Santa Cruz Cruises On Wilder-Ortiz Card
By: Sean Crose
Saturday night’s pay per view card courtesy of Fox and PBC started with a scheduled 12 round super featherweight affair at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The 22-2-3 Eduardo Ramirez met the 15-0-1 Leduan Barthelemy for the second time after battling to a draw in 2017. The opening round saw each man tossing off punches, but nothing of significance occurred. By round three, however, Ramirez began to land hard to Barthelemy’s head. Barthelemy was unable to make it through the fourth. Although he gamely got up from a knockdown the referee wisely prevented Barthelemy from taking more damage by stopping the bout.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Next up, the WBA world super bantamweight title was at stake, as the 20-0 Brandon Figueroa battled the 32-4 Julio Ceja. Of note was the fact that Ceja weighed in on Friday a full four and a half pounds over the super bantamweight limit. Still, team Figueroa agreed to take the fight. The first round saw good body work from Figueroa. The second saw Figueroa continue to land to the body, while Ceja went to the head. The opening half of the fight went on to be a neck and neck affair, with both men landing frightening shots.
By the seventh, the two men were still slugging away. Ceja was the more active fighter in the eighth. From the ninth through the eleventh, Ceja employed devastating body work. Figueroa fought gamely, but Ceja seemed to be carrying the momentum. With that in mind, a thoroughly determined Figueroa took the twelfth and final round. The judges ultimately ruled the fight a draw.
A few minutes later, Leo Santa Cruz entered the ring after a considerable absence to face Miguel Flores for the WBA super featherweight The first round was essentially a feeling out affair. The second round saw Santa Cruz patiently stalk his man. Flores was certainly in the fight, however. In the third it was obvious that Santa Cruz was the quicker of the two when it came to throwing a punch. Santa Cruz had also taken to stalking his man about the ring. Flores was able to have his moments in round four. He was able to continue having moments in the fifth. This was not a one sided fight as some may have expected. Things remained high energy in the sixth.
The seventh was competitive, as was the eighth…though a point was taken from Flores for repeated holding. The ninth showcased the fact that, although the fight was competitive, Santa Cruz was the more effective puncher. Still, Santa Cruz suffered a sharp cut in the tenth. That cut didn’t effect Santa Cruz in the eleventh, though. Nor did it effect Santa Cruz in the 12th. The popular fighter was awarded a unanimous decision win for his efforts.
Santa Cruz improved his record to 37-1-1, while Flores fell to 24-3.
PBC on Fox Results: Santa Cruz Defeats Rivera, Figueroa Defeats Molina
By: Hans Themistode
WBA Super Featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) put on a dominant performance as he completely outclassed Rafael Rivera (26-3-2, 17 KOs) tonight.
In the opening round it seemed as though Rivera was going to make the champion work for his victory. Rivera connected with several shots which caught the attention of the champion. It was as if Rivera was saying this won’t be an easy night. From there however it became one way traffic as Santa Cruz dominated.
The champion hit his opponent whenever he wanted and mostly stayed out of harm’s way. Rivera was game and continued to throw heavy shots but it was clear that he was just simply overmatched tonight. All three judges were in agreement as they gave Rivera just one round while scoring the contest 119-109.
Although the main event turned into a contest that was never in doubt, the co feature was anything but.
John Molina Jr (30-8, 24 KOs) lost a fairly wide decision to Omar Figueroa Jr (28-0-1, 19 KOs). The final scores of the bout were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93. The large margin of victory was not indicative of what actually happened during the contest.
Things started off as an actual boxing match between the two with Molina Jr trying to use his reach to his advantage while Figueroa Jr was looking to counter. The third round is where we really saw both men pick it up and begin the slugfest that we all were expecting.
The sixth round gave us a ton of action as Figueroa Jr seemed to shake up Molina Jr with a right hand. The round ended with both men trading plenty of punches. The rest of the contest saw both men land plenty of hard shots as it turned into a nip and tuck affair. Figueroa Jr managed to escape with his hands raised but the scorecards by all account should have been much closer.
With both fighters suffering long spells of inactivity they both showed tonight that they are ready to put that behind them and challenge the best at the Welterweight division.
Media Workout Quotes: Santa Cruz vs. Rivera
Fighters competing on Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes event took part in a media workout Wednesday as they near their respective showdowns this Saturday night at Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now, and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Photo Credit Luis Mejia/TGB Promotions
Wednesday’s workout featured Mexican contender Rafael Rivera, who will battle WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz in the main event.
Also working out Wednesday at City of Angels Boxing Club were unbeaten former champion Omar Figueroa and hard-hitting John Molina Jr., who battle in super lightweight action, and unbeaten prospect Donnie Marshall, who faces fellow-unbeaten Sebastian Fundora in a super welterweight bout that kicks off televised coverage at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Unbeaten 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas was also in attendance, as he competes in a TV swing bout.
The fighters will go face-to-face at a press conference on Thursday that will feature former two-time world champion and Southern California favorite Fernando Vargas. Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday:
“When I got this opportunity, I didn’t think twice. I was training and ready and I wanted this challenge. I’m here to make the most of it.
“Like I always say to my fans, be ready for a great fight. I’m looking to make this very exciting and interesting. The belt is coming back with me to Tijuana.
“I never look for the knockout, but I’ve still been able to get them. I’m ready, so I hope he’s also ready to give the fans a great fight.
“This is a big challenge for me. I’m coming for that world title. I want to prove how good I am and become a world champion for my fans in Tijuana.
“I love to face the best fighters out there. Leo is a fighter who throws a lot of punches. We’ve seen it and we’ve studied it. But I don’t think he’s very fast. I’m faster than he is and I have to take advantage of that. I have to counter him when he comes in and do my job.”
“I’m looking to come back strong against Molina. My style is always to go in there for the knockout and give the fans a great show. The sooner we get him out of there, the better.
“We know that John Molina is a tough fighter. He’s been in there with some of the best in the world and he’s given them problems. We expect him to bring a great fight.
“We’ve seen Molina box before and make things difficult for certain fighters. I’m going to try to make the fight my style of fight and we’ll see if he obliges. Once he feels the power, he might choose to box.
“I don’t think this goes past six rounds. I’m confident about that. We’re going to be ready for anything Molina brings.
“I’ve been doing a lot of healing physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m looking to show on Saturday that I’ve got everything together.”
JOHN MOLINA JR.
“I feel excited and confident. Maybe overconfident, but I am ready. We did our job in the gym and now we are ready for the fight.
“I have to expect the best version of Omar Figueroa. He is a smart kid. I don’t know if he is trying to entice me into a war right away. I don’t know what his game plan is, but we will find out on Saturday.
“Fans need to tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes February 16. This is going to be a war and I believe we’re going to steal the show.
“This isn’t my first go around against a Joel Diaz-trained fighter. I did it before with Ruslan Provodnikov and now it is my job to beat Figueroa.
