Leo Santa Cruz Defeats Abner Mares in Action Packed Rematch
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: June 10, 2018
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – At the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) went to war with California rival Abner Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) in a rematch that lived up to the action of their first bout.
In the first few rounds, Mares was able to land sneaky right hands in exchanges waiting to catch Santa Cruz coming on the inside. In many ways, the bout was almost identical to the first meeting between the two men. Through each passing round, Santa Cruz was able to gain an advantage on Mares landing clean jabs and right hands. Santa Cruz was the aggressor throughout the match and landed several clean combinations on Mares. After six rounds of action, Showtime’s Steve Farhood had the bout scored 58-56 in favor of Santa Cruz.
The two men fought at times at a hellacious pace that looked like something out of an animated movie with the speed and volume of punches being thrown. The twelfth round will be remembered as one of the best in 2018 with both men going for broke to the delight of the large crowd at the Staples Center. After twelve rounds the judges scored the bout a unanimous decision for Santa Cruz with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111. With the victory, Santa Cruz retained his WBA featherweight championship.
The punch stats for the fight show how similar the rematch was to the first bout. Santa Cruz landed 357 out of 1061 total punches at a 34 percent connect rate in the rematch and landed 373 out of 1054 total punches at a 35 percent connect rate in the first bout. Mares landed 208 out of 931 total punches at a 22 percent connect rate in the rematch and landed 226 out of 977 total punches at a 23 percent connect rate in the first bout.
Now that Santa Cruz has officially won “The Battle of LA,” fans will look forward to seeing him attempt to unify the titles at featherweight against the other champions in the division. A fight with WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. would be an interesting clash of styles. A rubber match with Ireland’s Carl Frampton would still be an option for Santa Cruz.
(Featured Photo: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime Sports)