Interview: UFC Veteran Leo Kuntz Calls for Fight with Bellator’s Dillon Danis
By: Jesse Donathan
Leo “The Lion” Kuntz would like to get his paws on Bellator’s Dillon Danis and settle the score once and for all inside the mixed martial arts gladiatorial arena. A two-time UFC veteran who trains out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, Kuntz is a former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 cast member who isn’t intimidated one bit by the Bellator golden boy Danis, who is better known as UFC superstar Conor McGregor’s Brazilian Jiu-jitsu mentor. According to Kuntz (18-4-1, 9 KOs), Danis is ducking him but can’t run forever. “Dillon, or ‘El Jefa’ as I prefer to call him, personifies all of the negative qualities that are attributed to the great sport of mixed martial arts,” said Kuntz on the origins of his beef with Danis. According to Leo, “He is arrogant and has zero respect for anyone, unless they can better his career. He is exactly all of the bad things about our sport rolled up into one large worthless bag of flesh,” explained Kuntz on how he really feels about the Bellator signed fighter.
“Many years ago, Bellator had offered me two title fights against Ben Askren. I had to turn both fights down because I was already under contract,” said Kuntz. “I knew that Bellator had had some interest in me and a fight between me and ‘El Jefa’ was a real possibility. I then began calling him out on Twitter, this is a tactic he uses often. ‘El Jefa’ only calls out fighters who have no real chance of fighting him. Where I come from, we call these types of people telephone tough guys,” said Kuntz.
“It quickly became apparent to me that Dillon is in bed with Bellator and they don’t want to see him fight somebody like me,” Kuntz explained. “Scott Coker even made comments on Twitter about ‘El Jefa’ not just being a friend, but also his business partner,” said Kuntz. “After those remarks, I lost all respect for Scott Coker and his organization. I would however still fight for Bellator if it meant a fight with ‘El Jefa,’” the American Top Team representative added.
Switching gears, Kuntz is unfortunately perhaps best known for his now infamous fight against opponent Tae Hyun Bang at UFC Fight Night 79 in 2015, which stands today as the only known prosecuted case of fight fixing in the modern era of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. According to an April 19, 2017 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “UFC warned Tae Hyun Bang, Leo Kuntz about fight fixing; Bang investigated in South Korea,” author Steven Marrocco writes, “UFC officials warned Tae Hyun Bang and Leo Kuntz about fight fixing before they fought at UFC Fight Night 79, people with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie.”
According to the report, both fighters initially denied any knowledge of wrong doing, but later Bang, “Allegedly admitted to police his role in fight fixing after receiving death threats from organized crime figures, who’d wagered $2 billion Korean won (approximately $1.7 million USD) that Kuntz would win.”
“Police say Bang accepted a bribe of $100 million won (approximately $87,000) while wagering $50 million (approximately $43,000) on his opponent,” writes MMAJunkie.com. A November 24, 2017 follow up article titled, “Report: Tae Hyun Bang sentenced to 10-month prison term for fight-fixing scheme at UFC Fight Night 79,” indicates that Bang was found guilty of, “Taking bribes in connection with a plan to throw a fight.” Incredibly, according to the report, the “three brokers” who set up the fix and gave money to Bang totaling $92,160 USD also were given jail terms for their roles. One of those brokers was reportedly MMA fighter Dae Won Kim.” A fact which may or may not be an indication that fight fixing in mixed martial arts is more prevalent than anyone would like to admit or has previously been willing to address.
“If the top level athletes in MMA would be getting paid in proportion to the top level athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB etc… this type of incident wouldn’t even be considered,” said Kuntz on his infamous UFC Fight Night 79 split decision loss to Tae Hyun Bang who was later convicted and sent to prison. According to a November 24, 2019 MMAMania.com article titled, “Report: Tae Hyun Bang lands 10-month prison sentence for accepting bribes in attempt to fix UFC fight,” author Dan Hiergesell writes that, “Bang, 34, was given $92,160 USD by a collection of three brokers and was expected to lose the first two rounds to Kuntz.”
Interestingly, the report went on to state, “But after Bang bet half of that money on Kuntz to win, the betting lines drastically switched, forcing UFC officials to warn both Bang and Kuntz of the ramifications of fixing fights.” This is information, that if true, would seem to suggest that the UFC has actively monitored betting lines for sometime now, long before the expected launch of their official sports betting product known as UFC Event Centre in the first quarter of 2020 according to a November 15, 2019 Sherdog.com report.
