After an impressive performance for the vacant IBF bantamweight title, Leo Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11 KOs) will make the first defense of his title against veteran former world titlist, Eric Morel (46-3, 23 KOs) on the September 15th Saul Alvarez-Josesito Lopez undercard in Las Vegas.
Santa Cruz turned a lot of heads against Vusi Malinga in his title-winning effort, registering the only memorable performance on a dismal June Showtime quadruple header. In taking a one-sided unanimous decision over the veteran Mulinga, Santa Cruz looked like a sharp, well-schooled pro, well beyond his 24 years of age.
Morel, giving away twelve years to Santa Cruz, is a former flyweight world champ and bantamweight interim titlist with a long list of quality opponents on his professional resume. Most recently, the Puerto Rico native lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Abner Mares for the vacant junior featherweight in April.
The twelve round championship contest is the final announced undercard bout for Showtime’s quadruple header on September 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Below the Alvarez-Lopez main event and Santa Cruz-Morel bout, the show also features Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon for Gonzalez’s WBC featherweight title and Marcos Maidana vs. Jesus Soto Karass in a welterweight contest.