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Leo Santa Cruz: I Want Gary Russell Jr. Next - I Want To Unify!

In an electrifying war that had the STAPLES Center crowd on its feet chanting for more, Leo Santa Cruz defended his WBA Featherweight World Championship by winning a unanimous decision against four-division world champion Abner Mares in their rematch Saturday night on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®.
 
In almost an exact replica stat-wise of the first fight that Santa Cruz won by majority decision in 2015, the Los Angeles-native and three-division world champion Santa Cruz won on all three of the judges' scorecards against Mares by scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111.

With the win, Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) takes one more step toward a possible unification fight in the competitive 126-pound division, one of boxing's deepest.

"It feels great," Santa Cruz said. "Abner is a great fighter. He left his heart out there. It was a tough fight but thank God we got the victory. I had to be smarter, that's why it was not a bigger war but it was a good one."

santa-cruz-russell
 
Similar to the first time the two Mexican-American warriors met, which resulted in more than 2,000 punches being thrown, a total of 1,992 totals punches were thrown in Saturday's fight with Santa Cruz throwing 1,061 to Mares' 931. Santa Cruz landed 357 punches compared to 208 for Mares.
 
Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) started fast, winning the first two rounds on SHOWTIME's unofficial scorer Steve Farhood's card before Santa Cruz kicked it in another gear and went to work.
 
"It was a 'Fight of the Year' like I told you," said Mares. "I hope you like the fight because we fought for you, Los Angeles. Win or lose, we did it for the fans. It was a great fight."
 
He added: "It is what it is. I don't want to discuss scores. The judges decided that, and that's it. I'll do it again. Let's do it again. Mares-Santa Cruz 3."
 
In what SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo termed a "Featherweight Fiesta," Santa Cruz dictated the pace from the third round on, utilizing his reach and working off the jab.
 
Santa Cruz suffered a cut above his left eye in the eighth round. "A cut is a cut, it wasn't bothering me as much," Santa Cruz said. "I didn't let that distract me. I had cuts before. You keep on fighting."
 
Mares, a former three-division world champion and a veteran of 10 world championship fights, had famed trainer Robert Garcia in his corner for this fight. "I said it before the fight: whoever wins this fight will be the number one featherweight. Santa Cruz won so he's No. 1. I tip my hat off to him."
 
When asked if he's the No. 1 featherweight in the division, Santa Cruz replied: "Hopefully I am. I'll leave it to the fans to decide. I want Gary Russell Jr. next. I want to unify. I'm ready for everyone, whoever and whenever."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Archie_Leach on 06-12-2018

[QUOTE=Jab jab boom;18853995]based on your absurd response, I see you're running out of excuses to defend the duck. It's ok, I get it. Fans of Mexican boxers have a tough time admitting that their boxers duck other fighters out of…

Comment by Jab jab boom on 06-12-2018

[QUOTE=Archie_Leach;18853218]Rigo is the one who ducked the fight. He should have offered to fight for peanuts.... Leo is the A-side.[/QUOTE] based on your absurd response, I see you're running out of excuses to defend the duck. It's ok, I get…

Comment by Archie_Leach on 06-11-2018

[QUOTE=Jab jab boom;18852516]Nice job ignoring and deleting the 2nd half of my post. If rigo was so easy for Santa Cruz, then why did he duck the fight? Why did his father say they wouldn't want to risk fighting rigo…

Comment by Jab jab boom on 06-11-2018

[QUOTE=Archie_Leach;18851624]lololololololololololol go back to school kid. Leo Santa Cruz has range and workrate on his side. His style is poison to a heartless spoiler like Rigo. Rigo has been exposed. If he can't win he just gives up.[/QUOTE] Nice job…

Comment by Archie_Leach on 06-11-2018

[QUOTE=Jab jab boom;18851154]you got that backwards, rigo had the style to make leo look like a basic plodder. .[/QUOTE] lololololololololololol go back to school kid. Leo Santa Cruz has range and workrate on his side. His style is poison to…

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