By Chris Cella
More often than not in boxing, and seemingly especially on major fights, the preceding bouts leading up to the championship of the world have not been anything to get exciting over. So in essence, you end up paying between $40-$50 for one fight, some of which have only lasted a few rounds.
Well Saturday night when Floyd Mayweather Jr. squares off against Robert Guerrero in Mayday, shown live on Showtime PPV for $59.99, fans can be assured that they will get their money’s worth with the action packed undercard.
One of the sport’s most exciting—and still somewhat unknown—stars will be IBF Bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 KO) going to battle against Alexander Munoz (36-4, 28 KO) for the vacant USBA Super Bantamweight title. In 2012 Santa Cruz really exploded onto the mainstream boxing scene and made a name for himself winning five bouts within the calendar year, and showed off his hard punching and unrelenting attack to fans around the world. At 24-years-old the young Mexican fighter is quickly on the rise to finding himself throwing hands with one of the division’s top dogs if he can impressively roll through Munoz Saturday night.
Munoz is a former WBA Super Flyweight titlist, and fought for the first time last November following a near two-year layoff. He defeated a tomato can in his first fight back, and will be making a huge return to action against the dangerous Santa Cruz; but throughout his 40-fight career Munoz has never been stopped, so the young Mexican will have his work out for him and may be in for a 10-round fight.
Santa Cruz’s power and relentlessness may be too much for Munoz; rather than seeking a one-punch knockout and leaving himself vulnerable for the counter, Santa Cruz has punished opponents by hurting them throughout each round, and if he is able to execute his attack against Munoz Saturday night, then it is likely that the fight won’t go past five rounds.
For the WBC Featherweight Title champion Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KO) will put his belt on the line against undefeated WBC Super Bantamweight titlist Abner Mares (25-0, 13 KO). A major focal point of Ponce De Leon’s career happened in 2011 when he battled Adrien Broner and in a super featherweight bout and lost a decision in which many thought he had won. Last year he went 3-0 as a featherweight and looks more comfortable and stronger than his opponents at the new weight.
Mares has dominated the bantamweight and super bantamweight division, and will be making his first appearance as a featherweight as he looks to continue his rise. He has done well against big punchers as he uses his elusiveness and ability to counterpunch to keep his opponents off their game and unable to set up the big attack.
Ponce De Leon is a gamed opponent, and will be in for a heavy test against the undefeated champion. He will show if he has what it takes to still bang with the top fighters out there, or if he is past his prime of fighting in world championship bouts.
The last of the undercard fights that will get fans ready for Mayweather-Guerrero is a battle between undefeated middleweight J’Leon Love (15-0, 8 KO) taking on Gabe Rosado (21-6, 13 KO).
A Mayweather protégé, many question if Love is as good as his record indicates, or if his fights are simply chosen well to keep him protected. The boxing world will find out against Rosado, who leaves it in the ring each and every time out.
Rosado is coming off a seven round beating at the hands of Gennady Golovkin in January, and though he showed his heart through the fight, he also showed his ability to stand there and get hit. If Love is able to throw a lot of punches through the fight, he has a good chance of landing a strong percentage. Rosado needs to win this fight to show that he is a contender, and not just a pretender. It is one thing to be a warrior and fight your heart out, but also another thing to come close to the big dance and fail to rise to the occasion. His performance against Love will be indicative if he is ready to be a world contender or simply an opponent and a stepping stone.
All of the pressure is on Love, who needs to show he is ready to face stronger competition, as it will only get tougher from this point on as he continues his quest to fight for a world title.
The action is going to be at an all-time high Saturday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, as this is one of the best undercards boxing has produced in quite some time.
Action gets underway at 9 p.m. live on Showtime PPV.