WBA Featherweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz hosted a media workout at Fortune Gym in Hollywood Tuesday as he nears his showdown against Rafael Rivera on Saturday, February 16 at Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California.
Santa Cruz, who was joined by his father and trainer Jose Santa Cruz, showed off his skills. Santa Cruz was originally scheduled to face Miguel Flores, but he was replaced by Rivera after Flores suffered an injury in training.
Below is what the workout participants had to say Tuesday in Hollywood:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“We kept our training camp going despite the change of opponent. We always train the same no matter who the opponent is.
“We spar against fighters who have every different kind of style, because the opponent could always bring something new to the ring. My dad tells me to always be prepared for any kind of style. We are ready for whatever the opponent brings into the ring.
“I’m always staying in shape whether I’m in the gym training for a fight or not. When they call us and tell us what the fight is, we’re always ready.
“I know that Rivera has fought some good opponents like Joseph Diaz and Joet Gonzalez, and he’s gone the distance with them. He’s given them tough battles. He’s shown that he’s a tough fighter who will leave everything in the ring.
“This isn’t going to be an easy fight. Rivera is tougher than people have given him credit for in the past. It motivates me to try to be the first to knock him out. If I have the opportunity for it, I’m going for it. Most important though, is to come out of there with the victory.
“Sometimes when my dad is having tough days dealing with the cancer, I want to stay at home with him, but he tells me to go to the gym and train hard. So I tell him that we’re going to work hard for him. We both motivate each other.
“(WBC Featherweight Champion) Gary Russell Jr. is the fight that I want. He beat me in the amateurs, but in the pros I get 12 rounds. I think that I can beat him.”
JOSE SANTA CRUZ, Leo’s Father & Trainer
“We didn’t worry too much about the opponent change. I don’t think it makes too much of a difference. Leo is going to be at his best and ready for whoever steps into that ring.
“We didn’t let the change effect our routine. We continued the same preparations as always so Leo is ready to fight. We respect every opponent too much to ever fall behind in conditioning.
“I think this is going to be a good fight. Leo is always very competitive and any time he can win a fight he knows it will be big for his career.
“Leo is 30-years-old right now and I think that he will be retired by 35. He has a lot left to accomplish in this sport and our team is going to keep pushing him to be the best that he can.”