The World Boxing Association champion wants to extend its sympathy to WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz and his family because of the health situation concerning his father.
It was revealed last month that Jose Santa Cruz, 56, has Stage 3 myeloma—bone cancer at the spine that will require chemotherapy and surgery.
“The first thing he said is, ‘This is nothing,’” said Leo Santa Cruz on Wednesday, “no tears, no nothing. We were all crying, but he says, ‘No matter. It don’t scare me. I’ll beat it.’”
That fighting spirit is essential to getting well. It is also the embodiment of the strength and courage Jose instilled in his four sons, Antonio, Jose Armando, Robert and Leo, especially his youngest son, the world champion we know as “El Terremoto.”
“He’s my world,” said Leo about his father. “I can’t imagine not having him with me. It’s something I wouldn’t be able to handle. Him suffering everything to bring us here (to the U.S. from Mexico)…to get to this point, we want to enjoy everything he worked so hard for, to see it all pay off.”
Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) is preparing for the July 30 defense of his WBA featherweight title at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn defense against former WBA Super World super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs).
“We think he’ll be 100%,” said Leo, “that he’ll be able to go to my fight…That’s right where I want him. He tells me, ‘You know what to do, I’ve already showed you. Just push him, push him hard enough so he can’t do the same things he’s been doing. I shouldn’t have to tell you anymore.’
“That’s what we’re doing now.”
But the news has hit Leo hard.
“The way he tells me things, screaming, it gets you mad, but you know it’s for your own good,” said Leo of his father. “He’s not screaming now. He has to be relieved from stress. If he comes to the gym, I know he’s going to be stressed. He needs the rest. That’s more important.
“What I want is for my dad to be there when I fight. The doctors know the date, they’re pushing it…telling me, ‘You just and go train hard, and by fight day, you’ll have him there.’
“It would be hard without him. He wouldn’t want me to get down.”
Leo told Jose, “You always told us to be strong and tough when we were growing up. Now it’s your turn—your time to go 15 rounds.
“There’s a lot more of life to enjoy.”
The WBA is saddened by the news, but wants to offer heartfelt words of encouragement to Leo and his family.
“Champion,” says WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, “we are in your corner and suggest you pray to God. God has no limits. Keep your faith in him.”
Special thanks to the Los Angeles Times.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.