“I am not affected by being considered the underdog. Every one of my fights, fans make money. I think Provodnikov I was 11-1. When you become a veteran in the sport, you stop worrying about stuff like that. Talk is cheap.
“There is a lot at stake for me. I don’t feel pressure, but there is a lot at stake. Every fight of my career I have something to prove and Saturday is no different.”
“This is my first big opportunity and I’m ready to take full advantage. I’m going to show everybody where I’m at.
“I’m going to take it as it comes in the ring. We have a game plan, but I’m a creator in the ring. I create on the go. I’ll fit in where I can and go with the flow of the fight.
“The only challenge I see is his height. He’s obviously very tall at six-foot seven-inches. We know what we have to do to break him down. I don’t even really see the height as a challenge, because I spar with heavyweights all the time.
“I’m 10-0, but I only started boxing when I was 20, about 10 years ago. I don’t have the time like young prospects who want to play around, I want to fight any and everybody I can right now.”
“I feel excited and anxious to get back in the ring. I’m ready physically and mentally. I know that my opponent won’t be ready for the heat I’m going to throw at him.
“This year I’m looking to be busy. I want to be back in the ring in April if everything goes well on Saturday. After this fight I’m going to move to Los Angeles and add trainer Roberto Alcazar to my team. He’s had a lot of experience in big fights and I think he’s going to be a great help. I can really understand clearly what he’s trying to teach me.
“I’m going to show everyone that I’m the real deal once again. I’m going to prove why these fighters can’t make it through a fight with me. This year is all business for me.”
PBC Results: Santa Cruz and Charlo Entertain and Win
By: Ken Hissner
TG Promotions and Ringstar Sports with Showtime, promoted two world championship fights at the Staples Center in L.A., CA, Saturday.
In a rematch in the Main Event WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Mexico’s Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz, 35-1-1 (19), of Rosemead, CA, won a majority decision over WBA World Featherweight champion Abner Mares, 31-3-1 (15), of Montebello, CA, over 12 rounds of action!
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round both fighters opened up on one another. The taller Santa Cruz is using a jab setting up Mares. The jab of Mares mostly falls short. Cruz landed a triple jab but got countered by a right uppercut to the chin from Mares. It was a close round. In the second round both fighters continue to throw punches yet show respect for one another by touching gloves when a infraction happens. Mares in close seemed to have an advantage being the shorter of the two.
In the third round Mares landed a chopping right to the head causing Santa Cruz to come right back at him. Santa Cruz landed a left hook to the chin of Mares midway through the round. Santa Cruz landed a solid right to the head of Mares. Mares twice countered a Santa Cruz miss with an overhand right to the chin.
In the fourth round Santa Cruz keeping his hands high blocks most of the punches from Mares. Santa Cruz landed a good right to the head but was countered with a combination to the head from Mares. Both fighters were throwing punches up to the bell.
In the fifth round Santa Cruz continues to use his longer reach landing with a right to the chin of Mares. Santa Cruz landed a double jab followed by a right to the chin of Mares. In the sixth round Santa Cruz lands and soon as he stops throwing Mares comes back countering Santa Cruz. At the bell both fighters were throwing punches as Referee Thomas Taylor stepped in.
In the seventh round Santa Cruz landed an overhand right to the head of Mares. Just over a minute left in the round both fighters landed right hands to the head of one another. Mares countered with three punches to the body. Once again both were throwing punches right up to the bell. In the eighth round Mares landed a good left hook to the chin of Santa Cruz. Mares kept backing Santa Cruz up. Santa Cruz was cut over the left eye due to a clash of heads. At the bell Mares landed a left hook to the head of Santa Cruz.
In the ninth round Mares came inside landing a flurry of punches. Santa Cruz landed a looping right to the head of Mares. Mares was warned about hitting behind the head. Mares seemed to be the busier of the two inside. In the tenth round Mares attacked the body of Santa Cruz well. Both throwing punches at the bell with the last one a left hook from Mares on the back of the head of Santa Cruz. Referee Taylor warned Mares about the late hit.
In the eleventh round Mares went to the body but got countered by a right uppercut from Santa Cruz. With just over a minute left in the round both were landing punches. Both were throwing punches at the bell. In the twelfth and final round they embraced one another then opened up on each other. Mares was warned for hitting behind the head. Both were landing a flurry of body punches. The crowd was on their feet in appreciation of these two warriors who gave everything they had.
Judge Danesco 115-113, Weisfeld 116-112 and Young 117-111 while this writer has it 116-112.
“We may have not thrown as many punches as in the first fight but thank God I did my best. I like to please the crowd and that is who I fight for. I want Gary Russell or whoever to unify the titles,” said Santa Cruz. Mares said “I fight for you guy’s (the crowd). Leo is a great fighter and I do not want to question the judges. Santa Cruz is No. 1, I take my hat off to him and let’s do it again,” said Mares.
WBC World Super Welterweight champion, Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo, 31-0 (15), of Houston, TX, defended his title with a majority decision over the former IBF World Super Welterweight champion southpaw Austin “No Doubt” Trout, 31-5 (17), of Las Cruces, NM, over 12 rounds.
In the first round the southpaw Trout used his jab effectively. Charlo finally landed a solid right hand to the chin one minute into the fight. Charlo hurt Trout. In the second round Trout countered with a combination to the head of Charlo. With a minute left in the round Charlo landed a lead straight right to the head of Trout. Charlo dropped Trout or was it a slip? Referee Jack Reis called it a knockdown.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the third and fourth rounds Charlo kept the pressure on Trout who was doing his best to counter him. In the fifth round there was a clash of heads. Charlo continued staying ahead of Trout. In the sixth round Trout hit Charlo with a right hook off his shoulder onto the back of his head following with a left spinning him completely around. Trout landed a right hook to the head of Charlo who complained to the referee it was on the back of his head.
In the seventh round Trout landed a right uppercut to the chin of Charlo and came back with another right hook followed by a short left to the chin of Charlo. Under a minute left in the round Trout landed a combination to the head of Charlo having him in a neutral corner. In the eighth round Trout used his jab keeping Charlo at bay and followed at times with a counter left to the chin of Charlo.
In the ninth round Charlo landed a left hook to the head of Trout dropping him. Trout complained of the punch hitting him on the back of the head. Referee Reis disagreed giving him the 8 count. Under a minute Charlo hurt Trout with a right to the chin. Trout would come back with a 3-punch combination to the head and body of Charlo. In the tenth round Trout landed a solid left to the head of Charlo. Trout had Charlo on the defense with half a dozen punches. Charlo hit Trout with a left hook causing his head to go outside the ropes while Charlo hit him with a right to the head. Referee Reis warned Charlo about hitting him while his head was outside the ropes.
In the eleventh round Trout landed a lead left uppercut to the chin of Charlo. Trout realizing with the two knockdowns he needed a knockout. He did his best but his best was not enough. In the twelfth and final round Trout landed a 3-punch combination to the head of Charlo. Trout is keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. Charlo missed with a right while Trout countered with a left to the head of Charlo. Charlo just under a minute left in the fight landed a lead straight right to the chin of Trout. Trout landed a short left uppercut while inside with half a minute left in the bout. Charlo’s knockout streak was stopped by going the distance in this fight.
