Abner vs Leo 2

Photo by Team Santa Cruz

Another Look at Santa Cruz vs. Mares II

By Tarrah Zael

LOS ANGELES-Los Angeles has crowned their king once again in the featherweight rematch between two hometown pugilists: Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.

The battle for bragging rights was rightfully owned by Santa Cruz (35-1-2, 29 KOs) Saturday night June 9, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California with a unanimous decision over Mares (31-3-1, 15-1 KOs). Santa Cruz successfully defended his title and became the WBC Diamond belt winner, and still, the undisputed WBA featherweight champion of the World.

The action-packed fight began right at the first round, the two Mexican-American fighters picked up where they left off from their first fight in August 2015. The tone of the fight continued to be very active and consistent from both fighters throughout the battle.

Mares came into the fight with a better game plan and looked like a different fighter this time around. He was the first one to engage the more heavier punches in the earlier rounds but, Santa Cruz stuck to his game plan and fought on the outside. Being the more intelligent fighter, Santa Cruz was picking and choosing his punches while defending off Mares who kept coming forward.

The challenger Mares continually got tagged with jabs and right hands to the face as he tried to walk Santa Cruz down. And, although he led most of the attacks by working on his offense leaping towards his opponent, Santa Cruz stayed looking for his counterattack thus putting Mares back. He utilized his defense and long-range boxing as the key to winning the fight.

Mares was landing his right hand more effectively in the earlier rounds but it wasn’t enough to keep the momentum on his side throughout the fight.

In the last 10 seconds after every round, both fighters went to war by fighting toe to toe, showcasing who wanted to win the most.

Throughout the match, both warriors went to war on the inside and then stepped back to reset, multiple times. This continued on for various of rounds, with Santa Cruz winning most of the rounds by connecting the more basic but highly effective punches.

A ninth round cut to the left eye on Santa Cruz, was possibly because Mares kept pushing to get work on the inside. Although the cut wasn’t a major factor in stopping the fight at all for Santa Cruz as he continued his duty in the ring. It was the second time Santa Cruz administered a cut in his professional career, the first was his first fight against Mares in 2015.

These two quality ambassadors for the sport and pugilist warriors went all 12 rounds, but the judges didn’t score the fight for Mares at all. All three judges scored the fightl for Santa Cruz at 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.

“I already beat him twice, but, like I said, I’ll give him the third fight if the people want it,” Santa Cruz said.

With Mares wanting a hopeful third rematch, Santa Cruz has plans looking forward and moving onto other fights, “I want to beat the best. Russell (Gary Russell Jr.) is one of the champions. Oscar Valdez another champion, … so any unification against any of those champions. I am up for it. I want to prove I am one of the best and to do that I have to fight the champions, unify and hopefully win one of those titles.”

Gary Russell Jr., a fellow titleholder, and many others are currently likely to be the next contender for Leo Santa Cruz.

Trout vs Charlo

Jermell Charlo loses his knockout streak but wins the majority decision and retains his WBC junior middleweight title over Austin Trout.

Charlo (31-0, 15 KO) looked for an opening to attack Trout (31-5, 17-1 KO) effectively, possibly to add another knockout, however he could not find it in all 12 rounds. “I tried to get some trout but I couldn’t catch him on the hook” says Charlo after his win.

Boos came from the crowd in the two opening rounds and throughout the fight as they weren’t impressed with either fighter. The moment Charlo threw his combinations, Trout was able to defensively avoid the attack by ducking and angling out. A third-round knockdown on Trout was called by referee, Jack Reiss. Although it was a clear unbalanced foot slip, then followed up with Charlo’s left hand to the chin as Trout went down.

At every moment Charlo went in for the lion attack but southpaw Trout swam his way out putting himself in defensive mode by stopping Charlo with his left hand and short jabs to keep him away. It wasn’t until the sixth and seventh rounds that the fight got a little bit busier between the two; as Trout began to finally throw and land more punches against his more consistent opponent from the previous rounds.

In the ninth round, we saw Charlo score another knockdown with a left hook on Trout.

The fight finished off slow as Trout did little to engage with Charlo and Charlo refused to follow up his punches making the fight very uneventful. Surprisingly, one judge scored the bout 113-113 for Austin Trout and the other two scored the fight 118-108 and 115-111 for Jermell Charlo. Although the fight was unimpressive, controversy could be said with the scoring due to the clear consistent offensive work Charlo put in.

“Take away the knockdowns, and I won the fight” says Trout, although he was even confused at the scoring of a draw 113-113.

As the boos continued even after the fight was over and Charlo scored the victory, Charlo went on to address the crowd, “I knew he would come in and try to survive” he says, and that’s exactly what happened.