Leo Santa Cruz is reaching boxing's elite level.
On Friday, hours before
This is a duty reserved for the game's biggest names, and less than two weeks removed from his World Boxing Assn. featherweight title victory over fellow Southland product Abner Mares, Santa Cruz (31-0-1) is feeling the love.
"I still can't believe it," Santa Cruz said. "This is living my dream. I knew it'd be a hard fight, but I trained hard. And now that we won, it's disbelief."
Santa Cruz said he is interested in a rematch with Mares since the 1.6 million peak audience on ESPN and the 13,000-plus who attended at Staples Center confirmed interest both nationally and in Los Angeles.
"A rematch would be great," Santa Cruz said. "The fans loved the first fight, so I'd think a lot of people will want to watch a rematch. I think a second fight would be much better."
Jose Santa Cruz, the fighter's father and trainer, said he's cooler to the idea of a rematch with Mares, a former three-division world champion.
"Right now, right away, I don't want an immediate rematch," Jose Santa Cruz said through a Spanish interpreter. "My son's going to continue to move. ... He can make good money against other opposition."
Leo Santa Cruz said he expects to discuss his future this weekend with his manager, PBC creator Al Haymon.
Santa Cruz is also interested in fighting super-bantamweight world champion Carl Frampton or fellow featherweight title-holders Vasyl Lomachenko or Lee Selby. Lomachenko is likely out of the question because he's promoted by Top Rank's Bob Arum, a rival of Haymon's.