No subscription needed.
Two talented Featherweight boxing standouts in need of a big win will duke it out tonight (Sat., Aug. 29, 2015) when unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz takes on Abner Mares for the vacant WBA title in the latest installment of Al Haymon's "Premier Boxing Champions" series.
MMAmania will deliver LIVE "Santa Cruz vs. Mares" coverage of the event below, starting with the ESPN broadcast at 10 p.m. ET.
Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17 KO) turned heads with his ferocious volume punching and incredible activity, including five fights in 2012 alone. Recently, however, his reputation has taken a hit thanks to his avoidance of Guillermo Rigondeaux and his execrable competition since stopping Victor Terrazas. Two of his last three opponents weren't even in the Top 100 of their division, with one not even Top 100 in the division below.
From 2010 through 2012, Mares (29-1-1, 15 KO) powered through one of the toughest schedules in boxing, taking home wins over the likes of Yonnhy Perez, Vic Darchinyan and Joseph Agbeko. Things went south for him in 2013, however, when the presumedly-shot Jhonny Gonzalez laid him out with a terrific left hook and follow-up punches. He's won thrice since then, though in uninspiring fashion against uninspiring competition.
The co-feature features Mexican punchers Hugo Ruiz (35-2, 31 KO) and Julio Ceja (29-1, 26 KO) competing for the interim WBC Super Bantamweight title.
CRUZ VS. MARES QUICK RESULTS:
Featherweight: Leo Santa Cruz def. Abner Mares by majority decision (117-111, 114-114, 117-111)
Super Bantamweight: Julio Ceja def. Hugo Ruiz by TKO at 2:34 of Round Five
CRUZ VS. MARES ROUND-BY-ROUND COVERAGE:
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares
Round one: Mares comes out aggressively and they tie up, digging away on the inside until they're separating. They're trading hard punches inside. Nasty bodywork from Mares. LSC complaining of rabbit punches. Both men land left hooks and Mares is just bulldozing his way forward. One minute in. LSC firing back but getting pushed around the ring and Mares' blows are clearly the heavier of the two. LSC jabbing at range now, goes back to trading inside until Mares clinches. Both men land good right hands. One minute to go. Stiff left by LSC and now he's the one moving forward. Mares comes back with an overhand right into the clinch. Ripping blows by Mares. Hard uppercut and body shots. Good combination from Santa Cruz, Mares shakes his head with his tongue out. Double right by Mares to end the round. 10-9 Mares.
Round two: LSC comes out with a good 1-2 and Mares waves him on. Counter right from Mares. Mares to the body, overhand right connects. Lots of good work in the clinch from both men. LSC to the body as well. Grueling fight in the early rounds. LSC starting to make some clean connections. One minute in. Jab exchange. More digging inside. Good body shots from Mares. The pace has slowed down in the second minute. Two minutes in. Overhand right from Mares, good body shots by both men. Ribs are being roasted. Good right on the exit from LSC and they rip away on the ropes. The round ends with another crazy exchange. 20-18 Mares.
Round three: Good combination from LSC early in the round. Jab battle. Oh, nice uppercut from LSC, then they dig away inside. Right hook cracks Mares, but he's unfazed. Big right to the body by Mares. One minute in. 1-2 from LSC. LSC doing well at range. One minute to go. Counter right by Mares. Brutal exchange inside, accidental butt pauses things. Good shots by Mares in the clinch. They trade bombs in the waning seconds. 29-28 Mares.
Round four: LSC on the front foot at the moment. Mares looking to counter, doing a decent job of it. Good body shots. One minute in. Hard combination by Mares kicks off another rough exchange. 1-2 from Santa Cruz, another right connects before they tie up. Counter 1-2 by Santa Cruz. Another good exchange. Clinch. One minute to go. Mares swings his way into the clinch. Slower round this time. Final clinch before the bell. 38-38.
