By Jake Donovan
Hugo Cazares inches closer towards a title shot with Leo Santa Cruz, though he was forced to survive a major scare in barely outlasting a determined Julio Cesar Miranda. A nip-and-tuck affair saw the former lineal 108 lb. king and 115 lb. titlist escape with a majority decision Saturday evening in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
An even tally of 114-114 even was overruled by scores of 115-114 and 116-112 in favor of Cazares.
The bout appeared to be a showcase for the former two division champ, who long ago has grown comfortable fighting at 122 lb. Miranda was fighting at the weight for the first time in his career, after having recently just moved up from 112 lb. where he enjoyed a title reign.
Yet the first few rounds saw Miranda force the action and land the far more telling blows. Cazares struggled to find his rhythm, instead forced to find a way to prevent his thought-to-be smaller challenger from continuing to impose his well.
The tide finally turned for the 35-year old by round three, though the middle rounds were hardly without its share of two-way action. Miranda refused to take a backwards step at any point in the fight, though that strategy nearly cost him in rounds five and six. Cazares ramped up his attack, hurting Miranda on several occasions, though never to the point of the threat of a knockout surfacing.
Miranda brawled his way back into the fight by round eight, but failed to enjoy steady streams of success as was the case early in the fight. This very could have well been the difference between a credible showing and an upset win.
The championship rounds saw Cazares pulling a little bit off of his fastball, instead boxing his way down the stretch as Miranda sought to ramp up the aggression. The strategy by the former 115 lb. titlist moving up in weight went a long way towards winning over the crowd, as reflected in their disapproval of the final outcome.
Whether controversial or justified, Cazares escapes with his fifth straight win as he improves to 40-7-2 (27KO). Next up should eventually be a title shot versus Santa Cruz, provided the high-volume brawler gets past Cesar Seda next weekend in San Antonio.
Miranda is now winless in his last five contests, though certainly not for a lack of trying. His leap to bantamweight saw the former flyweight titlist nearly upset Hugo Ruiz, dropping a heartbreaking majority decision this past September.
With Saturday's loss, Miranda's ring record falls to 37-10-2 (29KO). His last win came just shy of two years ago, when still campaigning as a super flyweight.
The bout aired live on Televisa in Mexico, and also streamed live on suljos.tv, an online outlet often used by the WBC to air its major fights. More than 2,400 were reportedly in attendance for the show.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Tags: Hugo Cazares , Julio Cesar Miranda