Santa Cruz Wins Battle of LA Hitters, Scores MD12 Win Over Mares on ESPN

Leo-Santa-Cruz

Two young guns signed a contract to see who was king of their turf, the boxing ruler of Los Angeles at the lighter weights. Featherweight hitters Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares had both been buzzed about, hit some road blocks and pot holes and came to this fight after those vocational hiccups. A loss here could be a pretty harsh career setback, being that the route to here hasn't been without drama. After ten rounds at the Staples Center, it was Santa Cruz who emerged as the area leader. He used his height edge, his reach edge, and his potent jab abd sneaky left hooks spoke to the judges.

The scores read thusly: 117-111,117-111 and 114-114.

There were no knockdowns, and while the crowd stayed invested, and the commentators enthused, the fight was solid, decent, good but not great. Volume was high but neither man's power was a difference maker.

LSC went 373-1057 to 227-980. Santa Cruz is 27, and came in 30-0-1. He's been busted upon for not demanding step up fights, marquee bouts, bragging rights bouts. He dumped Cameron Dunkin for Al Haymon a couple years ago and some say that switch slowed down his momentum.

The 29 year old Mares, also born in Mexico and residing in Cali, tasted more tangible pain as a pro. He didn't get heat on message boards, he got stoped out, in round one of a 126 title defense against Jhonny Gonzalez in 2013. He's won three straight but does he have that same swagger?

In the first, Mares was the come forward fella. He then waved LSC forward, grinned, looked to be dialed in, having fun. In the second, LSC shook his right, snapped a jab, now came forward, and Mares was less busy. They traded end of round. The Mares corner asked for more boxing, not fighting, after the round. In the third, Mares did look to work from outside, look for a smart opening. What's new, they traded late in the round. LSC caught Mares lunging in with a sweet right upper, maybe the best punch of the round. We saw blood on both faces now…In the fourth, Mares flurried to the body, then slid out. He waved LSC forward, bounced, moved, maybe won the round.

In the fifth, it was another super-tight round. The LSC corner asked for lead rights after…In round six, LSC had luck with the jab. Mares flurried and ate a counter left. To round eight…Mares bulled and brawled more. He jabbed to the belly button. The crowd buzzed at a Mares launch, then he got smacked, and they stepped it up with 20 seconds left. Round nine saw LSC land a sneaky left hook. He landed, maybe, the cleaner, harder shots.

In the tenth, Mares had a bloody mask, and ate left hooks. He was losing the fight…In round 11, they were both still busy. Round 12, the crowd chanted. Mares banged to the body, and LSC stayed smart. We went to the cards…

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COMMENTS

-SouthPawFlo :

Easily the Best PBC fight so far... Santa Cruz may need to start getting some Top 15 P4P attention, he showed he can win in more ways than just being a Volume Puncher. Although he still threw 1,000 punches, there were times when he scored from distance using his jab and straight right hand...


-deepwater2 :

Easily the Best PBC fight so far... Santa Cruz may need to start getting some Top 15 P4P attention, he showed he can win in more ways than just being a Volume Puncher. Although he still threw 1,000 punches, there were times when he scored from distance using his jab and straight right hand...
It was the best card so far for sure. The undercard bouts were sharp too. If PBC can do fights like this more often than the guys taking on tomato cans,then it will do very well.


-Shoulder Roll Defense :

I fell asleep right before the scorecards were rendered. Did Leo mention anything about fighting Rigondeaux? He needs to stop ducking Rigo! Rigo could probably beat both Mares and Santa Cruz on the same night. Good fight last night for Santa Cruz, but keep him away from the "Jackal." If moves up in weight I don't see him beating Lomachenko or Walters. Santa Cruz is a good fighter, but a notch below the cream of the crop!


-SouthPawFlo :

I wouldn't say that he's ducking RIGO, but that fight won't make enuff money to get Haymon and Bob Arum to do business together.... Leo pulled 13,000 fans lastnight in a crowd pleasing fight and he's be on PPV cards (namely May-Pac) so he'll easily have to be the A side in a negotiation so I can't See arum ever agreeing to that deal....