According to Kuntz, who claims to have had no prior knowledge or involvement of any kind in the fight fixing scandal or any of the individuals involved, “I first became aware of the issue moments before my fight with Tae Hyun Bang. I was in the locker room getting my hands wrapped when UFC brass came and spoke to me about the betting line swinging overnight. I had no idea what this meant at the time,” explained Kuntz. “The UFC went to speak with Bang after they spoke to me and I’m certain that conversation was of a different nature. They knew that the bets had come in on me to win. It’s sad that athletes at our level would even consider throwing a fight for money,” said Kuntz.
“As far as my career goes,” said Kuntz after being asked how the incident has affected him professionally, “I think this incident actually helped me. It is always a topic of conversation and I’ve had several interviews based solely on the fight fixing scandal.”
More recently, Kuntz, a professional MMA fighter with a traditional martial arts background, had a successful exhibition boxing match in an October 12, 2019 Bozeman, Montana fight against another mixed martial arts fighter with a reported 5-1 semi-pro record. “I’m at a point in my career where I am finally able to train full time,” said Kuntz. “Except for my recent boxing exhibition, I haven’t fought in over 2 years. My last 4 fights have been at 155. During my time as a lightweight, I’ve only won 1 out of 4 fights! As a welterweight I am 17-1-1. I will be permanently moving back up to welterweight and I will be competing in MMA in the end of January,” revealed the traditional Chinese martial artist.
A student of the late Grand Master Wei Lun Huang, Kuntz is a Chinese kung fu master who has studied extensively in Taiji and other Chinese internal martial arts. On the influence kung fu has had in his training as a mixed marital artist, according to Kuntz, “Taiji’s power is like water, ever changing and adopting to its environment. Water is one of the softest substance’s on earth and it can still be harnessed to etch stone and steel. Water can carve through mountains and destroy entire cities, yet it is a requirement for nearly every known source of life on earth,” said Kuntz. “GM Wei Lun Huang has shown me how to be like water. This is a path you walk for a lifetime, knowing that you will never reach the end,” explained Kuntz with a heavy dose of Asian martial philosophy and spiritual dogma to his overall worldview.
On what the future holds for the American Top Team trained mixed martial artist, “I am still interested in boxing and will certainly be making my pro boxing debut in 2020,” said Kuntz who is no doubt looking for financially lucrative opportunities. “As a prize fighter, I am interested in any fight that makes dollars and sense.
“I don’t see myself getting involved in bare knuckle boxing though, unless I’m getting paid stupid money,” explained Kuntz upon being asked if the recent trend in MMA fighters transitioning to bare knuckle boxing would be something that he would be interested in pursuing. According to Kuntz, “Martial arts is about self-preservation and bare-knuckle boxing creates an environment that isn’t sustainable for the athletes. I would be more interested in bare knuckle MMA,” in what is an idea quite a few people would be willing to get behind and support.
“My stock is going up,” said Kuntz. “If Dana White wants to give me another chance, it’s best for him to reach out to me quickly. Once I start making waves at welterweight, I won’t be signing with any large promotion if they want to try and give me an entry level contract,” said Kuntz in what is no doubt the mark of a business savvy, experienced professional who has been around the block a few times already.
As a two-time UFC veteran and TUF season 16 cast member sporting an 18-4 overall professional record with an impressive 9 stoppages to his credit, “The Lion” Kuntz is a primed, unsigned big-league talent looking to take advantage of the current professional boxing/MMA crossover market. With the looming entry of Zuffa Boxing into the world of professional pugilism, fighters like Kuntz with previous experience fighting under the Zuffa banner and a desire to follow the money into the ranks of professional boxing are perfect potential free agent acquisitions primed for the taking as Zuffa attempts to make its mark in the squared circle. But in the meantime, Kuntz appears perfectly content with finding himself inside the Bellator cage opposite Dillon Danis where the score can be settled once and for all.
ShoBox Results: Angelo “El Chinito” Leo & Xavier Martinez Emerge Victorious
By: Ken Hissner
Sam’s Hotel & Gambling Hall was the host site for Friday’s Mayweather Promotions card on ShoBox. The main event Featherweight Angelo “El Chinito” Leo of Las Vegas and Neil “The Beast” John Tabanao of the Cebu, Philippines.
