Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) defeated Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in their rematch on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111. Boxing News 24 scored it for Santa Cruz 116-112. Mares landed a lot of shots, but he lacked the power.
This was the second time Santa Cruz has beaten he 32-year-old Mares, and hopefully this is the last time they fight each other. There was no real reason for the two of them to face each other in a rematch, as Santa Cruz had soundly beaten Mares in their previous fight in 2015. A rematch was entirely unnecessary. Going in to tonight’s fight, Mares had only fought twice since losing to Santa Cruz in beating Andres Gutierrez and Jesus Cuellar.
Santa Cruz did a good job of outworking Mares using his powerful jab, right hand and left hooks. Mares did well at times, connecting with nice shots, but Santa Cruz stayed busy and continued to land the more forceful shots to win the rounds. That was the difference in the fight. The power of Santa Cruz made it impossible for Mares to beat him. The fight played out just like their previous one in 2015. There was not much difference other than Mares pushing the pace a little more than he did the last tie. He knew he wasn’t going to win the fight by staying on the outside and boxing Santa Cruz. The only chance that Mares had was by standing and fighting it out and hoping he could land enough shots to get the ‘W’ on the scorecards.
Mares was too wild with his shots. He seemed desperate with the way he was flinging his punches hoping to connect with something. Santa Cruz was the more accurate puncher, and the guy who was under control and fighting with more confidence. Santa Cruz seemed to know that he was going to win the fight. With Mares, he looked desperate like a fighter that didn’t know if he could do it.
Mares is a good fighter. He just wasn’t talented enough to handle the punching power of Santa Cruz. As I was saying, hopefully this is the last time Mares and Santa Cruz fight each other, because the outcome is always going to be the same. Santa Cruz won the first fight in such a decisive manner that there was no reason for a rematch. That’s perhaps one of the reasons why the boxing public didn’t care about this fight as much.
After the fight, Santa Cruz expressed interest in fighting WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr.