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The entire boxing world will be watching.
Leo Santa Cruz has had a wonderful boxing career so far. He’s beaten some of the top names in the 126-pound featherweight division, and he’s made high six-figure and low seven-figure paydays for the last few years. But the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera fight could make him vastly more well known among mainstream sports fans.
The fight will be shown on Fox, and every streaming service carries the broadcast network. (Even better, all of the services featured below offer free trials to get you started.) When welterweight star Keith Thurman fought on Fox last month, more than 2.7 million watched him at the broadcast’s peak. For a fighter of Santa Cruz’s caliber, that kind of mainstream crossover would be highly beneficial.
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera
- When: Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8pm ET
- Where: Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles
- Streaming: Fox (free trials with various streaming services)
How to watch Santa Cruz vs. Rivera online for free
- Cost: $44.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
If you’re looking to bundle your streaming services, it’s hard to beat Hulu with Live TV, which offers nearly 60 channels of live TV in addition to Hulu’s massive on-demand library of TV shows, movies, and original series. It’s the best of both worlds. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
- Cost: $39.99 for your first month and $44.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
If you’re a fan of international soccer, FuboTV needs no introduction. It’s the best service for streaming sports and the obvious frontrunner if you’re looking for bilingual programming. FuboTV offers various add-on packages, like Fubo Latino and Fubo Português, that speak directly to Spanish-speaking audiences. (Here’s the complete FuboTV channels list.)
3) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
If you want to watch Santa Cruz vs. Rivera online via Sling TV, you’ll need either Sling Blue ($25 per month) or Sling Orange + Blue ($40 per month). Those packages include local affiliates for Fox and NBC. Either way, you’ll get a great collection of channels, but you’ll want to consider upgrading if you want to ensure you get ESPN channels. Sling TV also offers a special Latino package for bilingual viewers. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.)
- Cost: Free
- Devices: Most web browsers
Locast, a free not-for-profit service, isn’t available everywhere, but if you live in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Boston, Dallas, or Washington, D.C., consider yourself lucky. The service lets you watch all of your local channels, including your Fox affiliate, for free from your web browser.
Santa Cruz vs. Rivera: Why it matters
Thanks to victories against top-tier opponents like Carl Frampton, Cristian Mijares, and Abner Mares twice, Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 knockouts) has built himself into the best featherweight in the world. He temporarily lost his footing in a close loss to Frampton in 2016, but he rebounded with a tight victory in a rematch six months later, and he’s continued at the top of the 126-pound division ever since, including a unanimous decision vs. Mares in their second fight eight months ago.
Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs), though, has plenty of experience. He’s never succeeded at the highest stages of the sport, and he’s lost two of his last three fights (to solid fighters in Joseph Diaz and Joet Gonzalez). But he could give Santa Cruz a tough test.
“This isn’t going to be an easy fight,” Santa Cruz said. “Rivera is tougher than people have given him credit for in the past. It motivates me to try to be the first to knock him out. If I have the opportunity for it, I’m going for it. Most important though, is to come out of there with the victory.”
Despite Santa Cruz’s respect for his opponent, there’s a reason why Rivera is a 16/1 underdog (you’d earn $1,600 if you wagered $100 on him to win and he pulls off the upset). It’s because Rivera has never shown he’s anywhere close to Santa Cruz’s class. Originally, Santa Cruz was supposed to face Miguel Flores, but last month, he suffered an ankle injury during training and had to be replaced by Rivera—who’s arguably a slightly better opponent anyway.
Either way, it’ll be Santa Cruz’s night to impress those who are tuning in to the Fox broadcast. He already has a compelling story. His father and trainer, Jose Santa Cruz, has been battling cancer, and the elder Santa Cruz’s fight has inspired his son.
“Sometimes when my dad is having tough days dealing with the cancer, I want to stay at home with him, but he tells me to go to the gym and train hard,” Leo Santa Cruz said at a press conference. “So I tell him that we’re going to work hard for him. We both motivate each other.”
He has another reason to find motivation: Rivera has never been knocked out in a fight. Santa Cruz would like to change that on Saturday.
Santa Cruz vs. Rivera live stream schedule
- Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera
- Omar Figueroa vs. John Molina
- Sebastian Fundora vs. Donnie Marshall
- Karlos Balderas vs. Jose Antonio Meza
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Willow, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.