Opponent change doesn’t bother Santa Cruz

WBA featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz hosted a media workout at Fortune Gym in Hollywood Tuesday as he nears his primetime FOX showdown against Rafael Rivera on February 16 at Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Santa Cruz was originally scheduled to face Miguel Flores, but he was replaced by Rivera after Flores suffered an injury in training.

Photo: Luis Mejia/TGB Promotions

“We kept our training camp going despite the change of opponent. We always train the same no matter who the opponent is,” said Santa Cruz.

“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.

“(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.”

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