Santa Cruz vs. Mares—Just One More Thing…

By Marc Livitz on August 30, 2015
Santa Cruz vs. Mares—Just One More Thing…
Would Abner Mares be able to rebound from the knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez? (AP)

Those in attendance last night at the Staples Center in downtown LA were treated to a great night of fights…

The majority of us likely viewed Saturday evening’s entertaining battle between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares in front of our respective television sets. Those in attendance at the Staples Center in downtown LA were treated to a great night of fights, yet fight fans in America who didn’t make it to the house that Kobe built were fortunate enough to see only three bouts. Some could argue that what was meant to be the evening’s co-main event in some ways stole the thunder as well as its cloud in the form of the firefight between Hugo Ruiz and Julio Cesar Ceja. The bout displayed a sheer test of will, guts and determination typical of Mexican fighters as Ceja got up off the canvas in round three to knock out Ruiz in the fifth. This is not in any way to suggest that the evening’s main attraction didn’t live up to its billing. In fact, far from it.

The back-and-forth slug out between Leo “El Terremoto Famoso” Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KOs) and Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) gave fight fans all they could ask for save for a knockdown or a knockout. We can’t have it all but sometimes we can see it all instead, as in twelve full rounds. They’d seen Leo as recently as last May when he boxed circles as well as any other imaginable shape around Jose Cayetano as part of the undercard of the highly anticipated yet ultimately highly forgettable as well as regrettable match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

As for Mares, it was interesting to see how he’d ultimately rebound from his stunning first round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez nearly two years ago. Abner took almost a year off and fought three straight times at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas beginning in July 2014 as part of a few undercards, the last of which was the initial Premier Boxing Champions broadcast this past March.

He’s an admirable guy, as is Leo, but Saturday’s contest went according to plan by most accounts. The bulk of fight aficionados went with the head over the heart in regard to the matchup. Santa Cruz would do what he could to negate any surge from Mares by way of his patience and effective jab. He may not have expected to dig as deep as he did, yet the sight of him weathering the storm was one to remember. He was, quite simply fresher under pressure. A three-inch advantage in height as well as reach didn’t hurt, either.

During the telecast, ESPN was quick to list Mexican greats Julio Cesar Chavez, Carlos Zarate, Salvador Sanchez, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera in an effort to stress the significance of two current top fighters with Mexican heritage facing off against one another. Apparently Erik Morales or Ricardo Lopez didn’t make the cut. Nevertheless, the next snippet of history was interesting as the network referenced “Sugar” Shane Mosley’s January 2009 woodshedding of Antonio Margarito as the bout hosted by the Staples Center which attracted the most fans (over 20,000).

If one were to judge by the hundreds upon hundreds of fans who braved the sweltering Los Angeles heat on Friday to attend the weigh-in, then who’s guess is it as to how many more could have bought a ticket to Saturday’s bouts and joined in the fun were it not for PBC’s giant introductory ego ramp which takes up a big chunk of the arena? Some reports have attendance totals at a pinch over 13,000 in the Staples Center. That’s a great turnout, but how many seats and ultimately fans were eliminated to install the diva dinghy at the far end?

PBC hasn’t run its course because it continues to provide several entertaining fights and the sight of a combatant walking to the ring by himself was long overdue. They approach the squared circle only with what they take into it. Some of the cards won’t matter either way. The giant LED stage is but a novelty, but for a contest built up as the “Battle for LA” to some degree would be better served by a full house akin to the aforementioned night of memories six years ago. Plus, sooner or later some fighter might fall down the stairs.

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2015-08-29 Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares

Julio Ceja vs. Hugo Ruiz - Full Fight (8-29-15)

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  1. thesweetscience 10:44pm, 08/30/2015

    Yep, abner hd no power. I was actually surprsied Leo didnt have a bit more power after ganjng a few pounds of wieght, in the past he has knocked opponents back a few steps with each punch. But yea, you could see mares’s head snap back, just surprised there wasnt a knockdown. That would be because mares was so sloppy, Leo had to turn in the dime so many times. Still. I wanna see Leo get his zip back in the next fight.
    Also, i super like Leo Santa Cruz, but these were not the two best mexican fighters. That would be Canelo Alvarez. And tho i adore Cotto, we will be hearing Canelo take his long-awaited step up this november, when he beats Cotto.
    Say what ya want about him, but he goes for it every time, has won with power, as well as skill. Hatton was not the strongest guy in the world, but he can scrap, as well as fight with talent. If you havent seen canelo vs hatton, take a watch. See what ya think.
    Now… We need Leo Santa Cruz vs Rigendoux,
    Especially after Rigs. Being a bit exposed recently, and seeing Santa Cruz being able to adjust more mid-fight than he gets credit for. Would be fun.

  2. Koolz 04:46pm, 08/30/2015

    I like this fight with Mares and Cruz!  One thing Cruz could have done all night is use his reach and his left Jab as a counter then come in with the right Jab power shot as Mares backed up.  I loved all the Cruz’s Upper cuts on the inside. 
    Great Mexican Style Fight!

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:11am, 08/30/2015

    Still and all Frampton in tough with Leo or Abner and both guys in the “co-main”.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:01am, 08/30/2015

    Something missing on Abner’s punches….power! That overhand/overhead right that was landing on the back of Leo’s head was little more than an irritant and shoe shining Leo’s body wasn’t getting it done either. After all the holding he did throughout, his corner was telling him to “tie him up” after the eleventh round for Christ’s sake.

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