When Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz fight each other at the Staples Center on August 29th, it won’t be just another big fight; it will be a backyard fight.
Battle of Los Angeles
The Mares-Santa Cruz bout has been dubbed as the Battle of Los Angeles not because the fight is held at the Staples Center but because both men come from Los Angeles. But hometown isn’t the only common denominator between these two protagonists because both are also of Mexican descent, which may be the reasons why they fight like true warriors inside the ring. That is why fireworks are expected when L.A.’s two finest boxers will battle not just for the title of becoming the new Golden Boy of L.A. but for the bragging rights in California.
Leo Santa Cruz has been chasing Abner Mares in the weight classes, winning two of the world titles Mares vacated while moving up in weight. But while Mares always looked like he was one weight class ahead of Santa Cruz, everything changed when Abner Mares’ meteoric rise was halted by Jhonny Gonzalez in 2013. While Mares was left rebuilding his image, Leo Santa Cruz continued his assault on the divisions and has finally matched Mares’ weight class at 126 pounds. With a fight that has been talked about for years finally in sight, the Battle of Los Angeles was made.
Needing a Big Fight
Since Mares’ loss to Gonzalez, he has won three fights in a row. However, Mares has been unimpressive in facing subpar opponents. Similarly, Leo Santa Cruz’s last three fights have been criticized. Although he’s won all of those convincingly, questions on the quality of opposition have been raised. Because of these, the stocks of both Mares and Santa Cruz have taken a hit. With a chance to repair it with one big win, both decided the time to fight was now.
Who Takes this?
While the bout looks like a 50-50 split on paper, Santa Cruz is a slight betting favorite at minus 230 while Mares the underdog at plus 190. But don’t let those lines deceive you, this fight could go either way. Both are in their primes and are known as volume punchers with very high work rate. Mares is a pressure fighter who wears down his opponents with consistent body work. Likewise, Santa Cruz loves to come forward with very fast and accurate hands. Both of them have punching power and while a knockout cannot be discounted, many are expecting this to be an exciting, all-action 12 round affair which may have a sequel or two.
Whoever comes out of the gates firing will dictate the tempo of the fight. Whoever dictates the tempo will win this bout. Given what’s at stake here, both men are expected to go all-out with guns blazing. Mares’ advantage is that he’s faced better opposition. Mares has tasted defeat before while Santa Cruz has never been tested. It’s in these intangibles that we’re picking Mares to win by a very close decision.