In the Main Event Featherweight Angelo “El Chinito” Leo, 17-0 (8), of Las Vegas, NV, defeated Neil “The Firey Lion” John Tabanao, 17-5(11), of Cebu City, PH, over 10 action rounds.
In the first round after some feeling out at the halfway point both fighters opened up. Tabanao showed good hand speed while Leo more power in a good round for Leo. In the second round Leon countered a short jab landing a solid right to the chin. In the second round Leo kept up the pressure until Tabanao landed a right cross to the chin. It was a very competitive round but Leon seemed to pull it out.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the third round Tabanao landed a double jab but got countered by a Leo right to the chin. Leo was warned for a right border line low blow. In the fourth round Tabanao had Leo against the ropes but both were landing punches. Tabanao seemed to take the edge.
In the fifth round referee Jay Nady again warned Leo for landing a punch low. In the final minute with both swinging wildly a left hook from Leo landed on the chin. In the sixth round a clash of heads caused Leo to have swelling over the right eye. In the final minute of the round Tabanao seemed to get the best of it.
In the seventh round both boxers landed well. Leo landed a double left hook to to the chin. It was a good round for Leo. In the eighth round a Leo left hook knocked Tabanao’s head sideways. In the final fifteen seconds of the round Leo was landing half a dozen punches without return.
In the ninth round Leo seemed to have his way. In the final minute Leo had Tabanao against the ropes landing well with little return from Tabanao. In the tenth and final round both fighters fought well with Leo seemingly wrapping up a win. Both boxers showed good portsmanship throughout.
Scores were 100-89 and 100-90 twice. This writer had it 98-92.
In the co-feature Super Featherweight Xavier Martinez, 14-0 (10), of Sacramento, CA, stopped John “Mulawin” Vincent Moralde, 21-3 (11), of General Santos City, PH, at 1:11 of the third round.
In the first round Martinez landed the first non-jab with a right uppercut to the chin within 20 seconds of the round. Martinez kept coming forward looking for an early stoppage. Martinez landed a hard left hook to the chin driving Moralde half a dozen steps backwards into the ropes. Moralde seemed overwhelmed in the round. Martinez landed the last four punches of the round having Moralded pinned in a corner.
In the second Martinez picked up where he left off landing many punches before a return from Moralde. Martinez rocked Moralde with a right cross on the chin. Moralde had taken so many punches the fight could be stopped in between rounds.
Before the third round started referee Tony Weeks went to the Moralde corner and said he wasn’t going to allow him to take more punishment. Moralde had swelling around both eyes. A left on the chin from Martinez got there before Moralde’s left hook dropping Moralde. He got up in no condition but was allowed to take half a dozen more punches before referee weeks stopped it.
Super Featherweight Andres Cortes, 11-0 (6), of Las Vegas, NV, defeated Jamal Dyer, 9-2 (5), of Baltimore, MD, over 8 rounds.
The first two rounds were close with Dyer taking the first and Cortes the second. In the third round things picked up with more action with Dyer getting the better of it.
In the fourth round Cortes landed a counter right on the chin. Dyer considering how hurt he was at the end of the previous round has done well to hold his own and suddenly a right on the chin from Dyer dropped Cortes. Cortes got up very angry taking it to Dyer to a slugfest to the bell. In the fifth round both fighters landed right uppercuts at the same time to the chin. With a minute left in the round Cortes landed several right hands to the chin.
In round six Cortes landed a left to the body followed with a right to the head. Halfway through the round Cortes rocked Dyer with a right on the chin. In the seventh round Dyer backed Cortes up for the most part. Cortes had swelling under his right eye. It was a good round of action.
In the eighth and final round it was close but Cortes seemed to get the better of it.
Scores were 78-73, 79-73 and 78-74 while this writer had it 77-75 Cortes. Jay Nady was the referee.
Welterweight Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, 11-2-1 (5), of UZB, out of Las Vegas, lost a split decision to Keith “The Bounty” Hunter, 10-0 (7), of Las Vegas, NV, over 8 rounds.