-Denise Alvarez :

LSC ducks everybody.He ducked Mares for about a year.I want to see him fight Lomanchenko, Walters or Rigondeaux. I bet he won't, he'll have every excuse why those fights can't happen. In his fight with Mares, it was close, a rematch is in order.


-Radam G :

LSC ducks everybody.He ducked Mares for about a year.I want to see him fight Lomanchenko, Walters or Rigondeaux. I bet he won't, he'll have every excuse why those fights can't happen. In his fight with Mares, it was close, a rematch is in order.
Amen to the fair lady! Holla!


-the Roast :

Fun fight last night. Mares has lost his way. At some point he decided he was going to be a fan friendly brawler but he lacks the punching power to fight that way. I thought Santa Cruz won going away but he doesn't have much power either. That first fight was a barn burner. Nice job ESPN.


-SuperLight :

I wouldn't say that he's ducking RIGO, but that fight won't make enuff money to get Haymon and Bob Arum to do business together.... Leo pulled 13,000 fans lastnight in a crowd pleasing fight and he's be on PPV cards (namely May-Pac) so he'll easily have to be the A side in a negotiation so I can't See arum ever agreeing to that deal....
Ducking or not, I'm with you on other counts. I don't see Arum making sacrifices for Rigondeaux. Loma and Rigo would bee a good one. The two keep goading each other on Twitter, but who knows when and if it will happen.


-Ramrod Jab :

Santa Cruz-Mares was a great fight. LSC definitely got asked some questions in there and answered them well and I do think a rematch is deserved.


-deepwater2 :

LSC has no say in his opponents. Its all in the PBC contract. He fights his sparring partners and such due to the adviser. I think Arum would love to match his guys against LSC due to the fact that they would win. I would guess LSC's next fight will be against a guy ranked around 30-40 in the division.


-brownsugar :

Cruz has been asking for Mares for at least a year and he finally got it....Actually there are rumblings within PBC about the possible matching up of Cruz with Lee Selby, or Gary Russell or Frampton (also in the Haymon camp). Cruz's dad can be found on FH calling out Lomanchenko of all people....lol. Cruz just beat a blown up bantam weight. Neither Cruz nor Mares fought at the Featherweight division before, I think it would be in Cruz's best interest to fight a top 20 - 10 guy before calling out the Nickolas Walters and Lomanchenko's of the world to see how he feels adainst stronger bigger fighters who may start a tradition of just walking face first through his punches. Even Frampton is ready to move up to featherweight, ....my guess is, Cruz gets one more fight to get acclimated to weight and then gets Frampton....


-deepwater2 :

Cruz has been asking for Mares for at least a year and he finally got it....Actually there are rumblings within PBC about the possible matching up of Cruz with Lee Selby, or Gary Russell or Frampton (also in the Haymon camp). Cruz's dad can be found on FH calling out Lomanchenko of all people....lol. Cruz just beat a blown up bantam weight. Neither Cruz nor Mares fought at the Featherweight division before, I think it would be in Cruz's best interest to fight a top 20 - 10 guy before calling out the Nickolas Walters and Lomanchenko's of the world to see how he feels adainst stronger bigger fighters who may start a tradition of just walking face first through his punches. Even Frampton is ready to move up to featherweight, ....my guess is, Cruz gets one more fight to get acclimated to weight and then gets Frampton....
Maybe the Russian Mexican Gradovich. It fits with my tsAH algorithm. He lost his last fight by KO to Selby so tsAH might try and get him while he is still groggy.


-Chris L :

So I was thinking Haymon should do a featherweight tournament. Santa Cruz, Mares, Selby, Russel Jr, Frampton (if he moves up), and I've read that Rigo is waiting for his contract to expire so he can join Haymons ranks, so chuck him in the mix if he'd move up. Missing out Loma/Walters due to Top Rank. Would make a great series and the winner would become a surefire star.


-deepwater2 :

Hopefully the purse bid can be used to force some TR vs PBC fights. It happened with Gary Russell vs Loma. Maybe it can happen again.