It’s the end of the last day of training camp and Leo Santa Cruz has leapt into the ring and gathered everyone around for Team Santa Cruz’s traditional “last-day-of-camp” group photo.
Jerry Perez and Ivan Redkach are in the shot. The two fighters are as sweaty as Santa Cruz, their friend, the WBA super featherweight champion, who has given spots on his undercard to Perez, a 10-0 super featherweight, and Redkach, a gutsy Ukrainian who is trying to stay relevant in the super lightweight division.
Leo’s brother Antonio is in the photo, too. Leo’s right-hand man and assistant trainer, Antonio always seems to be close by, in silent, loyal service. Leo’s father and head trainer, Jose Santa Cruz, is also there, but until a few days ago his presence was not a given. The family patriarch has missed large chunks of this camp. While Leo has been preparing to face Rafael Rivera (26-2-2) on Feb. 16, Jose has continued battling the cancer that for the last three years has snaked its way around his lower spine.