PHILADELPHIA – Chris Colbert wants to fight Leo Santa Cruz by the end of this year.
The unbeaten Brooklyn boxer took a significant step Saturday night toward securing that type of fight. Colbert scored a flash knockdown during the 10th round and otherwise out-boxed former champion Jezreel Corrales in a 12-round, 130-pound championship bout before Julian Williams and Jeison Rosario fought in the main event at Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
Judges David Braslow (116-111), Dewey LaRosa (117-110) and Steve Weisfeld (117-110) scored their fight for the younger, slicker, speedier Colbert (14-0, 5 KOs). By beating Panama’s Corrales (23-4, 9 KOs, 1 NC), a former WBA “super” 130-pound champion, Colbert captured the WBA’s interim 130-pound championship.
Santa Cruz is the most recognized of the WBA’s three super featherweight champions. Santa Cruz won the then-vacant WBA “super” championship in his last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Houston’s Miguel Flores on November 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Rene Alvarado also owns the WBA’s “world” 130-pound crown. Alvarado upset Andrew Cancio after seven one-sided rounds to win that title November 23 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
By the 12th round Saturday night, it was obvious that Corrales needed a knockout to beat Colbert.
An accidental collision caused Corrales to fall to the canvas with 1:25 to go in the 12th round. Colbert helped him up, but there wasn’t much more action in the rest of the final round.
A right by Colbert clipped Corrales just about halfway through the 11th round. Toward the end of the 11th, Colbert flung Corrales to the canvas and he fell out of the ring.
Corrales climbed back into the ring quickly and the round ended several seconds later.
Colbert’s short left hand, followed by a right that grazed the top of Corrales’ head, made Corrales fall backward and touch the canvas with his right glove. Referee Shawn Clark correctly called that a knockdown.
Corrales clearly wasn’t hurt, however, which prevented Colbert from capitalizing on that momentum.
Colbert connected with a right and then a left that knocked Corrales backward about 20 seconds into the eighth round. They traded left hands with just under a minute to go in the eighth.
Corrales’ right hook landed early in the seventh round. Corrales also landed a left with just over a minute to go in the seventh.
A counter right by Colbert snapped back Corrales’ head just after the midway mark of the sixth round.
Colbert landed a right hand late in the fifth round. Corrales wrestled Colbert to the canvas just before the fifth round ended.
A left hook by Colbert caught Corrales about 30 seconds into the fourth round. The lack of action otherwise in the fourth round drew boos from the crowd once it ended.
Colbert came forward, but he and Corrales wound up wrestling for position 40 seconds into the third round. Corrales’ counter left knocked Colbert off balance just after the halfway point of the third round.
Corrales landed a right to Colbert’s body with about 30 seconds remaining in the second round.
Corrales went down to his gloves and knees with about 1:10 to go in the first round, but Clark called it a slip. Colbert and Corrales spent much of the opening round feeling each other out.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.