When IBF bantamweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz enters the ring opposite Alberto Guevara on Saturday, the 24-year-old Mexican-American will do so with his brother, Roberto — who suffers from the potentially life-threatening disease, lupus — in his heart.
“It’s really tough watching my brother. He was a boxer too,” said Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13 knockouts), of Lincoln Heights, Calif. who will be making the third defense of the belt he won by unanimous decision over Vusi Malinga in June.
“He was getting ready for a fight one day, and he just had a chest pain. At first, they couldn’t find out what it was. They told him it was HIV. They They told him that it was these other things. They didn’t know, until at last, they found that it was lupus.”
Santa Cruz shared his thoughts about both his sibling as well as family in a Showtime-produced video in advance of his bout with the Guevara (16-0, 6 KOs), which will happen on CBS from the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Santa Cruz will pursue his 12th knockout in 13 fights against Guevara on a card that is to include 2012 U.S. Olympic team member and junior featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. after having scored fifth- and ninth-round knockouts over ex-beltholder Eric Morel and Victor Zaleta in September and last month, respectively.
Tickets will be free for entry into the CBS broadcast, an event which marks the network’s first live boxing telecast since Bernard Hopkins defended his IBF middleweight title against Glen Johnson in 1997.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org