Leo Santa Cruz, Miguel Flores, and Brandon Figueroa are set to fight on the Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz undercard. Here’s what they said to the media.
On Saturday, Nov. 23, Deontay Wilder defends his WBC heavyweight title in a rematch with Luis Ortiz on the PBC on FOX pay-per-view card. On the undercard, Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 16 KOs) moves up to junior lightweight against Miguel Flores (24-2, 12 KOs) for the WBA title. Cruz and Flores talked to the media leading up to their fight.
Also on the undercard is WBA junior featherweight champion Brandon Figueroa (20-0, 15 KOS) who defends his title against Julio Ceja (32-4, 28 KOs). Figueroa also took part in Wednesday’s medial call.
The undercard of Wilder vs. Ortiz is shaping up to be an impressive lineup. FanSided was on the call. Here are the highlights from the call via the transcript provided by Swanson Communications.
Brandon Figueroa media call highlights:
Question: What’s your threshold for pain and how do you know the difference between injuries and normal pain? How do you know when something’s going to be too much in the ring and how do you gauge that?
Figueroa: I definitely just have to see when I’m in training if I can push through it. I’ve pushed through many injuries in my amateur career. I pushed through many injuries over my past fights and I fought with a messed up shoulder. I’ve trained with a messed up foot, messed up shoulder. Mostly it was my right shoulder but thank God I got that pain away and it doesn’t bother me anymore. But little minor injuries that happen here and there that kind of slow down the training that I can’t spar or I can’t hit the bag or I can’t run because sometimes my Achilles hurts, stuff like that. But I feel like, I just got to keep praying to God to give me health and make sure that I’m healthy for my training sessions so that I can be really well prepared when fight night comes.
It’s just a matter of me pushing through it and once I see that the injury doesn’t go away, once I see that the pain is too much, then we’re going to have to either fight through it or we pull out but I’ve never pulled out of a fight due to an injury. So I know I can pull through it.
Question: Is that something that’s happened with this fight where you’ve had to alter your training schedule?
Figueroa: This is nothing new. I’ve trained without sparring for some of my fights. I’ve trained without running sometimes because of my foot and on fight night everything works out. I know that sometimes I’m not really well prepared because of the injuries but at the end of the day, I go out there and I fight my heart out and I get the W. I know some people may say it’s kind of stupid to fight like that or it’s kind of risky but I feel like, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and it’s the challenge of my career.
I know at the end of the day it’s going to make me stronger. I’m not underestimating Julio Ceja at all but this ain’t the first time that I’ve been training injured and I’ve just go to push through it mentally and I’ve got to be strong-minded and I can’t let the injuries get the best of me.
Miguel Flores media call highlights:
Question: Your late brother Benjamin was a boxer and you promised him that you would become a world champion. Do you feel that this fight is destiny fighting for a world title now?
Flores: It definitely is. It’s about 10 years after his passing and the opportunity is finally here. It’s crazy because my brother once took a picture with the WBA title. At the time the fighter that had it was Chris John and he borrowed his belt and took a picture with it. Ten years later, I have the opportunity to fight for that belt and become a world champion. So, like I said, it’s destiny. Obviously, this last fight, when we were scheduled to fight this last time, unfortunately, I had that injury, but it’s destiny. Some things are just meant to happen, and I know Leo is a great fighter, but we’re going to put up a great fight, two Mexicans, and it’s nothing but respect for him outside the ring, but once we get in the ring, I’m definitely going to try and knock him out.
Question: Back in 2017 you had two controversial, or two setbacks I would say, one against Chris Avalos, the other against Dat Nguyen. What have you learned from those two fights, and how was that prepared you for this moment today?
Flores: There’s a saying that you gain more from a loss than if you’re always winning, and I think with that Nguyen fight, and I’ve always said it, I never have any excuse. He beat me fair and square. There are obviously things I rather not talk about that I know I won’t ever do again if that happens in a match, or at the weigh-in or something like that. I know there are things that I won’t do, and I won’t accept, but at the end of the day I took the fight, and he beat me.
Do I think he’s a better fighter than me overall? No, I don’t think so. He was a better fighter that night, but I learned just to stay focused throughout the fight and never underestimate anyone. Not that I underestimated him, but just I got to stay focused throughout the whole 10, 12 rounds that I’m fighting.
Obviously, with the Chris Avalos fight, I don’t even take that as a loss. A lot of people that are boxing fans or that really follow the sport know what happened in that fight. I felt like I was dominating the fight. I had dropped Avalos.
The type of grueling fight that it was, we, unfortunately, had three cuts on us and, the ref made a bad call. That was his call. I can’t do anything about it, but I took that last more, like, you just got to live to fight another day. I felt like right when Avalos got the fight with Leo, I was like, man, that’s my fight, that’s my opportunity. So like I said, I’ve been thinking about Leo Santa Cruz for years now, and finally, this moment is here, and I’m planning to take full advantage of it.
Leo Santa Cruz media call highlights:
Question: Can you talk about if you felt the need to move up because of your body, and if you think a Gervonta Davis fight is still on the horizon?
Santa Cruz: Yeah, I moved up some weight because I had the opportunity. I had been entertaining that maybe I wanted to unify it against. And I said if those fights can’t happen, I want more titles at new weight classes.
The opportunity came as Davis moved up in weight, and the title that’s right there was vacant. So I was offered to fight for the fight, and I said yes. The fans are going to be happy, and they’re going to realize that Miguel is a lot better than they think. He’s a good fighter that comes and fights. It’s going to be a great fight.
At the end of the day, it’s just who wants it more. If it’s Miguel’s turn, if it’s his opportunity, I’ll be more than happy, for him to win, but I’m training really hard, and I want that title more than anything. I want to be a four-division world champion.
Question: Was the idea of moving up to 130 on the table for this year, or even early this year regardless of what Gervonta Davis was going to do? Or would you still have managed to just find a way to still fight at 126 pounds, despite maybe not necessarily getting those big fights that you wanted?
Santa Cruz: My dream was to be a four-division world champion. I wanted to win the title so when I retire, I’m remembered as one of the only fighters that wins a fourth title, in four divisions. Not a lot of people do that. So, that was my dream. I have the opportunity. So I’m going to go for it and hopefully, everything goes good.
People ask me, and I say, I don’t know what’s going to happen that day on November 23. But if I win, I want the big fights. I want to get Gervonta Davis, Gary Russell Jr and I want the big name that people will want me to fight.
Santa Cruz, Flores, and Figueroa show off their talents on the undercard of Wilder vs. Oritz 2 on Nov. 23, only on FOX pay-per-view starting at 9 p.m. ET.