Leo Santa Cruz names son after Al Haymon; Deontay Wilder to earn $1 million
LAS VEGAS — Everybody thanks Al Haymon. Leo Santa Cruz did more than that. He named his son after him.
“Al Haymon has been such a great manager for me,”’ said Santa Cruz to RingTV.com’s Norm Frauenheim after a Thursday news conference for his junior featherweight title defense Saturday against Jesus Ruiz on the Bermane Stiverne-Deontay Wilder undercard at the MGM Grand. “He’s been like family. So, yeah, I called my son Al.”
Al Santa Cruz was born a month ago, said his unbeaten dad (28-0-1, 16 KOs), who defends his WBC 122-pound title for the fourth time against Ruiz (32-5-5, 22 KOs), a fighter from Nogales on the Mexican side of the border with Arizona.
“Having a son is great motivation for me to go to the gym, to train,” said the heavily-favored Santa Cruz, who in 2015 is hoping for title-unification bouts against Cuban Olympian Guillermo Rigondeaux and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland.
There’s also been talk about a bout with emerging rival Abner Mares at a 124-pound catchweight.
When Santa Cruz told Haymon that he had named his son Al, he said boxing’s powerful adviser was happy.
“He said it was an honor,” said Santa Cruz, who also didn’t forget to say, “Thank you, Al Haymon” during his brief appearance at the podium Thursday.
THE PURSES: DEONTAY WILDER $1 MILLION, BERMANE STIVERNE $910,000
RING No. 6-rated heavyweight Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), who is also advised by Haymon, will pocket $1 million compared to $910,000 for No. 2-rated Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), who is defending his WBC heavyweight title, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett.
The 36-year-old Stiverne is the first heavyweight beltholder of Haitian descent while Wilder, 29, is attempting to become the first American titleholder since Shannon Briggs in 2007.