P4P countdown: No. 9: Leo Santa Cruz
Over the course of the next few days, Boxing Monthly online is counting down our latest pound for pound top ten, based on the votes of a panel comprising ten of our writers. Today we reveal the man who came ninth ...
Name: Leo Santa Cruz
BM online P4P ranking: 9th (new entry from January)
Fight record: 35-1-1 (19 KOs)
Report card: 2017 was a good year for Santa Cruz as he avenged his sole career loss to Carl Frampton by clearly besting the Belfast man on points in January and then KO-ed Chris Avalos in October. These performances brought him to the brink of our P4P top ten last time around. A solid second win over Abner Mares earlier this month, coupled with Keith Thurman's inactivity and Saul Alvarez's drugs test failure has now helped Santa Cruz crack the top ten.
Prospects: Featherweight is a division crying out for unification matches. Santa Cruz vs Gary Russell Jr is one of the most intriguing fights that can be made in boxing right now, while Frampton vs Santa Cruz 3 or Santa Cruz vs Oscar Valdez would both be fights of significance. Santa Cruz vs Russell Jr looks the favourite to happen first. If he can beat the talented Maryland man, then Santa Cruz could ascend further up this list.
Total points from BM P4P ranking panel: 20 - eight of our ten-person panel included Santa Cruz in their individual top tens, with a highest ranking of seventh.
NB: Voting panel for the BM online P4P rankings were: Mark Butcher, Luke Byron, Luke G. Williams, Andrew Harrison, Paul Zanon, James Oddy, Chris Williamson, Callum Rudge, Michael Montero and Shaun Brown.
Each panellist ranked their top ten in order, with the boxer placed first receiving ten points, second nine points, third eight points and so on. Boxers were then ranked by the overall number of points accrued. If scores are equal then the boxer with the highest individual rating from a judge is ranked higher. If boxers are still equal they are then ranked equal. If there is a tie for first place then the boxer with the most first-place votes is given preference. If boxers are still equal they are then ranked equal.