Judge’s scores were 113-113, 115-111, 118-108 while this writer had it 114-112 due to the two knockdowns. “If Hurd stands in front of me I will be the unified champion. Trout fought to survive,” said Charlo. “Both Charlo’s (being whom he fought both) were helluva fighters. I lost tonight due to the knockdowns but I am not done yet,” said Trout.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Cruz vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Trout
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will rematch from a 2015 fight that featured more than 2000 total punches thrown. This rematch will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be televised live on Showtime. Santa Cruz and Mares will be fighting for Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
The co-main event of the night will be an intriguing bout between the rising Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout, who is best known for defeating Miguel Cotto. This bout will be for Charlo’s WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The undercard is packed with fights such as Karlos Balderas and Pedo Lopez in the junior lightweight division, Arnold Alejandro and Elliot Brown in the Featherweight Division, Jose Balderas and Luis Montellano in the Junior Featherweight division, and Ivan Redkach and Brian Jones in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts.
Jermell Charlo (30-0) vs. Austin Trout (31-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
The opening bout will be for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.
Trout had previously faced Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, and came up short. Charlo is four years younger than Trout and will have about an inch and a half height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
They both have decent power, Charlo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Trout has stopped seventeen. Trout has only fought once in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Charlo fought twice in 2017, once in 2016. Trout has struggled recently and went 2-2 the past four fights, Charlo has been on a tear and has never tasted defeated and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Both boxers had a pretty good amateur career. Charlo was a Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist and Trout was a US Amateur Gold Medalist.
Charlo has defeated the likes of Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, and Gabriel Rosado. Trout has defeated the likes of Joey Hernandez, Daniel Dawson, Miguel Cotto, and Delvin Rodriguez. He has losses to Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd.
Unfortunately for Trout the Charlo brothers are very close and will likely be talking about how to defeat Austin Trout. Trout’s biggest victory of his career was against Miguel Cotto and a win against Charlo might be considered an even bigger upset, but his lack of activity the past three years plus his recent struggles against high level competition makes those prospects unlikely.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
The first bout between Santa Cruz and Mares was an action packed bout with an abnormally high number of punches. Santa Cruz won a close decision when they first fought and Mares has been itching for a rematch ever since.
Santa Cruz is three years younger than Mares. He also has a three inch height and a three inch reach advantage. He will be the obvious bigger man inside the ring.
Both boxers are known for their ability to throw a high volume of punches and swarm their opponents. But Santa Cruz has been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Mares only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur career. Santa Cruz won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics and Mares competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Santa Cruz has a slight edge in power. He has nineteen stoppage victories while Mares only has fifteen.
Mares has two losses, but was stopped in one of those losses, a mild upset to Jhonny Gonzalez.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos, Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Cesar Seda, Eric Morel, and Cristian Mijares. His lone loss was to Carl Frampton, and it was a loss he later avenged.
Mares has defeated the likes of Andres Gutierrez, Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. His losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz, and he hopes to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday.
Unfortuntely for Mares he’s still fighting a bigger man who’s in the middle of his athletic prime, while Mares is hitting the age that boxers tend to show signs of slipping.
It seems likely that Santa Cruz will get a more convincing victory on Saturday night.
Abner Mares: “It’s Just A Matter Of The Best Facing The Best”
By: Sean Crose
“Making weight sucks,” Abner Mares tells me. “But you’ve got to have professionalism.” Professionalism will certainly be in order when the California based fighter has a rematch of his terrific 2015 bout against Leo Santa Cruz (airing live on Showtime June 9th from the Staples Center in Los Angeles). Mares lost on the cards the first time around, but has had two impressive wins since that time, against Jesus Cuellar and Andres Gutierrez respectively. Mares makes it clear that a fighter can lose support when he loses a fight. “The only way to really get them back,” he says, “is by impressing.” Mares has certainly impressed the right people over the past few years. The Santa Cruz rematch will be for the WBA super world featherweight title.
“I would hope so,” he says when I ask if he’s going to change his game plan for Santa Cruz this time around. “Of course, going in, I have to make a lot of changes.” Still, the 32-2-1Californain knows that a fight between he and Santa Cruz certainly isn’t going to be a boring affair. “We both have that style that’s unbreakable,” Mares says of he and his foe. “It’s difficult not to make it exciting.” As for Santa Cruz himself, Mares is generous. “He seems like a great person,” he says of his opponent, adding that the fight is “nothing personnel…it’s just a matter of the best facing the best.” As for the rumor that the winner of Santa Cruz-Mares II will move on to face Carl Frampton, Mares makes it clear that such things aren’t on his mind. “I’m not thinking of that,” he says.
As fight date nears, Mares is confident. “I have half the fight won already,” he says, “because I have a great corner.” And that corner comes courtesy of one Robert Garcia, former titlist turned esteemed trainer. A Garcia camp has a family feel to it, something Mares appreciates. “There’s always that respect,” he says of the way Garcia does things. “When there’s no respect, you don’t learn anything.” To Mares, boxing is something that regularly calls for growth, even when one has reached the heights he himself has. “It’s been tremendous,” he says. “You never stop learning with him (Garcia).”
Still, boxing can also be a struggle. “We’re at that state right now where we’re just cutting weight,” he states. Yet Mares also makes it clear that the struggle is worth it. “Walking into that ring…” he says thoughtfully, clearly still impacted by the rush it gives him after so many professional fights. “Boxing is my life,” he states, “and boxing is all I know what to do.” That doesn’t mean the man doesn’t have side projects, though. Promoting a fight of the magnitude of Santa Cruz-Mares II can be a job in its own right. There’s throwing the opening pitch at a Dodgers’ game, after all. “It was great,” he says of the experience. “I hadn’t thrown a baseball in years.” Indeed, Mares admits he’s “amazed” at how well he was able to throw a burner.
The fighter has also been spending time doing charitable work with young people. “I do that a lot,” he says. Mares recently hosted “Champions Day” for the LA Sheriff’s Department. “I’ve been part of this youth program for four years or more already,” he tells me. “A lot of people forget where they came from. I don’t.” Conversely, Mares isn’t forgetting where he wants to go. He’ll be the toast of boxing if bests Santa Cruz in their second go round, something he’s clearly confident of doing. The man is riding high right now (he admits to being “really pleased” with the work he did the last time he was in the ring). He’ll be riding even higher if his hand is raised in victory June 9th at LA’s Staple Center.
PBC on FOX Results: Lopez Dominates Cruz, Dirrell Puts on a Clinic
By Eric Lunger
Tonight on FOX, Premier Boxing Champions presented a triple-header from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX. In a classic crossroads matchup, veteran Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez took on undefeated prospect Miguel Cruz of Puerto Rico in a ten-round welterweight clash. Coming off a productive training camp with Robert Garcia, Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) was looking to jump start a career that had begun to slip sideways, while undefeated prospect Miguel Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs), fighting in his fourth ten-rounder, was looking to make a statement in the glamorous and deep 147-pound division.
