Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Victor Barros, Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night a rematch of the consensus fight of the year between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz will take place in Las Vegas for Frampton’s WBA Featherweight Title. This bout will take place at the MGM Grand and will be televised live on Showtime.
Last year’s match was a thrilling and close encounter between the two high volume punchers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and it could have been scored for either fighter. This is a rematch that most fans of boxing want to see.
Two other world title fights will be televised in support of the main event. Lee Selby will defend his IBF Featherweight Title against Jonathan Victor Barros on the opening bout of the Showtime Card. Mikey Garcia will compete against Dejan Zlaticanin for Zlaticanin’s WBC Lightweight Title in the co-main event of the night.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Lee Selby (23-1) vs. Jonathan Victor Barros (41-4-1); IBF Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be for the IBF Featherweight Title, and it seems likely that the winner of this bout will go on to face the winner of the main event between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
Lee Selby, the current IBF Champion, isn’t known for his power and has only stopped 8 of his opponents. Barros has stopped twenty two of his opponents, but also has one TKO loss.
Selby will be giving up an half inch in height and about an inch in reach on Saturday. However, he will be three years younger than Barros and has roughly half the professional fights of Barros.
Neither boxer has been very active in the past two years. They both only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Barros has shown a pattern of losing when he takes a step up in competition. Boxers such as Mikey Garcia, Juan Carlos Salgado, Celestino Caballero, and Yuriorkis Gamboa have defeated him. Barros has defeated the likes of Satoshi Hosono, Celestino Caballero, Miguel Roman, and Irving Berry.
Selby’s lone loss was early on in his career, by points, to Sami Mouneimne. He has defeated the likes of Fernando Montiel, Evgeny Gradovich, Joel Bunker, and Ryan Walsh.
Selby is the favorite going into the match and for good reason. Barros is a good boxer, but nothing more than a gatekeeper for rising stars such as Selby. Expect Selby to win by decision.
Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0) vs. Mikey Garcia (35-0); WBC Lightweight Title
Mikey Garcia was once considered one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world. But his stock has diminished somewhat since he made the decision to leave Top Rank Promotions and sign with Al Haymon. He lost several years of activity due to his decision.
Dejan Zlaticanin is the current WBC Lightweight Champion and is the first person from Montenegro to win a world title in boxing.
Zlaticanin will be three years older than Mikey Garcia and he will also be giving up three inches in height and reach to Garcia. Garcia also has more power in his punches, as he has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Zlaticanin has only stopped fifteen of his opponents.
Zlaticanin, a southpaw, won the world title by defeating Franklin Mamani in June of 2016 in Verona, New York at the Turning Stone Casino. He has also beaten the likes of Ivan Redkach, Ricky Burns, and Petr Petrov.
The biggest knock against Zlaticanin is that he only fought once in 2015 and in 2016.
Garcia has been even more inactive than Zlaticanin. He fought once in 2014 and once in 2016 and had no fights in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Elio Rojas, Juan Carlos Burgos, Roman Martinez, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Bernabe Concepcion.
Garcia also has the edge in amateur experience, as he was a medalist in several national amateur competitions in the United States.
Zlaticanin will likely suffer the first defeat of his career on Saturday. Garcia looked sensational in his last bout and shook off the ring rust quite quickly.
Carl Frampton (23-0) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1); WBA Featherweight Title
Frampton won the WBA Super World Featherweight Title by defeating Leo Santa Cruz by majority decision at the Barclays Center in July of 2016. Frampton was an underdog in their last match, but the odds now favor Frampton.
Carl Frampton is one year older then Leo Santa Cruz and is two and a half inches smaller and wil be giving up seven inches in reach.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Frampton fought twice in 2015 and in 2016 while Santa Cruz fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Santa Cruz is known for being a volume puncher and has more stoppage victories than Frampton. Santa Cruz has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Frampton has only stopped fourteen of his opponents.
They both have good amateur backgrounds. Frampton was an Irish National Champion and a Silver Medalist in the EU Championships. Santa Cruz won the Silver Medal in the US National Amateur Championships.
Frampton has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg, Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., Chris Avalos, Kiko Martinez, and Jeremy Parodi.
Santa Cruz’s lone loss was to Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Jesus Ruiz, Manuel Roman, Cristian Mijares, Cesar Seda, Victor Terrazas, and Eric Morel.
The one difference between this fight and their last fight that may work in Santa Cruz’s favor is the fact that this fight is taking place in Las Vegas, which has a much larger Mexican population than Brooklyn, New York. This may give Santa Cruz the “home field” advantage on Saturday night.
However, this bout is expected to be exciting and a close one, like their last bout. Just don’t be surprised if the Mexican fans in attendance make a big enough difference for Santa Cruz to pull out the victory on Saturday and possible force a third fight.