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Rarely has featherweight world titleholder Leo Santa Cruz called out a specific opponent but he is now. Before his unanimous decision win over Abner Mares in their rematch Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, he said he wanted a unification fight next and specifically mentioned Gary Russell Jr. (29-1, 17 KOs), who retained his belt by unanimous decision over Joseph Diaz Jr. on May 19 and then said he was interested in Santa Cruz. “I am ready to unify with any of the featherweight champions. Me and Gary Russell Jr. fought in the amateurs. He beat me but it was a good fight and I believe I can beat him,” Santa Cruz said before the rematch with Mares. “I know the tactics I'd use. Hopefully I can get my rematch.” After beat Mares again, Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) continued to call for Russell. “I want Gary Russell. Let’s unify,” he said. “I’m not scared of anybody. Whoever I get, let’s go. I’m ready.”

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer69d ago