The first round was a professional, exploratory round, with both fighters doing some reconnaissance by jab. Lopez began to push the action in the second, but Cruz countered accurately. Cruz fights with a classic high guard, and he used his jab effectively, but Lopez landed some good, short left hooks.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
In the third, Lopez continued to be the aggressor, and though he did not have much success getting through Cruz’s defense, it was the kind of aggressive round that can sway a judge. Lopez found a new gear in the fourth, landing better shots and starting to take control of the fight. As the middle rounds ticked by, Lopez found his rhythm, getting inside Cruz’s jab, while Lopez was unable to disrupt the Riverside fighter’s attack. Cruz also lost a point on a low blow, after two warnings.
The sixth round opened with another point deduction for a low blow, as Cruz was trying to answer back by going to the body. Lopez went on to dominate the round, while Cruz seemed unable to adjust his game plan at all. The Puerto Rican fighter began to raise his activity level in the seventh, but Lopez continued to apply pressure and to land effect shots from a variety of angles. The eighth and ninth rounds were more of the same, as Lopez continued to push, and Cruz could not mount an effective counter to Lopez’s continual pressure.
In the final frame, Cruz showed some desperation, but Lopez dug deep, and confidently continued to attack. Overall, it was an impressive performance by Lopez, who earned the unanimous decision: 99-89, 99-89, and 98-90.
In the co-feature, former middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 KOs) looked to continue his climb back into contention in the 168-pound weight class. His opponent, El Paso native Abraham Han (26-3-1, 16 KOs) came into the bout riding a three-fight win streak, but Dirrell marked a significant step up in class.
In the first round, Dirrell used his jab to find the range, catching Han with a couple of solid rights. Han fought off his back foot, looking to counter, but he seemed to let Dirrell find the range too easily, at least in my view. Dirrell ended the round with a clubbing right hand on the side of Han’s head, dropping the hometown fighter at the bell.
Han looked sloppy to start the second, while Dirrell calmly and patiently probed for an opening. In the third, Dirrell continued to stand in the middle of the ring, controlling the fight with his jab. Han did little to initiate, with Dirrell at one point taunting his opponent to do something. Dirrell presented a study in efficiency: he lands clean shots and takes almost no risks. Han flurried at the end of the round, but it was all show.
In the fourth, after some trash-talking and taunting, the fighters tangled up and, as Han started to pull him to the canvass, Dirrell tackled Han. It certainly woke the crowd up, who booed Dirrell with great gusto. Dirrell continued to dominate the middle rounds, clinically taking Han apart.
In the eighth, both fighters were chattering, egging each other on. Han was tough, that’s clear, but the heavier and cleaner shots were landed, as they had been all night, by the man from Flint. The final two rounds were more of the same, as Dirrell used his considerable defensive skills to evade Han’s reckless offense while landing effective shots of his own. At the final bell, Dirrell did a back flip, a demonstration of fitness and lack of fatigue that the crowd failed to appreciate. The judges returned cards of 100-89, 99-83, 99-83, all for Dirrell.
The first televised bout of the evening featured undefeated Jorge Lara (29-0, 21 KOs) of Mexico against Claudio Marrero (22-2, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. The bout was brief and brutal. Both fighters came out throwing huge punches, but it was Marrero who landed a short but explosive left directly on Lara’s chin that dropped the Mexican to the canvass. Dazed and glassy-eyed, Lara was unable to get his feet under him. Marrero takes the KO win at thirty-three seconds of the first round.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results:Lamont Roach, Jr. & Orlando Cruz Battle to A Draw
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de Lay Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions with Miguel Cotto Promotions were at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot, San Juan, Puerto Rico, over ESPN2 Thursday night.
In the Main Event Super Featherweight Lamont Roach, Jr., 16-0-1 (6), of Upper Marlboro, MD, and southpaw Orlando “El Olimpico” Cruz, 25-6-2 (13), of San Juan, PR, ended in a 10 round draw.
Photo Credit: Hector Santos Guia
In the first round after a slow start Roach landed a pair of rights to the head of Cruz backing him up several steps. Cruz landed a lead left to the head of Roach. In the second round Cruz landed a left uppercut to the chin of a ducking Roach. Roach landed a lead right to the chin of Cruz. Cruz landed an overhand left to the head of Roach. Just prior to the end of the round Roach rocked Cruz with a lead right to the chin.
In the third round Cruz countered with a pair of left’s to the chin of Roach. Roach is being told by his trainer to throw more punches as he is outworked by Cruz. In the fourth round Roach landed a lead right to the mid-section of Cruz and got countered with a straight left from Cruz to the chin of Roach. Cruz landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Roach. Cruz caused a bloody nose on Roach.
In the fifth round Roach countered with a solid right to the chin of Cruz. Roach landed a right to the chin of Cruz but got countered by a Cruz left to the chin. Cruz landed a good right hook to the chin of the oncoming Roach. In the sixth round Cruz was out working Roach before getting hit with a counter right to the chin. Cruz landed a solid right hook to the chin of Roach. Roach landed a wicked right hand body shot to the mid-section of Cruz.
In the seventh round Cruz drove a pair of right uppercuts to the body of Roach. Cruz gets a cheer from the crowd after landing a jab followed by a left to the chin of Roach. Cruz landed a left to the chin of Roach. In the eighth round Roach landed a lead right to the chin of Cruz. Cruz came back landing three overhand lefts to the head of Roach.
In the ninth round Cruz landed a combination to the head of Roach. Roach landed a solid left hook followed by a right to the chin of Cruz buckling his knees and falling to the canvas as he backed up but the referee called it a slip. In the tenth and final round Roach lands a lead right to the chin of Cruz twice. Cruz comes back with a lead left to the chin of Roach. Roach missed with a lead right but landed with his left to the head of Cruz.
Scores were 97-93 Roach, 96-94 Cruz and 95-95 with this writer 96-94 Cruz.
In the co-feature Super Featherweight Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez, 20-2-1 (14), of Carolina, PR, defeated Miguel Angel “Miguelito” Gonzalez, 22-4 (19), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MEX, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Gonzalez was cut over the left eye. He rushed in digging into the body of Lopez forcing him to the ropes. Left uppercuts to the body by Gonzalez had Lopez backed into the ropes as the round came to an end. In the second round Lopez was digging left hooks into the body of Gonzalez with one going low causing referee Robert Ramirez, Jr. to warn Lopez and again shortly there afterward. Gonzalez dug into the body but leaving himself open Lopez landed a straight right to the head of Gonzalez.
In the third round Gonzalez pushed Lopez against the ropes with a body attack. Lopez came back with a good left hook to the head of Gonzalez. Gonzalez came back with a left hook to the head of Lopez. Gonzalez lowers his head and digs to the body of Lopez. In the fourth round Gonzalez landed a flurry of body punches keeping Lopez on the defense with his back against the ropes. Both landed left hooks to the chin of one another.
