Back in January when Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) settled the score with Carl Frampton by winning a majority decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, it returned him to champion status. His loss a year earlier to the Irishman was the only blemish in an ideal career for “El Terremoto”, who is a four-time world champion in three different weight classes.
Visit PremierBoxingChampions.com for info. On October 14, 2017, Premier Boxing Champions brings you not one, but TWO 126-pound world title fights. In the co-main event, champion Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) will defend his title against once-beaten Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs).
Now back and defending the WBA Super featherweight title, Santa Cruz faces Chris Avalos (27-5) in a fight hat seems to amount to a “keep busy” affair in lieu of the bigger fights out there like WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell, Jr., or even a rematch with WBA featherweight champion, Abner Mares.
“I’m going to bring the fight to Avalos and I hope he stays in there and looks to make it a war as well,” said Santa Cruz during the final press conference. “I’m prepared, motivated and focused. I need to win on Saturday so that I can get the Mares rematch. That’s the fight that we want.”
Enter Abner Mares (30-2-1), who also rebounded from a loss and became a champion again late last year when he defeated Jesus Cuellar via split decision. Like Santa Cruz, he is a four-time world champion in three different weight classes and although he was knocked out by Jhonny Gonzalez in the first round in 2013, Mares has been through wars and normally has come out on top.
August 29, 2015 – PBC on ESPN: After 12 rounds and over 2,000 punches thrown, Leo Santa Cruz scores the majority decision victory over Abner Mares. Visit PremierBoxingChampions.com for info. FOLLOW US: https://twitter.com/premierboxing https://instagram.com/premierboxingchamps https://www.facebook.com/premierboxingchampions
Mares is the co-main event on the Saturday card live from the Stub Hub Center facing Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1), who is a respectable opponent looking to ruin Mares’ championship party. However, the fact that Mares has the edge in experience in the same way that Santa Cruz overmatches his opponent is setting up something bigger in the division.
“Fighters like Gutierrez are the most difficult because they have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” said Mares. “I definitely see some of myself in Gutierrez. I was once the young fighter looking to upset the established veteran. That’s why I’ve trained for this fight like I’m facing any of the champions or top fighters.”
With promoter Al Haymon guiding the careers of Gary Russell Jr, Santa Cruz, Mares, and even former featherweight world champion Mikey Garcia, this fast-paced division is on track for a phenomenal set of matchup possibilities.
This weekend’s fight, if everything goes as planned for Premier Boxing Champions, sets the stage for Santa Cruz and Mares to be a part of bigger matchups or even a rematch, as the featherweight division has been delivering for boxing as of late.
If boxing politics can be put aside and Top Rank fighters like Oscar Valdez, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko are put in play, then you truly have a juggernaut of potential opportunities. Add the ESPN platform that Top Rank brings to the table and the increased exposure of one of the most exciting weight classes and the sport is enormous.
When you watch the fights live on FOX this Saturday, just remember boxing is back and the featherweight division is delivering excitement like its older brother division, the welterweights, by the pound.