Super Middleweight Kevin “The Second Coming” Newman II, 9-1-1 (5), of Las Vegas, knocked out Cesar “Principe” Lopez Ugarte, 8-4 (6), of Augascalientes, MEX, in the first round.
Lightweight Kingdamon “Don’t Blink” Antoine, 9-0 (7), of Akron, OH, scored a shutout over Raheem Abdullah, 3-2 (0), of Colorado Springs, CO, over 6 rounds.
Super Lightweight Maurice “Ambitious” Lee, 10-1-2 (5), of Woodland Hills, CA, defeated Andre Byrd, 7-6-2 (1), of Jacksonville, FL, over 6 rounds.
ShoBox Preview: Angelo “El Chinito” Leo & Neil “The Beast” John Tabanao Look to Shine
By: Ken Hissner
Sam’s Hotel and Gambling Hall will host a ShoBox event on Friday night. This card will feature eight bouts and will be promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
The main event will feature featherweight Angelo “El Chinito” Leo of Las Vegas, Nevada facing off against Neil “The Best” John Tabanao of Cebu, Philippines.
Photo Credit: Sam’s Town Las Vegas Twitter Account
This will be Leo’s first scheduled ten rounder after winning sixteen straight. Tabanao has won his last four bouts and will be making his US debut.
Leo, 16-0 (8), started his career at bantamweight and eventually moved up to featherweight. Tabanao, 17-4 (11), started out at super bantamweight and has even gone up to super lightweight two fights ago.
The co-feature will have Xavier Martinez, 13-0 (9), of Sacramento, CA, who has stopped his last five opponent’s. He will be taking on John “Mulawin” Vincent Moralde, 21-2 (11), of General Santos City, PH.
Last year he defeated Ismail “Sharp Shooter” Muwendo, 19-0. This bout is scheduled for 10 rounds. Another bout on the card will feature ten round welterweight showdown between Cameron “Suave” Krael, 15-13-3 (4), of Las Vegas, and Angel “Hit Man” Hernandez, 15-12-2 (9), of McAllen, TX.
There will also be three eight rounder’s on the card with Super Featherweight Andres Cortes, 10-0 (6), of Las Vegas, will be taking on Jamal Dyer, 9-1 (5), of Baltimore, MD. Welterweight Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, 11-1-1 (5), of UZB, out of Las Vegas, will be taking on Keith “The Bount” Hunter, 9-0 (7), of Las Vegas. Super Middleweight Kevin “The Second Coming” Newman II, 8-1-1 (4), of Las Vegas, will be taking on Cesar “Principe” Lopez Ugarte, 8-3 (6), of Augascalientes, MEX.
In a pair of six rounder’s Lightweight Kingdamon “Don’t Blink” Antoine, 8-0 (7), of Akron, OH, will be taking on Raheem Abdullah, 3-1 (0), of Colorado Springs, CO. With Super Lightweight Maurice “Ambitious” Lee, 9-1-2 (5), of Woodland Hills, CA, with a to be announced opponent.
PBC on Fox Preview: Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rivera, Figueroa vs. Molina
By: Hans Themistode
After fighting just once in 2018 WBA Featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) will be looking to have a much more active year. It’ll start this Saturday night when he take on Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) at the Microsoft Theater in California.
A win for Santa Cruz will be the fourth defense of his title and undoubtedly bring him the big fights that he always wants to be apart of. That win won’t exactly come easy no matter what the critics say.
Rafael Rivera is getting the opportunity of a life time as he is replacing the injured Miguel Flores who suffered an ankle injury. Rivera will be looking to create a major upset. Time and time again we have seen champions over look their opponents and suffer the price for it in the ring. It is no secret that Santa Cruz is on the verge of a unification fight with current WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. A loss Saturday night puts an end to that dream.
It will be an uphill climb for Rivera from the very beginning as the champion will have the edge in just about every category imaginable. That however does not mean he has no path to victory. This will be Rivera’s first crack at a world title. If recent history tells us anything then it will show us that there has been plenty of recent massive upsets to be wary of.
The story seems to be telling us that Leo Santa Cruz will have an easy time in their on Saturday night but often times in boxing the story never quite goes as planned.
While Leo Santa Cruz and Rafael Rivera battle it out for gold both Omar Figueroa Jr (27-0-1, 19 KOs) and John Molina Jr (30-7, 24 KOs) will be looking to reinsert themselves in the title hunt at the Welterweight division.
