by David P. Greisman
It’s only natural to wonder about a potential fight between Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz. Mares is a 126-pound titleholder who also held belts at 122 and 118. Leo Santa Cruz is a 122-pound contender who previous held a title at bantamweight. Both are with Golden Boy Promotions, and they’ve shared Showtime broadcasts twice.
They will do so for a third time on Aug. 24, when Mares defends his title against Jhonny Gonzalez and Santa Cruz challenges Victor Terrazas for a junior featherweight belt.
But it’s not yet time to put them together, according to Golden Boy Promotions executive Richard Schaefer.
“First of all you have Leo Santa Cruz in a very, very difficult fight challenging for the world title,” Schaefer said on an August 15 news conference call. “He has his work cut out for him. I know that Victor Terrazas is going to do whatever he can to defend his title. He waited all his life to get that title, so this is going to be one of those toe-to-toe fights.”
He also sold Mares vs. Gonzalez as being a good fight and told people to enjoy the moment first and consider the future later.
“I think it’s totally, totally, totally premature to discuss a potential fight between Abner and Leo,” Schaefer said. “Let’s see what happens August 24. I think both fighters should have maybe a couple of title defenses, and then we’ll see, assuming everything goes well. Let’s do first things first. … People want great fights [and then] before it’s over, let’s talk about the next one. Let’s enjoy what we have.”
Those watching the broadcast on August 24 can do both, of course. It’s only natural to consider the ramifications of the fights we are watching — and a potential war between two fan-friendly fighters in Mares and Santa Cruz has been on the minds of boxing fans.
Mares, 27, is coming off a ninth-round stoppage of Daniel Ponce De Leon on the undercard of this past May’s Mayweather-Guerrero pay-per-view. He is 26-0-1 with 14 knockouts. Gonzalez, 31, has won two straight this year, rebounding from the technical decision loss he suffered to Ponce De Leon in September 2012. He is 54-8 with 46 knockouts.
Santa Cruz, 25, also fought on the Mayweather-Guerrero undercard, stopping Alexander Munoz to move to 24-0-1 with 14 knockouts. Terrazas, 30, won a vacant title in April with a split decision over Cristian Mijares. That victory brought his record to 37-2-1 with 21 knockouts.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]