The 26 year-old has plenty of experience with Roman as the two have shared lengthy training sessions together, and Santa Cruz is weary of the threat his compatriot poses when the pair collide at the MGM Grand.
“My opponent [ Manuel Roman] is a great fighter and has many of the same qualities of my past opponents. The only difference with him is that he hasn’t received the exposure that some of my past opponents received, so many don’t know much about him. We know each other very well, we have sparred in the gym together before and he knows how to fight me,” said Santa Cruz.
“I am not looking at this as an easy fight no matter what anyone says. He wasn’t an easy sparring partner; we would go at it back and forth. I didn’t beat him up easily as I have with other partners. We have a lot of respect for one another and we are friends, but once I get into the ring there is no playing nice.
“This is a business and I have to do whatever it takes to come out with a victory,” he added.
Santa Cruz is constantly linked to the bigger names in the division, with the likes of Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and Guillermo Rigondeaux eyeing clashes with ‘Teremoto’ in the future, and victory over Roman would move those fights much closer to reality.
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