Both men have been hit with the inactivity bug as they have not competed since 2017. This is a clash of two men with similar fighting styles as they both enjoy coming forward and look for the knockout at all times.
At age 36 and coming off the longest layoff of his career Molina Jr needs a big performance to place himself back in the thick of things as a true contender. For Figueroa Jr he has looked impressive in his career thus far. Unfortunately he has lost plenty of years because of a lack of activity. This will be the second time in his career that he will have not fought for over a year and a half. At age 29 he is still in his prime and has plenty of time to fulfill the promising potential that he has continued to flash.
A loss for either man will be difficult to bounce back from. A win however can place one of these fighters back on track to a world title shot.
Mayweather Promotions Results: Heraldez Remains Undefeated, Leo Stops Porras
By: Sean Crose
Mayweather Promotions broadcast a fight card free for their fans on their Facebook Page and featured some of their up and coming prospects, including Juan Heraldez and Angelo Leo.
Juan Heraldez improved his record to 15-0 on Saturday night, thanks to a destructive performance against the 11-4 Maynard Allison, known as “Mr. Marvelous,” at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas. The fight, which was the main event of a Mayweather Promotion’s card, pitted Mayweather protege Heraldez against North Carolina’s Allison. Herladez looked impressive throughout and forced the Referee Tony Weeks to step in and stop the bout at 1:05 of the third.
Photo Credit: Mayweather Promotions Facebook Page
Another Mayweather protege, the 14-0 Angelo Leo also impressed on the card, via an impressive first round knockout of Glenn Porras, 31-7, of the Philippines. Leo, a rising star in the super bantamweight division, ended things quickly, at just 1:37 of the very first round.
The 6-0 lightweight Rolando Romero of Vegas proved himself a sound member of team Mayweather earlier on in the evening when he bested Dieumerci Nzau in thunderous fashion. The bout didn’t get past the opening chapter, as Romero knocked his man unconscious in the first. Andres Cortes added to the night’s trend of early stoppages by finishing Omar Castillo within the distance. Cortes’ record now stands at 9-0, while Castillo’s resume stands at 5-1. Cortes, of Las Vegas, fights in the lightweight division under the Mayweather banner. Overall, it was an impressive evening for the Mayweather Promotions brand overall.
Sam’s Town in Vegas is known to host Mayweather Promotion’s cards, which serve to provide the Mayweather universe’s up and coming fighters the opportunity to show their mettle and to improve upon their resumes. The program at Sam’s Town is known as the “Sin City Showdown.” As is common, there was a charitable aspect to Saturday’s card. Non perishable food items were collected at the door for the Floyd Mayweather Jr Foundation’s “Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway.” on
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: 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.
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.
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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.”
Showtime Championship Boxing Recap: Garcia wins by KO; Santa Cruz avenges first Loss by Maj Decision
Showtime Championship Boxing Recap: Garcia wins by KO; Santa Cruz avenges first Loss by Maj Decision
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada, Premier Boxing Champions presented a two fight championship card. The co-main event was between the first and only world champion from the nation of Montenegro Dejan Zlaticanin. Zlaticanin will be defending his WBC Lightweight title against the great 2x Division champion Mikey Garcia. Garcia is coming off of a 2 year layoff, with only one warmup fight and looks to take his place back on the pound for pound list.
The main event is a rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz and Frampton fought in a fight of the year contender last year, which
Frampton took by decision and solidified him as the 2016 Fighter of the Year. The first loss in Santa Cruz’s career, he looked to change his tacticts and get revenge against Frampton.
Dejan Zlaticanin v. Mikey Garcia: WBC Lightweight
Mikey Garcia came out early, establishing his jab and using his supperior reach advantage to keep Zlaticanin at bay. Garcia was also able to counter extremely well in the early rounds, making sure that Zlaticanin felt his power when he attempted to charge in.
Zlaticanin seemed content covering up and trying to walk Garcia down. Unfortunately Garcia stuck to his game plan of staying in control of the distance and being the true ring general throughout the fight.
In the third round, Mikey Garcia landed a huge right handed uppercut that stunned Zlaticanin and then Garcia followed up with a shot that completely layed out the champion. Garcia was in control of the entire fight. Zlaticanin was not only knocked out, but was knocked down for the very first time of his career.
