Leo Santa Cruz  takes on Kiko Martinez for the WBA (super) Featherweight title on February 27th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Winning a Third Weight Class

The 27-year old Santa Cruz was last in action last August 29th in what was billed as the Battle of Los Angeles against fellow Los Angeles product Abner Mares. Santa Cruz beat Mares in that action packed Fight of the Year candidate by majority decision. Undefeated in 31 bouts with 17 knockouts, Santa Cruz has won world titles at bantamweight and junior featherweight before vacating his title to move up in weight and fight Mares. With the win over Mares, he is now a three division world champion who is looking to move up to 130 pounds and win one more weight class. But for now, he is staying at featherweight and will be facing an intriguing opponent in Kiko Martinez.

Not Over The Hill

Martinez is a former IBF bantamweight title holder. But he’s only 4-2 in his last six fights. The 29-year old Spaniard has won three fights in a row, but they were against unknown opponents. In 2014, Martinez lost his IBF title by unanimous decision to Carl Frompton. Two fights later, Martinez was knocked out in the second round by Scott Quigg when he challenged for the WBA bantamweight crown. Martinez isn’t considered over the hill at his age but it appears that the star power and depth of his weight class has put him close to that.

One Step Back

Santa Cruz considers Martinez as one step back in his quest for greatness. But with no big fights at hand at the moment, Santa Cruz had to take a fight as soon as possible especially since he has not fought since beating Abner Mares. The veteran Kiko Martinez will provide some opposition but it’s likely that he will be overwhelmed by El Terromoto’s relentless work rate and movement. Santa Cruz may not be a knockout artist, but he beats his opponents up with a lot of punches from all angles. Martinez may not have the speed to match Santa Cruz and if Leo just stays away from Martinez’s power (26 KOs in 35 wins), it will be a punching picnic for Santa Cruz who is a heavy -1600 betting favorite against the +800 underdog Martinez.

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