In the fifth round Gonzalez dug into the body of Lopez who countered with a body flurry of his own. In the sixth round both boxers exchanged lead rights to the chin. Gonzalez drove Lopez into a neutral corner but got spun around with Lopez landing a flurry of punches. Backing up Lopez landed a solid left hook to the head of Gonzalez. Lopez ended the round the last ten seconds dancing away from Gonzalez.
In the seventh round Gonzalez backed Lopez into the ropes with a flurry of body punches ending with a solid left hook to the head of Lopez. Lopez countered well having his best round of the bout so far. In the eighth round Lopez turns to dirty tactics pushing Gonzalez with a straight arm into the ropes and laying on him but the referee warned Gonzalez for bending over. Lopez dances around the ring not looking to mix it up with the oncoming Gonzalez until the final seconds of the round landing a combination to the head.
In the ninth round Lopez continued to dance around the ring before stopping to counter with several punches to the head of Gonzalez throughout the round. In the tenth and final round Gonzalez missed with a wild right hand and got countered by a combination to the head from Lopez. Lopez continues to dance around the ring with Gonzalez asking him to fight. Gonzalez got Lopez into the ropes but got caught with a big right from Lopez on the chin near the end of the round. Lopez got away with too many fouls with warning from the ref.
The scores were 97-93, 98-91 and 99-91 for Lopez while this writer had it 95-95.
Middleweight 2012 Olympian Magdiel Cotto, 9-0 (7), of Comerio, PR, defeated Haitian Elie “Eli” Augustama, 6-8 (3), of Miami, FL, over 6.
In the first round Cotto landed a right cross to the chin of Augustama causing him to grab Cotto. The tall lanky Augustama dug a left hook to the body of Cotto. Cotto was the aggressor. In the second round Augustama dug a pair of right uppercuts to the mid-section of Cotto. Cotto landed a 3-Punch combination to the body and head of Augustama. Augustama stopped backing up and kept the fight in the middle of the ring landing jab’s and long rights to the body of Cotto who stayed in the counter punching mode.
In the third round Augustama continued to use his reach while back to moving around the ring. Cotto landed several overhand rights to the head of Augustama. Cotto pinned Augustama in a corner landing a flurry of unanswered punches. Augustama’s jab caused a cut under the left eye of Cotto. In the fourth round Augustama came out southpaw and pushing Cotto back with jabs. Cotto landed a left hook to the chin of Augustama causing him to go back several steps off balance. Augustama back to orthodox landed a left hook to the body of Cotto.
In the fifth round Augustama came out southpaw with Cotto driving him back to the ropes. A clash of head seemed to hurt Augustama more than Cotto. Back to orthodox Augustama got caught with a right hand to the head driving him into a neutral corner. Cotto walked right into a right to the head from Augustama while throwing a right of his own. In the sixth and final round Augustama lowered his head and dug into the body of Cotto. Cotto chased Augustama into a corner landing with several rights to the head of Augustama. Augustama ended the round countering with a flurry to the defensive minded Cotto.
Scores were 58-56 twice and 57-57 with this writer 57-57.
PBC on Fox Results: Santa Cruz and Mares Win by Stoppage, DeMarco Upsets Ramirez
By: William Holmes
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California hosted tonight’s Premier Boxing Champions telecast live on the Fox Network.
Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, two of the best featherweights in the sport, previously met in a closely contested bout that saw Santa Cruz emerge the victor.
Photo Credit: Erick Ramirez/Ringstar Sports
Both were angling for a possible rematch provided they were able to win tonight.
The first fight of the night was between Antonio DeMarco (32-6-1) and Eddie Ramirez (17-0) in the super lightweight division.
DeMarco, a southpaw, was a big step up in competition for Ramirez. Ramirez landed some good body shots early in the first round but DeMarco landed a right uppercut/left hook combination that hurt Ramirez zand had him back pedaling.
DeMarco stalked Ramirez around the ring and landed several hard blows on Ramirez by the corner. A right hook left uppercut combination by DeMarco on a badly hurt Ramirez by the ropes forced the referee to end the fight.
Antonio DeMarco wins by TKO at 1:56 of the first round.
Abner Mares (30-2-1) and Andres Gutierrez (25-1-1) met next for the WBA “Regular” Featherweight Title.
Mares started the fight off fast and landed several good combinations in the first round on a plodding Gutierrez. Gutierrez continued to come forward in the second round, but Mares was able to open up a cut by his left eye and aim at it for most of the round.
Mares’ continued to pummel Gutierrez in the third and fourth rounds, but Gutierrez displayed a granite chin and never appeared to be hurt. Mares was blinking a lot after some of Gutierrez’s jabs landed in the fifth round, but he was back to showing his dominance in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Gutierrez’s left eye was gushing blood in the eighth round and by the start of the ninth round Mares had already thrown 659 punches.
Gutierrez showed some signs of life at the end of the ninth round, but Mares stepped on the gas pedal n the tenth and had blood gushing from the eye of Gutierrez and even his left ear which forced the referee to stop the fight.
The referee ruled earlier that the cut was due to a clash of heads, so they went to the cards. Abner Mares wins by decision with scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
The main event was between Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) and Chris Avalos (27-5) for the WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
Santa Cruz connected early in the first round with a good overhand right and Avalos responded with some steam-less punches to the body of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz was throwing and landing the better punches in the second round and mixed up his attacks to the body in the third. He stayed true to his pressure style of fighting.
The fourth round was violent, as Santa Cruz had Avalos badly hurt with his high volume punches in the middle of the ring but somehow still managed to throw back. He looked like he was about to go down, but never did.
Avalos was able to counter a little better in the fifth round, but Santa Cruz’s pressure firmly established control in the sixth. Santa Cruz showed no signs of slowing down in the seventh as he began to focus on the body of Avalos.
The end came in the eighth round was Santa Cruz was again tagging the iron chinned Avalos from corner to corner, before the referee jumped in to stop it.
Avalos bitterly complained to the referee, but he was getting soundly beaten.
Leo Santa Cruz wins by TKO at 1:34 of the eighth round.
PBC on Fox Preview: Santa Cruz vs. Avalos, Mares vs. Gutierrez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) returns to Fox to telecast two bouts in the Fox network in the featherweight division.
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California has been major venue for boxing on the west coast and will be the host site for Saturday’s card. The PBC actually has two televised cards this weekend as they will be showing three junior middleweight title bouts from New York on Showtime after the Fox telecast.
Photo Credit: Erick Ramirez/Ringstar Sports
The following is a preview of the two planned televised bouts on Fox.
Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) vs. Chris Avalos (27-5); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
Leo Santa Cruz’s only professional loss was a close decision to Carl Frampton, but he was later able to avenge that loss in another close decision.
Santa Cruz will be facing an opponent on Saturday in which he should be a heavy favorite and win convincingly.
