Thursday, August 22, 2013
Santa Cruz feels stronger at 122 pounds
By Rodrigo Azurmendi
CARSON, Calif. -- Leo Santa Cruz is set to make just his second appearance as a junior featherweight, but he's convinced that the move will benefit his style.
Cruz, 25, who vacated his bantamweight belt to go up to 122 pounds and take on Alexander Munoz in May (a fifth-round TKO win for Cruz), is looking for a second crown. His shot comes against fellow Mexican Victor Terrazas on Saturday at the Stub Hub Center.
I feel stronger, better," Santa Cruz said. "The 118-pound division took a toll on me, and I had to eat a lot less. Now, I'm eating well and don't feel weak. Right now, I'm at 121 pounds."
"Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KOs) says that his focus during training camp this time around was homing in on and correcting previous mistakes, keeping in mind the quality of his opponent.
"I need to have a sharp focus because it will be a really tough fight," Santa Cruz said. "I had to go at 100 percent, just concentrate to keep distractions and mistakes out of the picture."
Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KOs), 30, who took a split decision over Cristian Mijares in April to earn a vacant junior featherweight strap, will be making his first defense against Santa Cruz.
Despite being the challenger, Santa Cruz is considered by many as the favorite for this fight. But he says that could be a double-edged sword.
"It's motivating, because people trust me, but at the same time I have a lot of pressure because people think that I will win easily," Santa Cruz said. "Anything can happen inside that ring. I will try my best to back the people's trust and not let anybody down."
Santa Cruz believes that moving up a weight division will allow him to take better advantage of his power.
"I think that being a bit heavier will favor me," he said. "I will be a bit fitter and will go forward, trying to wear him down little by little.
"I have to punish his body, because that will slow him down. I've got to wear him down and see if I can knock him out in the closing rounds. Since he is older than me, wearing him down will take a toll on his speed."