Crowd-pleasing WBC super bantamweight titleholder Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) will put his title and unbeaten record on the line in a 12-round bout against Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs) on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas live on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
The “Return To Glory” fight card co-promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions is highlighted by a heavy-duty main-event matchup that has stirred the interest of even the most casual sports fan — dangerous defending WBC heavyweight titleholder Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Haiti, against unbeaten mandatory challenger Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
All-action, two-division titleholder Santa Cruz, of Los Angeles, Calif., will be making his fourth defense of the 122-pound title he won with a third-round knockout over Victor Terrazas (37-3-1, 21 KOs) on Aug. 24, 2013. Santa Cruz, 26, is coming off of a second-round technical knockout over Manuel “Suavecito” Roman (17-3-3, 17 KOs) on Sept. 13 at MGM Grand.
Santa Cruz, who’s as personable and courteous outside the ring as he is ferocious and determined inside, said, “I feel great about my upcoming fight with Ruiz. He is a strong fighter, undefeated in the past two years and the kind of opponent I want to fight.”
“I want to put on a great show on Jan. 17,” Santa Cruz continued. “And show boxing fans that I am a strong fighter ready to go to the next level and take on the top, tough fighters in the division: Guillermo Rigondeaux, Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton and Abner Mares.”
His opponent: Jesus Ruiz of, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, retired his amateur status at the tender age of 16. He has won five in a row, including a clear 10-round decision in perhaps a career-best performance over Leonilo Miranda (36-7, 33 KOs) in his most recent start on Nov. 7, 2014.
A professional since November of 2006, the 25-year-old Ruiz will be getting the opportunity of a lifetime in just his third start in the United States (and third outside of Mexico). He won a lopsided eight-round decision over Enrique “Cuate” Quevedo (16-7-1, 10 KOs) on Aug. 24, 2013, in Cabazon, Calif., after losing his U.S. debut on an upset split decision in Tucson, Ariz., in July of 2008.
“I want thank Golden Boy Promotions and SHOWTIME for this great opportunity to fight for the world title,” said Ruiz. “I know many believe I have no chance, but I am well prepared and ready to give my all. I am ready for war and ready to leave it all in the ring like a true Mexican warrior.”
“2015 is going to be a huge year for boxing and Golden Boy’s opening act in Las Vegas will get things started with a bang,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions.
“In addition to Deontay Wilder looking to bring a heavyweight title back to America for the first time in a decade, longtime favorite Leo Santa Cruz and rising star Fidel Maldonado Jr. — electric fighters with significant power — will both appear in separate fights on the undercard, giving boxing fans a chance to see three top stars in action on a single card.”