By: William Holmes
Showtime will be broadcasting from one of Golden Boy Promotions favorite spots to put on a fight in Carson, California on Saturday night as Abner Mares takes on Jhonny Gonzalez for Mares’ WBC Featherweight Title and Leo Santa Cruz takes on Victor Terrazas for the WBC Junior Featherweight title.
It would seem that Mares and Santa Cruz are destined to face each other soon since they are close in weight and share the same promoter. Richard Schaefer has already indicated that this fight may happen in the future, but they first have to get past their respective opponents for that dream fight to happen.
The following is a preview of the two expected televised matchups.
Leo Santa Cruz (24-0) vs. Victor Terrazas (37-2-1); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
Santa Cruz will be fighting for the second time in the junior featherweight division and he’ll be fighting for a belt that Abner Mares used to hold. They have a similar height and reach but Terrazas has spent most of his career fighting in the junior featherweight and featherweight divisions while Santa Cruz is a relative new comer to the junior featherweight division.
Terrazas will certainly be a tough test for Santa Cruz. He’s five years his elder and has scored some major upsets in the past. He holds twenty one knockouts on his record but has only stopped two of his last five opponents.
He upset Fernando Montiel in November of 2011 by a razor thin decision and he beat the faded Cristian Mijares in April of this year to win the WBC belt. He has also defeated the likes of Nehomar Cermeno and Juan Ruiz. He has won eleven bouts in a row since he TKO defeat to Rendall Munroe in the United Kingdom in 2010.
Terrazas’ only other defeat was his professional debut in 2003.
Leo Santa Cruz is a heavily hyped prospect for good reason. He has stopped fourteen of his opponents including three of his last five fights. He has never tasted defeat and won a gold medal at the World Amateur Championships when he was only fifteen years old.
He’s been mowing down opponents since 2006 and he has the distinction of fighting on network television for CBS. This is a relatively new weight class for Santa Cruz so he may have some trouble adjusting to the weight and power. He has faced decent competition so far in his career. He’s defeated the likes of Alexander Munoz, Alberto Guevara, and Eric Morel.
He’s a pressure fighter that isn’t afraid to let his hands go. He’s the type of fighter that pleases the crowd with his aggression and willingness to trade.
He’s a legitimate budding superstar that will pass his next test with flying colors.
Abner Mares (26-0) vs. Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8); WBC Featherweight Title
Gonzalez is only four years older than Abner Mares, but in ring years he might be a decade or two older. Gonzalez has been fighting professionally since 1999 and has been inside the ring with some of the best fighters the lighter divisions has to offer.
Gonzalez is the underdog on Saturday night but he’s a very live underdog. He has forty six wins by KO or TKO including three of his last five victories. He will also have over a two inch height advantage and over a three inch reach advantage.
Mares only has fourteen knockouts on his record, which is only one third of the stoppages that Gonzalez has. Mares however, is not battle worn like Gonzalez is.
Gonzalez has been fighting in the featherweight division for quite some time now so he’ll be more adjusted to the weight than Mares. He’s been in the ring with some of the sports’ best and has defeated the likes of Elio Rojas, Rogers Mtagwa, Hozumi Hasegawa, Reynaldo Lopez, Fernando Montiel and Marc Johnson.
Four of his eight losses came very early in his career including two to Ricardo Vargas in 2002. He was also defeated by Israel Vazquez, Gerry Penalosa, Toshiaki Nishioka, and most recently Daniel Ponce De Leon.
He’s a veteran whose best years are behind him.
Abner Mares of course has been the talk of the super bantamweight division for a few years and has recently moved up to the featherweight division. He was previously calling out Nonito Donaire but Donaire’s loss to Rigondeaux has quashed any hopes of that fight being made a reality. Actually, the chances of that fight ever being made were slim to begin with since Golden Boy and Top Rank do not work together.
Mares has an extensive amateur background and competed for Mexico in the 2004 Olympics. Only one of his last five fights ended in a stoppage victory but his bouts are rarely, if ever, boring.
Even though he’s younger than Gonzalez he may have a more impressive list of defeated fighters on his resume. He stopped Daniel Ponce De Leon in his last bout, and De Leon recently defeated Gonzalez. He has also beaten Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. He did draw with Yonnhy Perez but Perez has not fought since losing to Darchinyan in 2011.
Mares ability to avoid damage will help him tremendously on Saturday. Gonzalez has power, but he has taken too much punishment at this point in his career to be a serious threat on Saturday.
One punch could lead to a major upset, but it’s unlikely that Mares will fail to shine on the big stage as the main event.