By Chris Cella
Live from Carson, California, Showtime Boxing delivered another exciting night of championship bouts, beginning first with one of the most exciting fighters in the game, Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KO) going to battle with Victor Terrazas (37-3-1, 21 KO).
The bout was Terrazas’ first title defense since capturing the WBC Super Bantamweight Title in April of this year, and both pugilists came out on a mission looking to make a statement within the first round. Despite Terrazas’ best efforts to exchange with Santa Cruz, he caught more than a handful of left hooks and uppercuts, resulting in his eye nearly being shut in the second round.
Santa Cruz continued with the pressure to start the third, and sent Terrazas down to the canvas twice more before the fight was stopped due to Terrazas’ inability to see out of his shut right eye.
Adding another belt to his collection, Santa Cruz showed that he is continuing to get stronger fight after fight. The victor mentioned in his post-fight interview that he plans on staying at Super Bantamweight for a few fights before moving up in weight again.
This pre-fight set the stage for the highly anticipated WBC Featherweight Title fight between undefeated Abner Mares (26-0-1, 14 KO) putting his title on the line against former champion and ring veteran Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KO).
Mares came into this fight a heavy favorite following six consecutive victories over quality fighters, and he appeared poised and in control through the first minute of the first round.
The taller Gonzalez seemed to be tentative and rarely used his jab, allowing Mares to get off multiple punch combinations.
But as it looked like Mares was finding his rhythm and causing Gonzalez to divert from his plan of action, Gonzalez connected on a lethal left hook which sent Mares to the canvas hard. The champion got to his feet, however, and assured referee Jack Reiss that he was able to continue.
Gonzalez immediately showed his experience as a belt holder and smothered Mares, launching an assortment of punches which again resulted in Mares being sent to the floor, and leading to the fight being called to a halt with 5 seconds remaining in the first round.
Pulling off the huge upset and dethroning one of the sport’s top 5 pound for pound fighters, Gonzalez showed that he still has a lot of fight left in him.
For Leo Santa Cruz, tonight will be all about celebrating and getting another opponent to step forward and go to battle for his title; for Mares, it will be about overcoming the first loss of his career, regaining his confidence and composure, and working his way back to the championship status he had worked so hard to achieve.