Friday, July 3, 2015

Why I Kind Of Feel Bad For Leo Santa Cruz

"I don't really like fighting or going against my team."

So says Leo Santa Cruz in a recent interview with Marcos Villegas. It's easy for people to pile on Santa Cruz, but - let's face it - going against your team, whether as a boxer, as an employee, or just as a member of a family, is a hard thing to do. I kind of feel bad for the guy.

Villegas, after all, clearly asks Santa Cruz in the interview about Guillermo Rigondeaux, a man Santa Cruz has been accused of ducking. Leo says he wants to fight Rigo, that he told his team he wants to fights Rigo, but that his team simply doesn't think it's a good idea at the moment. And so Leo's going to do what they want him to.

Truth be told, I believe Santa Cruz here. I've spoken to the guy myself, and it's literally hard to find a nicer person to converse with. I don't think he's lying at all, I think he wants the Rigo fight, just like Rigo does. I just think Leo lets his "team" control his future to such a degree that it's ruining his reputation among fans... as well as his legacy.

I could be wrong, of course, but it seems to me that there's possible three reasons Leo's team (Santa Cruz is with Al Haymon, mind you) doesn't want the Rigo fight - at least at the moment. The first reason is that Rigo isn't with Haymon and Haymon doesn't want Santa Cruz fighting a top guy who's not a part of his stable.

The second reason is that Haymon and company simply feel Rigo might be too good for Leo and therefore want to avoid hampering their man's record. Perhaps they think it's better to just let Rigo age - or better yet - to simply fade away.

The third reason is that team Santa Cruz simply figures they can just keep giving their man big checks for fighting nobodies - with an occasional threat like Andre Berto thrown in on occasion just to shut people up. This potential reason, believe it or not, just may work to team Leo's benefit. There are individuals out there, after all,  who would be perfectly happy never seeing Leo fight Rigo because Rigo is "boring."

Sad, I know.

At any rate, it's time for Leo to let his "team" know that it's his choices that have to be made, not theirs, and that if they were really behind him, they'd actually bend to his wishes just once. Judging from the interview with Villegas, however, Leo isn't going to rise to the occasion.

For Santa Cruz doesn't seem to understand that not all fighting has to take place in a ring.

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