Boxing Preview – Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares

Boxing Preview – Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares

Boxing Preview – Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares  

The trend of August of having a weekend with seldom fights at all then followed by a weekend with a stacked card continues this week following last weeks barren schedule. The biggest fight of the weekend sees PBC hosting it’s most competitive bout yet as Leo Santa Cruz defends his WBA Super World featherweight championship against the motivated challenger, Abner Mares. This bout takes place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center which is only one of two massive bouts in Los Angeles this weekend.

We will be backing decision by Mares on Bet365 at odds of 4/1. Sign up here for a £100 betting bonus. 

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In an era of Boxing where the featherweight division is more or less one of the most talent packed divisions in Boxing, Leo Santa Cruz has earned the reputation as one of the leading Boxers in the tough division. This has seen him carve a fantastic undefeated 31 fight record with 17 stoppages and a single draw. He’s had an easy time of it as of late, stopping Manuel Roman in the second round in September 2014, then getting an eight round stoppage over Jesus Ruiz in January 2015 before most recently earning a shutout unanimous decision over Jose Cayetano in May 2015.

Santa Cruz is a pro-active puncher who amasses a high punch output every bout, and he’ll generally succeed from punching from a variety of angles. Although he’s not a powerful puncher, because of his busy punching, he loads up on his shots and can beat his opposition into submission if their defence isn’t up to scratch. This is however a large step-up in opposition for Santa Cruz who has never really taken on any upper-level opposition, and that lack of experience can be haunting for some fighter. Although he’s good at concluding his combinations in a stiff defensive stance, he leave himself wide open when throwing hooks.

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Abner Mares came up through the featherweight division being considered a pound-for-pound darling after beating some of the better featherweights in the world, earning a 26 win undefeated record in the process. He was tipped to be the person taking the #1 P4P spot after Mayweather retired. That was until Jhonny Gonzalez shockingly knocked him out in the first round in August 2013. His resurgence has been good, albeit rather uninspiring. He earned a unanimous decision over Jonathan Oquendo in July 2014, stopped Jose Ramirez in the fifth round in December 2014, before most recently earning a unanimous decision over Arturo Santos Reyes in March 2015. This took his record to 29 wins, 15 stoppages, 1 loss and 1 draw.

Mares has earned a reputation for being a very versatile and adaptable Boxers. His technical skill is superb with a great jab and movement in head and feet, but if forced into a brawl, he does well inside, sneaking in solid closed uppercuts on to the chin of his opposition. He’s been in with a plethora of talent and has largely dealt with all of them well. This is a big step up in opposition for Mares since he’s not faced anyone of name since being devastatingly knocked out by Gonzalez. It’s a wonder how well he’ll deal with a more talented opponent who also is slightly bigger than him, just like Gonzalez.

As previously mentioned, this bout is probably the most competitive that Al Haymon and PBC have put on this year, and with the star power attraction that both men boast, this is sure to garner international interest. With the fact that this is an all-Mexican showdown, and that it’s extremely hard to call, the world will be watching this with keen interest. Despite how hard it is to call, there’s two factors that play into the decision here. In most hard to call fights, experience plays a huge part in that, and it’s suffice to say that Abner Mares repertoire boasts a much more diverse and challenging list of names than what Santa Cruz’s resume does. Not only that, but Mares versatility will allow him to make the correct adjustments in order to deter Santa Cruz’s offence which will see him trying to load up on punches early to get the early finish like what Gonzalez did. I see Mares being quite cagey, but defensively stiff early on as Santa Cruz comes out firing. As the fight goes on, I think Santa Cruz tires out and allows Mares to offer good offence in form of solid inside jabs and utilising the inside of the lanky Santa Cruz who won’t be able to do much damage at short range. Ultimately, Mares win this by a close yet stylish split decision.

Dan Glozier.

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