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September 20, 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: LEO SANTA CRUZ
By G. Leon

"I'm looking to hurt him, I'm coming for the knockout!"

GL: How is everything going in preparation and what can we expect to see from you on October 14 vs Chris Avalos? Camp is going great. We're working hard. We're doing ten rounds of sparring already and then after the ten rounds we're doing some conditioning work. Right now we're taking it little by little, but by next week I'll be doing twelve rounds. I'm feeling fast and I'm feeling strong. I'm working different things because I'm always looking to learn more. What will you see? As always when I fight I'm going to go in there and give it 100%. I always try to please the fans and give them great fights and that's what I'm hoping to do again on October 14."

GL: What are your thoughts on Avalos as a figher?

Leo Santa Cruz: "Growing up I saw him in the amateurs and he was a great fight. A lot of people were scared of him. He beat one of my teammates in the amateurs, but I fought him at the junior Olympics and beat him, but it was a really good close fight. They thought they won, but they gave the decision to me. They wanted to get a rematch and they never got to get it, but now in the pros they're going to get their rematch."

GL: I spoke with Avalos recently and he told me that you guys have sparred too many rounds to count in the gym. When I asked him how to the sparring went he basically said that he knows you well and he knows what punches he can he can land on you. He seemed very confident about what tactics he's going to implement in order to be successful. How do you feel about that?

LSC: "Sparring is one thing and fighting is another thing. In sparring, it was hard sparring and we both went toe to toe, but there was times where my dad felt I hurt him and he couldn't really stand to my pressure. But like I said sparring is one thing and fighting is another."

GL: Do you expect the fight to go the distance?

LSC: "Hopefully not. We're going out there and preparing to hurt him and to knock him out, but we're going to be careful because sometimes when you go in there careless to knock a guy out that's when you get caught or tired. I'm going to be smart and patient and if the knockout doesn't come then I'm going to win a good decision."

GL: What's the main reason the fight with Mares isn't happening now? Is it because you've had two tough fights with Frampton back to back? Was it the money?

LSC: "It could be for many reasons. When I was getting ready in the gym I was getting ready for Mares because I thought I was going to fight him, but they thought that since I had gone twelve rounds in back to back fights, they came with the idea to have us fight on the same show and then fight each other early into the year. This has been the longest layoff of my career, and I don't want to have any ringrust going into a big fight. Hopefully I get the win in this fight and I'm able to get right back ino the gym to start preparing for Mares."

GL: Is it difficult for you to not overlook Avalos in this fight?

LSC: "Yes. It already seems like people think I'm going to go through him easily or this is a get ready fight for the next one, but this is an important night for me and Mares because if either one of us loses then there's not going to be a rematch. We've got to go out there and win and sometimes things don't go as planned, but we're going in there focused to get the win and then to hopefully get the rematch against Mares."

GL: Do you think the first fight with Mares all that close or do you feel like you won convincingly?

LSC: "In the beginning the early rounds were close yes, but when I started boxing him I think I started to win rounds easily because I was able to catch him and he wasn't landing that much. When I'm in the ring my main focus is on throwing punches. I just leave it to the judges to score fights that go the distance, but I feel like I beat him clearly and in the rematch it will be even more clear. I will leave no doubts."

GL: Do you think Mares has improved since your first fight?

LSC: "I think he has. He's got Robert Garcia in his corner and he's a great coach and a smart man. In his last fight he did well with Cuellar, he fought smart, he did what he had to do and he looked good."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

LSC: "I thank you for all your support. I know this isn't the fight a lot of people wanted, but I'm training hard to get the win and after this fight I'm going to give the fans fights with Mares, another fight with Frampton, unification against Lee Selby, Gary Russell, any of them I want to fight the big challenges."

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