PBC on ESPN Results: Leo Santa Cruz Wins by Decision, Ceja Stops Ruiz
By: William Holmes
The Staples Center in Los Angeles California was the host site for tonight’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN telecast. Two of Mexico’s best boxers in the featherweight division, Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, met in the main event of the night in a fight that many hoped will be the type of action packed fight that Mexican boxers are known for.
The first televised bout of the night was between Julio Cesar Ceja (29-1) and Hugo Ruiz (35-2) for the WBC Interim Junior Featherweight title.
Ruiz had the height and reach advantage and both boxers are known for their power. Ruiz opened up strong and was able to connect with his looping left hooks and a few sneeky uppercuts. Ruiz looked confident at the end of the first and that carried over to the second round.
Ruiz opened up the second round with a left hook right cross combination and was able to keep a good, safe distance. Ceja was able to land a few body shots, but Ruiz was doing well at landing his straight rights and stepping out of the way of the punches of Ceja.
Ruiz widened his lead in the third round when he connected with a hard left hook that sent Ceja down to the mat nearly on his face. He was able to get back to his feet and Ruiz went wildly after him, but Ceja was able to survive the round.
Ceja was fully recovered by the start of the fourth round and appeared to have taken the first knockdown in his career well. Ruiz landed more punches in the fourth round, but Ceja was resilent in coming forward and ended the round with a flurry of his own.
Ruiz started off the fifth round by out jabbing his opponent, but Ceja landed with a thudding left hook that sent Ruiz down violently with the back of his head smacking the back of the mat. Ceja jumped on Ruiz when he got back to his feet and sent Ruiz down again with a combination by the corner.
The referee immediately jumped in and rightly waived off the fight. Julio Cesar Ceja comes off the mat to win by TKO at 2:34 of the fifth round.
The next bout of the night was a swing bout in the lightweight division between undefeated amateur standout Alejandro Luna (18-0) and Sergio Lopez (18-9-1).
The difference in talent between Luna and Lopez was immediately apparent as he controlled the first two rounds and pressed the action to the veteran. Luna dominated from start to finish, and unloaded a vicious combination in the fourth round and forced the referee to stop the fight.
The official time of the stoppage was 034 of the fourth round.
Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1) and Abner Mares (29-1-1) met in the main event of the night in the featherweight division.
This was a fight that’s been building with anticipation for several years and the action did not disappoint.
Mares started off the fight by rushing in at Santa Cruz and attempted to smother him and catch him by surprise early on. He was effective with his body shots and was able to land some shots upstairs, but Santa Cruz did complain about some shots landing behind the head.
Both boxers landed hard shots in the first round, but Mares’ activity was greater than that of Santa Cruz.
The high intensity action continued in the second round with Mares landing body shots and pressing the action. Santa Cruz however began to turn the tied by landing a large number of jabs and his combinations were moving Mares backwards.
Santa Cruz did a good job at keeping a good distance in the third round and was able to be effective with his reach. He was able to land combinations and mix in some upper cuts, but Mares fired back when challenged. An accidental head butt caused a small cut on Mares in the third round, and they ended the round with a ferocious exchange.
Santa Cruz pressed forward in the fourth round and walked through the body shots of Mares. Santa Cruz had a heavy jab, and his activity was wearing Mares down by the fifth round. Mares was getting wild by the sixth round and by the seventh round Leo Santa Cruz was averaging 84 punches a round and Mares was averaging 72.
Santa Cruz and Mares both landed heavy combination in the eighth round but Mares was getting the worse of it. Santa Cruz ended the ninth round strong and Mares hurt, and his best round of the night was in the tenth round as Mares face was badly showing the wear and tear of the night.
Both boxers left everything in the ring in the final two rounds, but Santa Cruz was landing the heavier punches and did very well when he kept a safe range.
At the end of the fight Santa Cruz had thrown 1057 punches and Mares had thrown 980.
The judges scored the bout 117-111 Santa Cruz, 114-114 Draw, and 117-111 for Santa Cruz.