By Sean Jones: Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) will be moving up to 130 to face #2 WBA Miguel Flores (24-2, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA ‘regular’ super featherweight title later this year, according to @MikeCoppinger. Before making that move, Santa Cruz, 31, will be vacating his WBA Super World featherweight title.

Santa Cruz had previously had a fight scheduled against Flores earlier this year in February, but Flores, 27, suffered an ankle injury, and was unable to fight. The fight was criticized heavily by boxing fans before Flores suffered the ankle injury. You would think that Santa Cruz and his management would have realized back then that fans didn’t want to see this fight , but they’re sticking it out to make it.

Santa Cruz no longer taking risky fights

The perception that a lot of people have is Santa Cruz is no longer taking risks with his career. He hasn’t taken a risky fight since his rematch with Carl Frampton in 2017. Since that fight, Santa Cruz has beaten past his prime Abner Mares in a pointless rematch, Chris Avalos and Rafael Rivera.

Andrew Cancio the current WBA ‘regular’ 130lb champion

What’s a little confusing is what happens to the current WBA World super featherweight champion Andrew Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KOs)?  Cancio won the WBA belt earlier this year in stopping champion Alberto Machado by a 4th round knockout on February 9. The two met in a rematch last June with Cancio stopping Machado in the 3rd round to keep his WBA World super featherweight title.

Cancio, 30, has a title defense of his WBA 130-lb title scheduled against Rene Alvarado (31-8, 20 KOs) on November 23 at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, California. What happens with Cancio? Will the WBA elevate him to Super World featherweight champ? Looking at it logically, Santa Cruz should be fighting Cancio for the WBA title, not Flores.

It’s unclear why the WBA has Flores ranked so high anyway, because he’s lost 2 out of his last 3 fights. With that many recent losses, Flores arguably shouldn’t be rated in the top 15. Flores suffered consecutive stoppage losses to Dat Nguyen and Chris Alvalos in 2017. Flores bounced back from the losses to defeat lower level fighters Raul Chirino (14-12, 9 KOs) and Luis May (21-16-1, 8 KOs).  For some reason, the WBA saw the victories for Flores as good enough to give him a #2 ranking with their organization.

Santa Cruz leaving 126-lb division without fighting Gary Russell Jr.

WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. has been calling Santa Cruz in the media lately. Russell Jr. even involved Santa Cruz’s dad recently in a disturbing video. Santa Cruz still hasn’t accepted Russell’s challenge, and some fans thinks he’s ducking him. It’s going to look bad in the eyes of the boxing public if Santa Cruz fights Flores for the WBA 130-lb title. Fighting a guy that has lost 2 out of his last three fights looks bad on Santa Cruz’s part.