Fight fans finally witness Leo Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KOs) and Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) go toe to toe. Live from the Staples Center, Premiere Boxing Champions hosted a sold out fight as 13,109 fans filled the arena on Saturday night. Fans at home were able to tune into ESPN for this free boxing event. This anticipated fight started with Mares coming forth with full on pressure toward Santa Cruz. The two Mexican warriors gave their best performance with both throwing over 2000 punches. According to Compubox numbers, Leo landed 327 of 1757 punches thrown. Of those 327 punches, 302 were power punches, 71 were jabs. Mares landed 227 of 980 punches thrown. 220 were power punches, 7 were jabs.
From the first bell to the final bell, Santa Cruz and Mares gave their fans a fight night to remember. Mares came into the fight throwing punches at Santa Cruz, putting pressure, shortening the distance and fighting from the inside. At times, Mares bull rushed Santa Cruz to the ropes, and both guys would exchange a fury of punches. When Mares put Santa Cruz in the corner, Santa Cruz would nicely step out and turn Mares around to the corner as well. Santa Cruz eventually adjusted to the style of boxing Mares was bringing to the table. In round three, Santa Cruz kept his rhythm by putting himself in the right distance to use his reach, and landed a clean right upper cut to Mares. A chin tested Mares, continued to come forth and fight on the inside, both guys going back and forth with their exchange in punches. An accidental head butt cut both fighters over the right eye in round 3, but leaving Mares bloody through out the fight.
By the later half of the fight, Mares showed some slowing down, more clinging and Santa Cruz utilized his reach advantage to land some accurate shots on Mares. The ref did a great job in allowing the warriors punch out, but warning when needed to keep the guys flowing in punches. Round 8, Santa Cruz landed a loud, solid right hand to the chin of Mares. As the later rounds continued, so did the fury of punches. In round 10, Mares lounged in with a left hand to Santa Cruz’s chin. Non stop action at Staples Center on Saturday night. Tremendous work from both fighters, giving it all that they had and pulling off a fight that some have dubbed “the fight of the year”. They brought out the best of each other, as they both fought the toughest fight of their career.
The warriors continued to put in work on each other up until the final bell. Fans were extremely pleased with the war that these guys put on as they came to their feet the last seconds of the 12th round. The score cards read 117-11 (2x) for Santa Cruz and 114-114. Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz came out victorious with a Majority Decision. “I was surprised Abner came out so strong,” said Leo. “He came right at me but we figured him out and we got the win. I stayed outside with the jab. My dad told me that we could beat him by boxing. We want to be aggressive but tonight we had to box him too and that’s how we got it done.”
“My plan was to box him, but I started out really fast,” said Abner. I felt good, but my corner told me to box more, so I did that. It was a good fight. Leo is good. He’s a great fighter, I knew it was going to be a tough fight.” With a performance like Saturday night, the question for a rematch was quickly brought up. “I’m more than willing to have a rematch,” said Abner. “It was a close fight. I knew he had never faced a fighter like me and he proved today he’s a great fighter. I think I deserve a rematch and I think the fans deserve another show.” Leo said, “If he wants the rematch, I’ll give him the rematch. I want to fight the best. I want the big fights.”
The other highlighted fighters of the night were Alfred “El Perro” Angulo stood victorious with a TKO win in Round 5 against Hector Munoz. Munoz quit on the stool after a right hand and a left hook from Angulo knocked him to the canvas. Hugo Ruiz loses to Julio Caesar Ceja in a 5th round TKO. A left hook landed clean on Ruiz chin and sent him down. Hugo got up from the count, and the ref steps in and stops the fight.