Round five: LSC digs to the body, Mares clinches. Both men go to the body. Nice counter right from Mares, clinch. Santa Cruz gets the better of some inside exchanges. Mares forces him back to the corner. One minute in. Good inside work from LSC. 1-2 from LSC, body shots from Mares. Clinch. LSC still on the advance. Double left hooks from the younger man, and again. One minute to go. Santa Cruz is catching him coming in. Check hook by Santa Cruz, brutal body shots from Mares. Right straight, right uppercut in the same sequence from LSC. Good 1-2, then a 1-2-3 before the bell. 48-47 Santa Cruz.
Round six: Rigt hand from Santa Cruz, more work inside from both men. Santa Cruz is doing a much better job of hitting Mares as the latter advances. Left hook from LSC, Mares goes to the body. Nice clinchwork by Abner. One minute in. Mares with a good left hook, then a return to the clinch. Good work from Mares this round, gets cuffed by a left hook. 1-2 from Santa Cruz. Again, then a left hook. One minute to go. Short combination by Santa Cruz. Good straight and left hook from Mares. LSC moves him to the corner before the bell. 58-56 Santa Cruz.
Round seven: Mares barrels into the clinch early on and lands a glancing right on the exit. Both men fire to the body inside. Referee warns them for wrestling. Right hand by Santa Cruz. One minute in. Nice exchange inside. 1-1-2 by Mares, Santa Cruz just misses with a right in return. Mares left hook. Another inside exchange, this one favors Santa Cruz. Mares digs to the body. Lots of work inside from both men. One minute to go. LSC to the body. Another exchange, LSC caps if off with a straight right. Mares stings him with a right and they clinch. 1-2-3 from LSC kicks off a good exchange for him. 67-66 Santa Cruz.
Round eight: LSC with some left hands to the head and body as Mares works his way inside, throwing in return. Good shots from both men. LSC starting to land some telling blows. Referee again admonishes them for wrestling. One minute in. Mares with a left to the body, LSC with a swiping right upstairs. Clinch. Mares working inside. Close-quarters slugging. Good lead right from LSC met by a Mares right hand. One minute to go. Overhand right from Mares, uppercut and left hook from Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz landing some heavy blows on the ropes, Mares clinches. Another check hook lands before the bell. 77-75 Santa Cruz.
Round nine: Santa Cruz does good work with his left hooks. Mares remains active but Santa Cruz is landing the better shots and more of them at this point. Mares is having some issues with the length in the outside. Body shot by Mares after taking a 1-1-2. One minute in. Good check hook by Santa Cruz. This attrition fight favors Santa Cruz in a big way and he's catching Mares as the latter enters. Hard left hook by Santa Cruz as they swing away. One minute to go. Check hook lands. Good shots by LSC and they bomb away in the waning seconds. 87-84 Santa Cruz.
Round ten: Santa Cruz jabbing well and keeping the shorter man at bay. 1-2 lands for him. Check hook after taking a Mares right hand, Mares clinches. Santa Cruz is forcing him to pivot as he exits the clinch. One minute in. Mares to the body. 1-2 from Santa Cruz in response. Counter right on the back step. Mares' cut, opened by a butt, is being worsened by Santa Cruz's punches. One minute to go. Hard 1-2 and counters as Mares tries to force him back. Sweeping hook lands for Mares as they clinch. 1-2 by LSC, then a heavy left inside as Mares swings away to the body. 97-93 Santa Cruz.
Round eleven: More jabbing by Santa Cruz. Check hook connects and Mares clinches. Bodywork by Mares. Mares pursuing the clinch quite a bit and looking to pile up damage inside. One minute in. Hard right hand by Santa Cruz. 1-2-3- by Santa Cruz as Mares tries to maul. Left hook from Mares. More clinching and the crowd doesn't like it. Hard right by Santa Cruz after they separate. One minute to go. More exchanging in center ring, favoring LSC. 1-2-1-2 connects. They dig inside and LSC lands the better punches before the bell. 107-102 Santa Cruz.
