“I will go in there, study him for the first two rounds and see what his plan is. I will figure him out and break him down. Once that fight is taken care of, I will get ready again. I think my trainer wants me to fight Casamayor next.”-Santa-Cruz has future plans, but not before dealing with his latest opponent tomorrow night.
Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, “Kid Diamond,” Vicente “Chente” Escobedo, Vans Martiyosyan, and Edwin Valero are just a few of the hot prospects that are always talked about as having very bright futures. All of the aforementioned are very capable, skilled fighters who have shown flashes of great potential, covered extensively by the boxing media. One name that is almost never included among the best of the young guns is 135-pound prospect Jose Armando Santa-Cruz. Despite an impressive record of 20-0-0 with 11 KO’s and wins over such solid veteran contenders as Arturo Morua, James Crayton, Larry Murphy, and Ernesto Zavala, Santa-Cruz is not really seen as a potential future superstar of the sport. It is something that really does not bother the young pugilist from Lincoln Heights, California. “I think that I have been learning and will continue to learn the more I fight. My trainer (Rudy Hernandez) has handled my career very well and I have complete trust in him. He just tells me where I’m going to fight and I am ready. I think my trainer has tested me, and knows when I am ready for the next thing. I have had some hard fights, and one of my hardest was Murphy. I dropped him in the second round, but I tried to just go after him and did not fight smart. That’s what Rudy told me, that I need to be smart and that I need to pick my shots. I don’t have to go in and try to kill someone. I have a lot to learn before I can get to a title fight, but I am learning very fast,” said Jose Armando Santa-Cruz from his home.
As Santa-Cruz stated, Rudy Hernandez who has trained some great fighters in his time, including his own brother Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, is his trainer and manager. Hernandez is an “old school” trainer who tends to have very militant style training camps. Extremely hot gym conditions and four to five minute sparring rounds are common practices that a Hernandez trained fighter must face. Many young men cannot take the kind of stress and pressure that this may cause, but Jose Armando feels that it is the right place for him to be. “Yeah, it’s very tough. He really pushes us really hard and trains us to box and also to fight. We are all taught to do both and are always completely ready for every fight and any fighter. The gym is very, very hot, but that’s good because we get physically ready and have great conditioning because of the heat. It is hot in there, but that heat gives me very good conditioning and I’m ready to fight.”
And fighting he has been doing since the tender age of eleven. That is when the young Santa-Cruz, who was very involved in Karate, noticed his brothers, who were boxing in the amateurs at the time, having a lot of success. Jose Armando felt that he could also accomplish a lot in boxing. “My brothers started fighting earlier than me and I would see them get home with a bunch of trophies and everything. I said to myself, “I want to do that too,’ and since them, I’ve been boxing. It is something that my father always wanted to do it himself, but never got the chance. When my oldest brother started getting older, my dad told him to box. He also told me, but I was doing Karate at the time. When I started boxing, my father was happy. I started to like Julio Cesar Chavez (senior); he was one of my idols. He had a big heart and would go out there and just demolish guys. I also like Diego Corrales because he could fight very good both inside and outside, and he has great power. Like both of those fighters, I like to fight and will fight anyone.”
The next “anyone” on Jose Armando’s list is the tough and rugged veteran Fernando “El Pillon” Trejo, whom Santa-Cruz fights this coming Friday on Telefutura’s “Solo Boxeo” boxing series. Trejo has been in there with “world-class” opposition and stopped by no one in thirty-eight fights. The Ignacio Beristain trained Mexican better be ready as, though still inexperienced, Santa-Cruz is a very young, strong, fundamentally sound lightweight that can wear you down. The orthodox Californian can also switch to the “southpaw” stance with great ease and fight effectively. His hand-speed and footwork is nothing amazing, but he makes those deficiencies up with very sharp punching and relentless pressure. Jose Armando is a rib roaster as well who likes to take the legs away from his opponents early. Trejo, who is 2-2-0, with 0 KO’s, will need to be on his game if he is to have a shot of upsetting the young gun. “I really don’t know much about him (Trejo) other than he is tough and has fought some good fighters. I will go in there, study him for the first two rounds and see what his plan is. I will figure him out and break him down. Once that fight is taken care of, I will get ready again. I think my trainer wants me to fight Casamayor next. I really don’t know, but I’ll fight anyone.”
In closing, Jose Armando said, “I’m going to box and be patient this Friday, and I will show what I can do. I am going to take my time and will fight my fight. I have trained hard and am ready.”
So my fellow boxing junkies, tune in this Friday night to Telefutura’s “Solo Boxeo” boxing series and enjoy one of boxing’s possible future champions. He may not be as well known as the other young guns, but this lightweight “sleeper” has the attitude, toughness, fundamentals, and skills to really make some noise in a very talent laden 135-pound division. Also, at five-feet, ten-inches tall, he may easily move up to the 140-pound division and that can only be good news for boxing.
Contact Sergio Martinez at email@example.com