By Francisco Salazar
It was not a "Leo Santa Cruz" type of fight. He did not throw a lot of punches like in previous fights that would rival perfect SAT exam scores.
However, Santa Cruz was just as effective and just as strong in defeating a worthy fighter, who received the fight on three-week’s notice.
Santa Cruz won a one-sided, yet competitive 12 round decision over Alberto Guevara before a partisan crowd at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA.
The bout headlined a four-bout Golden Boy Promotions, which took place in the afternoon prior to the Amir Khan-Carlos Molina fight.
It also marked the first time professional boxing returned to network television since 2003.
There has been an equal amount of publicity on the first portion of the Golden Boy card being televised on network television just as much as Santa Cruz fighting for fifth time in 2012.
Santa Cruz was coming off a ninth round stoppage victory over Victor Zaleta on November 10th down the street from the Staples Center. Guevara, who was fighting for the first time outside of his native Mexico, won an eight round unanimous decision over Raul Hidalgo on August 4th.
Guevara held himself well against Santa Cruz in the early going. He was able to counter well with left hooks to the head of Santa Cruz, who was taller and bigger than Guevara.
Santa Cruz did not throw a great number of punches as in previous fights, but did enough to outland Guevara and his punches had more pop on them.
In the sixth, Guevara was cut alongside his right eye from a punch. It did not deter him as he seemed to outwork Santa Cruz during certain sequences and exchanges.
However, Santa Cruz pressed the action in the second half of the fight, stalking Guevara. He rewarded himself with hard left hooks and right hands on Guevara, whose face began to redden due to the number of punches landed.
At times, Guevara would turn away from Santa Cruz, giving the false sense to those at ringside that he might have been hurt. However, Guevara, even though he began throwing arm punches and was in defensive mode, fought back bravely even though the outcome became more clear prior to entering the championship rounds.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Santa Cruz, 116-112, 118-110, and 119-109. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 118-110 in favor of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz threw 989, landing 291 of them, while Guevara connected on 158 out of 93 punches.
Whether Santa Cruz, who fought three times since winning his world title belt on June 2nd, can still make 118 pounds remains to be seen. Do not be surprised if he moves up to 122 pounds in 2013.
Santa Cruz, from Lincoln Heights, CA, improves to 23-0-1, 13 KOs. Guevara, from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, drops to 16-1, 6 KOs.
Diaz Jr. wins in debut
2012 United States Olympian and junior featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. won a four round unanimous decision over Vicente Alfaro.
The southpaw Diaz, from nearby El Monte, measured Alfaro in the first two rounds of the fight. Diaz, who had a distinctive size advantage over Alfaro, threw and landed right-left combinations. However, he was too patient at times, waiting for Alfaro to initiate so he could counter. Diaz began to open up in the third round, letting his hands go more and pressing the action.
In the fourth round, Alfaro was the more effective fighter, landing lead and counter right hands to the head. However, Diaz landed a punch way below Alfaro’s beltline, dropping him to the canvas. Referee Thomas Taylor incorrectly called it a knockdown, when he should have given Alfaro time to recover. Alfaro was visibly hurt and angry about the low blow, barely beating the count. After getting up, Alfaro fought back in an attempt to even up the round.
All three judges, including Boxingscene.com, scored the bout 40-35 in favor of Diaz.
Alfaro, from Northfield, MN, drops to 5-3, with 1 KO.
Browne easily stops Cherry
2012 United States Olympian and light heavyweight Marcus Browne stopped overmatched Ritchie Cherry in the first round of a scheduled four round bout.
Browne was deducted a point early in the round for hitting Cherry twice behind the head, forcing Cherry to go down to the canvas.
However, Cherry was no match for the southpaw Browne, who seemed to hurt him anytime he landed a punch on him. Cherry went down three times in the second half of the first round, all on grazed punches to the head or body. After the final knockdown, referee Thomas Taylor stopped the fight at 2:59.
Browne, from Staten Island, NY, goes to 2-0, 2 KOs. Cherry, from Oklahoma City, OK, drops to 3-6, 1 KO.
Spence stops Andrews in three
2012 United States Olympian and welterweight Errol Spence Jr. stopped Richard Andrews in the third round of a scheduled four round bout.
Spence, from Brentwood, NY, goes to 2-0, 2 KOs. Andrews, from Charlottesville, VA, falls to 5-3-3, 2 KOs.
- Fight fans attending the Golden Boy Promotions afternoon fight card at the Sports Arena were allowed in for free. Fight fans received a voucher for 20 percent off if they wanted to attend the evening fight card, highlighted by the main event featuring Amir Khan and Carlos Molina.
- Ring announcer was Jimmy Lennon, Jr.