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.