✏ By Jon Uddin
Three division Champion 🇲🇽Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19KO👊) is moving up, this time to the Super-Featherweight division where he will take on 🇲🇽Miguel Flores (24-2-0, 12KO👊) for the vacant Super WBA Super-Featherweight Title. With a rubber match against Carl Frampton, and long awaited matchup with promotional stablemate Gary Russell Jr. not panning out, the native of Huetamo, Mexico will attempt to win a title in a fourth division by going after the belt left behind by Gervonta Davis, after he stepped up to the Lightweight division.
The last time Santa Cruz took to the ring back in February, he was in complete command throughout. Behind a relentless work rate and thudding body shots, he defeated Mexico’s Rafael Rivera 119-109 on all three judges scorecards. The outcome came as no surprise, and “El Terremoto” continued to live up to his reputation as a high volume technician, averaging 35 punches a minute as his output totaled an astounding 1273 punches in 12 rounds.
As far as the title up for grabs goes, Santa Cruz, and Flores, have been presented an opportunity to obtain the “Super” version of the WBA Super Featherweight title. The “Regular” title is held by Andrew Cancio, who in reality should have been elevated to outright champion when Davis made his move up in weight, but we are where we are, and get what we get.
A fighter’s move up to another division brings with it a number of questions, the most pressing being, how will they take the punches? Will the increase in weight benefit their own power and endurance since the weight cut is less of an issue?
Flores has the task of being the first opponent that will give us a look at how Santa Cruz’s power looks at the new weight class. The career of the Morelia, Mexico native is fueled by the memory of his older brother Ben (who succumbed to injuries he suffered in the ring in 2009), and is 2-2 in his last four outings but will be up against it in his first shot at a world title.
If Santa Cruz brings more pop up with him, in addition to his already high rate of offense, it will be a tremendous hurdle for Flores (who was stopped in both of his losses) to overcome. His last two wins have both come by way of stoppage, but his overall career knockout ratio of 46% makes it hard to picture him being able to test Santa Cruz’s chin.
PREDICTION: Miguel Flores will serve Leo Santa Cruz well in his goal of collecting the title at stake in his new weight class. He is a willing but very limited opponent who looks to be completely overmatched by Santa Cruz’s pressure and work rate. Flores will have to be able to get inside and work effectively, and it’s hard to see that happening as Santa Cruz uses his length well to keep the fight where he wants it and protect himself defensively. Expect the sharp body attack of Santa Cruz to break Flores down over the course of the fight leading to a mid round TKO win.
Santa Cruz vs Flores will be shown on the main portion of the FOX PPV card headlined by the Heavyweight title rematch between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz at 9pm ET/6pm PT.