Making his debut in the featherweight division, undefeated Leo Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KOs) proved to be too strong and too busy for 29-year-old former three division world champion Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) in defeating him by a 12 round unanimous decision to win the WBA Super World and WBC Diamond featherweight straps tonight in their fight on Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Santa Cruz landed some scorching shots in the fight, and really worked Mares over when he was able to get some punching room. Mares made sure that he rarely let Santa Cruz have room to use his reach by staying close as possible, and wrestling him frequently. The referee Jack Reiss did a poor job of controlling Mares’ constant holding and wrestling. Reiss blamed both fighters on one occasion when it was clear that Mares was fouling up the by grappling with Santa Cruz and appearing to be stalling out the rounds instead of fighting.
Final judges’ scores were 114-114, 117-111, and 117-111. The judge that scored it 114-114 did Santa Cruz a real disservice because he clearly won the fight and appeared to hurt Mares at least three times starting in the 10th. There’s no way that you could call it an even fight unless you had your eyes closed.
Other boxing action on the card:
Julio Ceja TKO 5 Hugo Ruiz
Brian Castano DQ 5 Jonathan Batista
Alan Castano TKO 4 Thomas Howard
Anthony Flores MD 6 Curtis Morton
Paul Mendez TKO 2 Andrik Saralegui
Isaiah Najera UD 4 Antonio Santa Cruz
Jose Gomez UD 4 Manuel Rubalcava