Mikey Garcia becomes a 3 division world champion and showed why he is one of the greatest boxers in the sport.
Garcia KO3 2:21
Carl Frampton v. Leo Santa Cruz: WBA Featherweight: Rematch
Santa Cruz came out initially using his length to keep Frampton back and pick his shots as a boxer. That was quickly thrown out the window with half of the first round gone and the brawling that took place during the first fight was picked back up again. Frampton, looks to move in and brawl, and whenever Santa Cruz would get hit in the mouth he will throw his gameplan out, fighting toe to toe.
Frampton used very quick footwork, to move in and out at angles and work his way pass Santa Cruz’s guard. Santa Cruz was throwing lots of punches, but still under the normal 80 punches a round that he usually averages.
Everytime Frampton moves in and both men exchange punches, Santa Cruz is able to re establish by moving to the outside and start pumping out the jab again.
Frampton continues to try and make the match a brawl, and Santa Cruz, while abiding at certain points, was clearly able to control the tempo and pace of the fight.
The sixth round was beautiful in all of its brutality. Santa Cruz and Frampton went back to trading punches, going toe to toe in a very action packed round.
Through 8, it was a very close fight. Both fighters were investing into their opponents body and many rounds could have easily gone either way. Santa Cruz looked to be much sharper then he was in the first fight, though Frampton did display great head movement and defense this time around.
Frampton just seemed to be the more tired fighter. Possibly frustrated by Santa Cruz being able to keep him back with the long jab.
It was a great fight that lived up to the hype of the first meeting. Santa Cruz looked better in the rematch and is the reason he won the decison. These two
are well on their way towards a trilogy and both warriors notched a legacy that will forever link them in boxing history.
114-114; 115-113 (2x) Santa Cruz MD12
Is The Featherweight Division The Best In Boxing?
Is The Featherweight Division The Best In Boxing?
by John Freund
Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz just weighed in for their upcoming bout tomorrow night at MGM’s Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Both fighters matched the 126-pound weight limit, and both looked determined as they met face-to-face for the final time before their much anticipated rematch.
If Frampton should win this fight, he will likely be crowned the king of the Featherweights, having then defeated 3-division world champion Santa Cruz twice. That would catapult him to the top of what is rapidly being considered boxing’s most competitive weight class. Aside from Frampton and Santa Cruz, prominent Featherweights include Gary Russell Jr., Abner Mares, Jesus Cuellar – whom Mares defeated in his last fight, and hard-hitting Oscar Valdez. And let’s not forget about Lee Selby, who is defending his IBF title against former world champ Jonathan Barros on the undercard. Frampton has already declared that should he win his fight against Santa Cruz, he wants to unify the titles in his hometown of Belfast against Selby this summer.
“I just want to be involved in big fights,” Frampton said. “I’m 30 in February. It’s not like I have years and years left, so I want them to all be big fights now. And Selby is a big fight.”
Indeed, should the two UK superstars square-off, it could mean one of Britain’s biggest fights ever, outside of the Heavyweight division. For the Welsh-born Selby, a win against The Ring’s 2016 ‘Fighter of the Year’ honoree Frampton would provide a catapult to superstardom, should he defeat the Irishman in front of his hometown fans.
“He (Frampton) had the stand-out fight with Santa Cruz last year,” Selby told The Telegraph. “It changed his profile overnight. That’s what I’m looking for, that one stand-out fight. I think mine could be against Carl Frampton.”
For that to happen, both men need to be victorious tomorrow night; no small feat for either fighter. Although he is heavily favored, Selby faces a very dangerous opponent in former champion Barros, who has a ton of experience, this being his 47th fight. And Frampton will of course have his hands full during the rematch with Santa Cruz. Should the Mexican-American star regain his title, odds are he and Frampton will square off for a third time, in what could mean another epic boxing trilogy alongside the likes of Barrera-Morales, and Gatti-Ward.
Boxing fans not already prone to rooting for either fighter actually have a tough call tomorrow night. Whom to root for? Frampton-Selby this summer would be epic, but then again so would Frampton-Santa Cruz III.
Hey, with all of the PR trouble the sport has seen recently, it’s nice to know there’s at least one division that doesn’t need heating up… because it’s already red hot. Tomorrow night we’ll find out just how competitive the Featherweight division really is.