a lot from those fights and ever since have learned a lot more.”
He went on: “Tank is the bigger guy. I know he hits hard. We in sparring have been training with bigger guys and we’ve been able to take their punches. Hopefully we’ll be able to take Tank’s punches too.
“… All the fans, they want you to make it a a war, they want a back-and-forth war. I know with Tank I can’t do that. I have to fight smart, try as had as I can to listen to my dad and do what he tells me to win the fight.”
Davis was a 4-1 favorite as of Wednesday afternoon, which is a considerable spread for boxing.
Santa Cruz was asked about the odds twice during the news conference. And he had similar answer both times: He doesn’t care.
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Gervonta Davis wants winner of Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell fight .
Gervonta Davis has a lot of options at both 130 and 135 pounds. One possible opponent he seems to like: the winner of the Dec. 5 lightweight fight between Ryan Garcia and Luke Campbell. Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) knocked Leo Santa Cruz out cold with an…Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) knocked Leo Santa Cruz out cold with an epic left uppercut this past Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, a significant step in the career of the 25-year-old slugger.