Round twelve: Mares needs a finish. They slug away forehead-to-forehead. Good angles by Santa Cruz and he's still landing the harder shots despite Mares' best efforts. Sweeping overhand right lands for Mares, Santa Cruz responds to the body. Exchange in center ring. One minute in. Good 1-2 by Santa Cruz. Again and he forces Mares to the ropes. Mares clinches. Counter 1-2 from Santa Cruz. Left hook from Mares, right hand up top. One minute to go. Hard right hand by Santa Cruz at the end of a combination. Mares is game as hell but just not landing game-changing punches. Hard combination from Santa Cruz. Mares lands a good right hand as they swing away until the bell. Can't imagine this not being a wide win for Santa Cruz. 117-111 same.
Final result: Santa Cruz def. Mares by majority decision
Hugo Ruiz vs. Julio Ceja
Round one: Ruiz the taller man, wearing green while Ceja wears the Mexican colors.
Lots of head movement from Ceja early. Counter right lands for Ruiz. No clean contact yet, but Ruiz is showing the counter right. One minute in. Shovel hook up top from Ceja. Body shot hits elbows. 2-1 lands for the younger man. Referee warns them to watch their heads. Ruiz check hook. One minute to go. Good left hook by Ceja. Straight right lands, Ruiz comes back with a heavy uppercut. Ruiz digs to the body at the end of a long combo, lands a left hook at the bell. 10-10.
Round two: Ruiz just misses with that same counter uppercut, doesn't miss with a long left hook. Jab to the body from the bigger man. 1-2 from Ruiz; Ceja's big swings aren't landing at the moment. One minute in. Good 1-2 again by Ruiz. Clinch after some glancing blows by Ceja. Hard body shot. 2-1 lands for him. One minute to go. Ruiz jabbing well to the head and body. Clinch. Both men go to the body as Ceja forces Ruiz to the ropes. Counter right from Ruiz kicks off a nice exchange to end the round. 20-19 Ruiz.
Round three: Ruiz gets the better of the first exchange, then runs Ceja into a counter right. Ceja's ramped up the aggression, lands a good left hook. Ruiz staying busy with the jab. Leaping left hook by Ceja, then another before he shrugs off a check hook from Ruiz. One minute in. Clinch. Referee warns them again to watch the head. Ceja digs to the body, comes back up with a left hook. Ruiz to the gut in return. 2-3 by the younger man, then a left hook. Body shot met by a stiff Ruiz jab. Both connect well inside. One minute to go. HARD check hook from Ruiz knocks Ceja down. Ceja makes it to his feet with time to spare and a minute to survive. Ruiz pressing the attack. Another good hook lands and Ruiz is on the warpath. BIG right hand as he opens up in the corner. Ceja manages to clinch before the bell. 30-27 Ruiz.
Round four: Ceja apparently unfazed and digs to the body as he continues his advance. Ruiz to the body. Left hook lands for Ceja. 1-2-3 by the younger man. Ruiz jabs the body. One minute in. Check hook lands for him. Ceja rips to the body. Four-punch flurry. Body shot connects. Ruiz keeping u p the jab. Another tcheck hook lands, after which Ceja pays for some body shots with a series of counters. Again, counter right's the highlight. One minute to go. Lead hook by Ruiz. Check hook this time. Clinch. Ceja pressing forward and lands some solid shots in the final ten seconds. 40-36 Ruiz.
Round five: Clinch early. Check hook by Ruiz. Ceja to the body, Ruiz cracks him with a stiff jab. Check hook. One minute in. Good body shots by Ceja. Ruiz is running him into the jab. Clinch. Ceja to the body, good left up top and down low in the clinch. Uppercuts split Ruiz's guard. Ceja finding more success with his body shots. Ruiz responds in kind. MASSIVE left hook flattens Ruiz! Ruiz makes it back up and now Ceja is on the attack. Ruiz firing back but gets battered with another hook. Ruiz desperately trying to clinch, but can't do so and the assault forces the referee to step in. Great win for Ceja.
Final result: Ceja def. Ruiz by TKO