He’ll have a slight half an inch height advantage and about an inch in reach. He’s two years older than Avalos, but is still in his athletic prime since he’s only twenty nine years old.
Santa Cruz has been slightly more active than Avalos. He fought once in 2017, twice in 2017, and three times in 2015. Avalos fought once in 2017, once in 2017, and three times in 2015.
Santa Cruz also has a more distinguished amateur background than Avalos. He won the gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and the silver medal in the US National Championships.
Avalos does appear to have a slight edge in power. He has twenty stoppage victories while Santa Curz has eighteen. However, Avalos has gone 2-3 in his past five fights and three of his career losses have been by TKO/KO. His losses were to Mark Magsayo, Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, Jhonatan Romero, and Christopher Martin. Avalos has defeated the likes of Jose Nieves, Khabir Suleymanov, Yenifel Vicente, Drian Francisco, and Miguel Flores.
Santa Cruz’s lone defeat was the Carl Frampton, who he defeated in a rematch. He has also defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Marez, Cesar Ceda, Vitor Terrazas, and eric Morel.
All of the physicals and all of the intangibles favor Santa Cruz. It’s difficult to imagine him losing this bout.
Abner Mares (30-2-1) v. Andres Gutierrez (25-1-1); WBA “Regular” Featherweight Title
Abner Mares fought Leo Santa Cruz in 2015 and lost to him. If he’s able to beat Gutierrez on Saturday he’ll likely get a rematch against Santa Cruz.
Mares is thirty one years old and seven years older than Gutierrez. Gutierrez will have about an inch and a half in height and about an inch in reach on Mares. Gutierrez will also have the power advantage. He has stopped 68% of his opponents with 25 KO/TKOs. Mares has stopped 45% of his opponents with 15 KO/TKOs.
Mares has the edge in amateur experience. He was a silver medalist in the World Junior Championships and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for Mexico. Gutierrez has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Mares losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz. He has defeated the likes of Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Eric More, Joseph Agbeko, Anselmo Moreno, and Vic Darchinyan.
Gutierrez professional resume pales in comparison to Mares. Gutierrez has competed mainly in Mexico and lost to a past his prime Cristian Mijares. Gutierrez’s notable wins have come against Wallington Orobio, Daniel Diaz, and Salvador Sanchez.
Gutierrez age and power could give Mares problems, as Mares power has not followed him as he has moved up weight classes. But Mares technical boxing superiority and experience fighting on national television should give him an overall edge to emerge victorious on Saturday.
Miguel Cruz Defeats Alex Martin in Rematch Tuesday at Sands
Miguel Cruz Defeats Alex Martin in Rematch Tuesday at Sands
By: Ken Hissner
Kings Promotions returns to the Sands in Bethlehem’s Event Center putting on8 bouts over FS1. In the Main Event Miguel Cruz of San Juan, PR, defeated his opponent Alex “Chi-town Heat” Martin of Chicago, IL,in January of this year.
In the rematch Miguel Cruz, 16-0 (11), of San Juan, PR, scored a pair of knockdowns to defeat Alex “Chi-town Heat” Martin, 13-2 (5), of Chicago, IL, over 10 rounds.
Cruz scored knockdowns in the first and fourth rounds. In the fifth round Martin was complaining to referee Gary Rosato about low blows so when nothing was done he landed a low blow flooring Cruz face down on the canvas. After a five minute rest it was all Martin for the next four rounds. By the ninth round Cruz was back on top winning the last two rounds and the decision.
Judges Steve Weisfeld, John McNair and Dave Braswell along with this writer had it 96-92 for the winner.
Welterweight southpaw Clarence Booth, 15-3 (8), of St. Petersburg, FL, stopped Anthony Mercado, 10-3 (9), of Arecibo, PR, at 1:30 of the fourth round of a scheduled 8.
Booth dropped two of the first three rounds but came back in the fourth round swarming all over Mercado before referee Erik Dali called a halt with Mercado helpless on the ropes.
On the undercard in the fight of the night Dominican featherweight Isaelin Florian, 6-1 (3), Reading, PA, suffered his first loss in losing against Avery Sparrow, 7-1 (3), of Philadelphia.
Sparrow came out to go to war and found himself on the canvas in the first round. He would come back and return the favor dropping Florian in the second round only to be dropped again in the fourth round. Sparrow would fight back and take the final two rounds and the decision.
Judges Kevin Morgan, Braslow and McNair scored it 58-54 while this writer had it 57-55 all for the winner. Rosado was the referee.
Super welterweight southpaw Nicholas Hernandez, 7-2 (1), of Lebanon, PA, won a disputed majority decision over Grayson Blake, 6-5-1 (2), State College over 6 rounds.
Hernandez was loading up the entire fight while being outworked by Grayson who couldn’t match him punch for punch power wise. Each round was almost too close to call. By the end of the match both fighters were smiling having known each other from the amateurs.
Judge Braswell scored it 57-57 while judges Weisfeld and Morgan had it 58-56 for the winner while this writer had it 60-54 for the loser.
Lightweight Jesus Lule, 11-22-1 (1), of Ft. Myers, FL, scored a mild upset over local boxer Ismael Serrano, 4-2 (1), of Bethlehem, PA, who was returning to the ring after 21 months of inactivity by second round stoppage at 2:10 in a scheduled 4 round bout.
Serrano started out fast but was taking more punishment then he was giving out when pinned against the ropes by Lule when referee Dali called a halt. Serrano was not pleased with the stoppage. It was only the second stoppage for Lule in a career of 34 bouts.
In the opening bout former flyweight amateur star Dylan Price, 3-0 (3), of Sicklersville, NJ, stormed out and took out Manuel Guerra, 1-3-1 (0), of Reynosa, MEX, ending it with a chopping right to the head. Guerrea was on his back trying to sit up but fell back as he was counted out by referee Dali at 1:09 of the first round.
Super lightweight Jesus Perez, 3-0 (1), of Allentown, PA, scored a knockdown in defeating Christian Molina, 4-3 (3), of Allentown, PA, over 4 rounds.
Judges had it 39-37 and 40-35 twice as did this writer.
Super welterweight Devin McMaster, 1-2 (0), of Allentown, PA, seemed to get the short end of the stick losing to Rick Pyle, 1-0 (0) of Harrisburg, PA, over 4 rounds.
It was give and take for the entire fight was almost too close to call. McMaster took the opening round with Pyle coming back to take the second round with the final two rounds very close.
All 3 judges scored it 40-36 for the winner while this writer had it 39-37 for the loser. Rosado was the referee.
It was probably the biggest crowd in years with a lot of local Spanish boxers on the card their fans came out to support them and received a really good show by Kings Promotions. It was their second promotion in 3 days with the last on Saturday in South Philly.
