Leo Santa Cruz responds to Flores criticism: I asked for Gary Russell!

Leo Santa Cruz wants it known he wanted to fight someone more prominent than Mexico's Miguel Flores (23-2, 11 KO's) in the main event of a Feb. 16 boxing card expected to take place in Los Angeles.

"I thought I was going to fight before the year ended. I asked for Gary Russell," Santa Cruz said. "They [my team] came and told me [I am going to fight] Miguel Flores. I said 'Oh, okay.'

Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KO's), 30, a three-division champion from Los Angeles, also said that if he beats Flores, his next fight will either be a trilogy bout against Carl Frampton, who accounts for his only professional loss, or Russell. If one of those bouts comes to fruition, 2014 Fight of the Year candidate John Molina Jr. and former lightweight world titleholder Omar Figueroa could land on the undercard.

Although a venue deal is not official, the frontrunner to land the Santa Cruz-Flores fight is the outdoor StubHub Center in Carson, California.

PBC officials have told Santa Cruz that he will fight three times in 2019.

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