Every now and then the sport of boxing serves up a slug fest spectacle between two of it’s elite level fighting sons. Last night it did just that, when Mexican featherweights Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares gave spectators genuine value for money.
High pace from the start
Fight fans live in attendance in LA last night must have surely gone away feeling content and satisfied after seeing an excellent battle, between two of the world’s best featherweights, who were more than happy to stand toe to toe at points in the fight.
Coming into the match up, many wondered how Santa Cruz’ perceived low level of opposition faced in recent years would show him up potentially, and if fans would see the Abner Mares of old once again.
The answer to both questions were perhaps a bit different, in that Santa Cruz rose to the occasion, as did Mares.
Right from the very first round, the business like statement of intent that was to ensue from both fighter was laid down. Mares came out swinging with big hooks and straight shots down the pipe, putting the pressure on early.
Mid rounds and finish
As the fight progressed into the mid rounds Santa Cruz came back, establishing his jab as the bigger man and was able to find his step, as he kept Mares at bay more and more with his superior reach.
This was not enough to deter the relentless Mares however, as in the mid to later rounds he was able to get back on the inside again with some good head movement which allowed him to land some painful looking left hooks at times, in rounds that were hard to separate.
Santa Cruz’ boxing ability was slightly counter acting the Mares aggression and Mares looked like he was fatiguing as the fight progressed with the amount of energy he was expending.
Both men threw the kitchen sink at each other in the closing moments of the final round to the delight of the enthused onlooking spectators.
Scorecards and what might be next
The final score cards read out: 117-111 Santa Cruz, 117-111 Santa Cruz and 114-114 a draw. The fight was much closer than that, but the right man got the nod on the night in a very competitive and compelling encounter – that lived up to the hype.
What might be next for both men?
Well firstly the loser Mares. Plenty of opportunity will still exist after such an entertaining encounter where he stock definitely rose. A possible rematch with Santa Cruz could be an option, after such a fan-friendly fight.
The winner and new champion Santa Cruz has multiple options outside of a rematch, that could include big fights with Gary Russell Jr. or even Carl Frampton, who has suggested he could be moving up to featherweight after weight issues in his last fight.
The over 13,000 strong crowd in attendance (and millions watching around the world) were really treated last night and boxing showed once again, why it’s such a special sport on night’s like this.
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