LEO SANTA CRUZ believes his impending defence of the WBC super-bantamweight title against unheralded Manuel Roman is “the biggest fight of his life”. The unbeaten former IBF bantamweight boss was visibly excited with his role as lead support for Floyd Mayweather’s latest Las Vegas show.

“Millions will be watching and I have to take advantage,” he said.

The charismatic 26-year-old said he would be willing to take on exquisite division leader, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and that is the fight he craves. Whether his promoters Golden Boy are as willing to make that happen, remains to be seen. For now, though, he warned any observers predicting an easy night on Saturday will be proved wrong.

“People who think this [fight versus Roman] is going to be easy are in for a real surprise,” Santa Cruz said. “I have known about Roman for many years, we were together as amateurs, we have sparred many times and I know how good he is. That’s why I have trained harder than ever for this fight, because I know him.”

Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez hailed Santa Cruz as a “star” and a fighter the promotional outfit are extremely proud of.

“The mail man, the garbage man and the milkman all ask me when Leo Santa Cruz is fighting next. He’s a real star and is willing to fight anyone, even [Guillermo] Rigondeaux, and not many fighters are saying that.”

But the spectacled Roman, a fellow Mexican, is planning to burst the bubble.

“We have known each for a long time,” he said of Santa Cruz. “But this is a one time in a lifetime so I will take advantage and become the new champion.”