Miguel Cruz and Alex Martin in Rematch Tuesday at Sands
Miguel Cruz and Alex Martin in Rematch Tuesday at Sands
By: Ken Hissner
Kings Promotions returns to the Sands in Bethlehem’s Event Center putting on a pair of 10 round bouts over FS1 with four major players in the welterweight division. In the Main Event Miguel Cruz, 15-0 (11) of Lake Mary, FL, defeated his opponent Alex “Chi-town Heat” Martin, 13-1 (5), originally from Chicago now living in Harvey, IL, in January of this year.
Cruz has also defeated co-feature southpaw Samuel Figueroa, 11-1 (4) Anasco, PR who takes on Jamal “Shango” James, 20-1 (9) of Minneapolis.
On the undercard is Dominican featherweight Isaelin Florian, 6-0 (3), Reading, PA, against Avery Sparrow, 6-1 (3), of Philadelphia. Super lightweight Clarence Booth, 14-3 (7), of St. Petersburg, FL, takes on Anthony Mercado, 10-2 (9), Arecebo, PR.
Super welterweight Nicholas Hernandez, 6-2 (1), Lebanon, PA, takes on Grayson Blake, 6-4-1 (2), State College.
Lightweight Jesus Lule, 10-22-1 (1), Ft. Myers, FL, takes on Ismael Serrano, 4-1 (1), Bethlehem, PA.
Former flyweight amateur star Dylan Price, 2-0 (2), Sicklersville, NJ, takes on Manuel Guerra, 1-2-1 (0), Reynosa, MEX. Super lightweight Jesus Perez, 2-0 (1), Allentown, PA, takes on Christian Molina, 4-2 (3), Allentown, PA. Super welterweight Devin McMaster, 1-1 (0), Allentown, PA, takes on Rick Pyle, 0-0, of Harrisburg, PA.
Doors open at 6pm with first bout at 6:30pm. FSI starts at 9:00pm.
Leo Santa Cruz: El Terremoto
Leo Santa Cruz: El Terremoto
By: Francisco Martinez
3 division, 4 time champion Leo Santa Cruz is coming off arguably a career best performance after avenging his sole defeat to Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz met up with his team father and Al Haymon this past week to talk about his options and return date. September seems likely and a unification is his primary goal opening the doors for a possible Abner Mares rematch or Lee Selby and Gary Russell who all hold titles at 126lbs and are under the same promotional stable making those fights easy to make.
As his return to the ring is being figured out this coming Tuesday Leo Santa Cruz will also make his return to boxing but as a promoter with his 3rd promotional show under his promotional company banner, Last Round promotions. Ivan Redkach vs Argenis Mendez will be the headline on FS1 Premier Boxing Champions Toe to Toe Tuesday’s. A fan friendly series that PBC fans have enjoyed for the past year or so. Action packed fights that will also showcase Herbert Acevedo his brother Richard Acevedo who will be making his pro debut along with Antonio Santa Cruz, Leo’s cousin who are all stable mates training out of the same gym and will find each other in the same venue at the Sportsmans Lodge in Studio City, California.
Leo Santa Cruz talked to BoxingInsider about his new position as promoter “I’m really blessed. The people surrounding me and helping me out are the ones making everything possible. I’m really grateful for all the people who are helping me make this show so I’m happy and I’m excited but at the same time I think I get more nervous than when I’m gonna fight, you know, it’s stressful and it’s hard work and everything you know, you have to do interviews here and over there so that you can get the show out there so that people can come out and support so it’s really hard but little by little hopefully to god things come out good and hopefully one day we can be big”
Herbert Acevedo has been with the Santa Cruz stable for since last year and is the newest addition to the team along with his brothers Richard and Oscar Acevedo. Hebert spoke to us a little bit about being under the tutelage of the Santa Cruz team and family “I think we’re on the right path in my career right now everything is going good and I’ve been with them for about 6 months and I had my first fight in 3 months and another 3 months so this will be my 2nd fight with them” as for some advice Herbert passed on to his brother who will be debuting this May 2nd
He shared this with him “I told him all the hard work is in here sometimes you get harder sparring than a real fight so all the hard work is done here, just go in there calm don’t hesitate on anything” Leo Santa Cruz purpose of his promotional company is to give fighters a chance. Get them fights and help push them through his star power as they themselves aim to one day be world champions. Santa Cruz very embracive of the role do to knowing how it feels to have no support and people not giving you much of a chance to become anything as a fighter as he says accomplishing what he has been able to accomplish was like winning the lottery.
“I think of it almost everyday. I’m laying on my bed and I look at my house, cars and family and it’s like a dream. I still can’t believe that I have achieved so much. When I was growing up I dreamed of it but I never thought that I would accomplish it. I thank god everyday, I thank the fans because thanks to them I am where I’m at. It’s like I’m living the dream, it’s unbelievable and I can’t explain in words”
This coming Tuesday will also have a fan meet and greet Leo Santa Cruz will participate in along with world title contenders Chris Arreola, John Molina and Gerald Washington an opportunity for the fans to get pictures and autographs with some of their favorite fighters right before the televised portion of the card begins. Get your tickets and don’t miss out this Tuesday, May 2nd PBC on FS1, Toe To Toe Tuesday action packed card main evented by WBA ranked #3 Ivan Terrible Redkach as he squares off with Dominican Argenis Mendez in what could secure a title shot for the winner.
Follow coverage of the card by using #PBConFS1 and don’t forget to visit us on a daily for the latest and breaking news in boxing.
Leo Santa Cruz: Is 3rd Time a Charm?
Leo Santa Cruz: Is 3rd Time a Charm?
By: Francisco Martinez
Coming off a masterful performance that surprised most, Leo Santa Cruz channels his focus into a good deed. Using his superstar status to round up the masses in a charity event for a great cause. A humble beginning to Leo Santa Cruz life a beginning he hasn’t forgotten. Having grown up with no car and using the bus as means for transportation and at times a bicycle. Leo Santa Cruz has not forgotten where he comes from even with now being the owner of a 300k Lamborghini that he bout straight from Floyd Mayweather Jr. himself. The always humble Santa Cruz gives as much to his fans when outside the ring to when he’s inside the ring.
Holding a charity event that rounded up hundreds of his fans to give them the opportunity to own a piece of history as he raffled away his fight gear from the night he avanged his sole defeat by the hands of Carl Frampton “Whatever I can do to give back to all the people who helped me out and also the kids with cancer. It’s really hard to pay the bills so whatever I can do is my pleasure and I’ll do it with my heart” acts of kindness that those who know Leo Santa Cruz will say it’s not something he hasn’t done before.
Contributions from the raffling would be donated to the W.B.C. Cares program & Padres Contra El Cancer. Both programs aim to aid the fight against cancer by offering emotional and financial support. A cause Leo Santa Cruz aids with his full effort and ability to give back as he proved it by donating his ring attire for the benefit of both organizations and children around the world who have fallen ill. Visit WorldBoxingCares.com & IamHope.org for more information.
