LEO SANTA CRUZ has reiterated the fact that he would contemplate retirement should Carl Frampton beat him for a second time this weekend.
Frampton shattered Santa Cruz’s unbeaten record in New York last year to relieve him of the WBA featherweight title, and Leo gets his chance at revenge at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Should the Mexican-American fail to even up the score, he would question his future in the sport, having already won world titles in three weight divisions.
“Us fighters, our pride is to be the best. We don’t want nobody else to be better than us. If Carl Frampton beat me two times already, it shows that he’s a better fighter than me,” he admitted.
“So my pride and the reason I’m here is to show that I’m the best. Maybe, if he beats me, there will be no point to be here.
“I’ll probably leave it to the fans. If the fans want to continue seeing me fighting, if they give me the support, I’ll probably continue to fight.
“But if not, I’ll see. I’m going to have to see about it and what happens.
“I know another loss against Carl Frampton, it could be the end of my career. Every fighter fights to be the best. I want to come out here and be the best.
“And if Carl Frampton beats me, I think maybe, you know I don’t want to say it but maybe I’d retire. But I’ll come really prepared to get the win and will leave everything in the ring to get it.”
Of course, the 28-year-old has no intention of losing to Frampton this weekend. Having also beaten domestic rival Scott Quigg in 2016, Frampton was named Fighter of the Year by every reputable boxing publication in the UK and America.
The pair have a huge amount of respect for each other, but Santa Cruz insists that will all go out the window come fight night.
“This is my career. Once I get into the ring, there’s no respect or nothing,” he said.
“I try to hurt Frampton or try to finish a fight as soon as I can – the sooner the better because it makes it easier for me.
“I’ll be more aggressive, smarter and every punch will be thrown with determination to knock him out.
“Carl Frampton won the Fighter of the Year and they gave him awards and everything. Getting this win against Carl Frampton is going to boost me up big time and get my name bigger than ever.”
Santa Cruz was wobbled in the second round of their first meeting, though dragged Frampton into firefights during the later stages.
Though he is not known as a one-punch knockout artist, the industrious slugger feels he can get to Frampton, as long as he gets going earlier.
“I think I could wobble and hurt him. If I get him with the perfect shot I could drop him. If I go to the body and catch him in the right spot, I think he could go down,” he said.
“If you land the perfect shot in a fight, they go down.
“I’m going to go out there and start the first round the way I start the sixth – with pressure. Be smart, throw a lot of punches, work the body. This is what I’m going to do.”