As for the boxing side of things for Leo Santa Cruz the 126lbs class is one of the most stacked divisions in boxing today. Apart from Leo Santa Cruz and his 2x rival Carl Frampton veteran Abner Mares & Lee Selby along with Oscar Valdez, Gary Russel Jr. all wait in the wings to possibly face Santa Cruz next. Who’s the biggest draw out of the division. The King Of L.A. a name earned back in 2015 when he soundly defeated Abner Mares in front of 13k fans at the Staples Center. A 3rd fight between Leo Santa Cruz & Carl Frampton would be the most lucrative in the division however it’s not certain if that fight is possibly next with the terms of the venue in the 3rd fight seeming to be a sticking point for both camps. As Carl Frampton stated right after the 2nd fight with Leo Santa Cruz
“Let’s do it again…I hope Leo is a man of his word. He said if there was a 3rd time he’d come to Belfast” However in boxing things don’t work like that. There’s a negotiation process and the venue is just one hurdle to making a fight of this magnitude possible. Leo Santa Cruz won’t confirm that a 3rd fight is being negotiated as we speak unlike Carl Frampton and his team are claiming “Like I said I’m a man of my word. If it was up to me I’d go fight him over there right now, already but I have to talk to my team, my manager cause I just can’t say I’m gonna go. Who’s gonna make the fight? I can’t just make that decision but if it was up to me and my manager asked me if I wanted to go fight over there I would say yes. It’s up to my promoter and team” he goes on to say
“I would like to fight him right away but Frampton wants to fight in Ireland so if the fight is not made over there I don’t know if he’s gonna want to fight me over here so if he fights somebody else, I’ll fight somebody else. Maybe unify against Lee Selby. A rematch against Abner Mares. There’s Oscar Valdez, Gary Russell, whoever. I’m willing to fight whoever. I want to fight the best and give the fans a great fight”
Leo Santa Cruz is more than willing to travel across the pond but his team is not so sure if that’s a good idea. One of the key members in Leo’s team is head trainer and father Don Jose Santa Cruz. Who’s say has a lot of influence over Leo. Don Jose had this to say about the potential of his son facing Carl Frampton for a 3rd time in Belfast, Northern Ireland “No, he can forget about another fight. He can come here and we’ll fight but we won’t go over there. They took the fight away (from us) in New York so if we go over there with more of a reason they’ll take it again. He can come over here and we’ll do it but over there, no”
Don Jose Santa Cruz admits Abner Mares deserves another crack at his son if the 3rd fight isn’t possible with Carl Frampton “There’s Mares. Mares deserves an opportunity” he also adds his thoughts on how he feels a potential rematch would play out with Abner Mares “To be honest I don’t know. They have somewhat of the same style. If Mares fights clean they can make a good fight but if he’s dirty like the first 3 rounds (like the 1st fight) it’s going to be a ugly fight but I’ll prepare him (Leo) so that he isn’t able to grab, hug him”
Leo Santa Cruz added this to the talk of an Abner Mares rematch “He did look like a different Mares but like I proved already I can change my tactics. Once I get up there I can see what style to fight him with and I’ll make it easier for me. I don’t think the fight will play out differently. I’ll still come out victorious. If he boxes me I’ll do different tactics. We’re gonna go with the perfect game plan to beat him. We’ll work on different styles. If he boxes, we can fight like that. If he brawls, we can fight like that. Whatever he comes with we’re gonna have an answer”
Just 2 weeks removed from his masterful performance over Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz makes it known all top 126 pounders are options and from the sounds of it the trilogy with Carl Frampton will have to take place somewhere in the U.S. as Leo’s father made it clear they won’t risk having another fight taken away from them. Hopefully both teams, Frampton & Santa Cruz can come to terms in making this trilogy happen as it would go down in history as one of the greatest 3 fight series in boxing.
Follow BoxingInsider.com for the latest in boxing news.
Santa Cruz Plays It Smart In Victory Over Frampton
Santa Cruz Plays It Smart In Victory Over Frampton
by John Freund
On Saturday night at the MGM in Las Vegas, before a crowd of 10,085 in attendance, Leo Santa Cruz did exactly what he didn’t do in his first meeting with Carl Frampton – exploited his long reach to keep Frampton outside, and maintained his composure as he fought with his head and not just his hands.
‘Discipline’ was the word of the day for Santa Cruz, having thrown over 1,000 punches in their last contest, and whose style is that of an aggressive, high-volume puncher. Many, including myself, believed that Santa Cruz knew only one way to fight: straight ahead. But the Mexican-American proved us wrong by taking his time and picking his spots, something he said he would do coming into the fight.
“My head was telling me to pressure him, but my dad and corner were telling me to box him,” Santa Cruz told reporters in the post-fight presser. “Before the fight I said I wanted revenge and I wanted to work hard. I went to the gym and I worked hard and I did what I had to do.”
Steering clear of Frampton’s inside game limited the Irishman’s connect percentage. Frampton only connected on 15% of his jabs and 26% of his power punches. Santa Cruz bested him in both categories, notching 19% and 32%, respectively. It was a very different story in their first fight, where Frampton was able to use Santa Cruz’s trademark aggressiveness to his advantage. He evaded the 3-time World Champion’s lunging strikes and counterpunched with fierce efficiency, even knocking Santa Cruz off his balance in the second round, a feat which surprised many given Frampton’s step up in weight for the bout. But Santa Cruz played it smart this time by utilizing his 2.5-inch reach advantage to control the tempo and distance of the fight. That strategy prompted Frampton to be the aggressor at times that he probably didn’t want to be, given his penchant for playing defense and counterpunching. There were moments where the Irishman achieved success, like he did in rounds 6 through 8 when Santa Cruz seemed tired and inexplicably forgot his jab, but for the most part Santa Cruz held his distance and fought the urge to trade inside with his shorter and scrappier opponent.
“The brawler was outboxing the boxer,” Frampton said in his post-fight interview. “He was very clever and he used his reach. I think he deserved it. I’m being honest, I think he deserved it.”
All said it was a very even fight, much more so than their first affair which Frampton won handily. The official scorecards read 114-114, and two 115-113’s. Santa Cruz likely pulled out the win with some key exchanges that nabbed him close rounds. Round 4 was a barn-burner that saw both men trade vicious blows as Frampton was finally able to move inside and Leo stood toe-to-toe with him. But Santa Cruz ended the round with a beautiful uppercut that sent Frampton to the canvas in what was ruled a slip by referee Kenny Bayless. Nonetheless, brief exchanges such as those likely won tight rounds for Santa Cruz – and ultimately gave him the victory.
Luckily for boxing fans, both men have expressed their eagerness for a third fight.
“Of course I want the rematch,” Santa Cruz declared. “I’m a man of my word and I said if I won that I would give him the trilogy.”
Prior to the fight, Frampton acknowledged his desire to unify the Featherweight titles against fellow UK Featherweight champion Lee Selby later this year in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Obviously those plans are now on hold, as he first needs to win the rubber match in order to regain his share of the Featherweight crown. But Frampton is already angling for the fight to take place in his native Ireland.
“Let’s do it again,” Frampton cheered. “I hope he’s a man of his word and comes to Belfast. I hope he does.”